Diving In

Over the last number of weeks I have been travelling to and from the various camps that my daughter Cate is attending. Before one of the treks I grabbed a handful of CDs that I hadn’t listened to in years, hoping to be inspired by music I once knew. In the late 90’s, just before I started work at Sanctuary (a place that has inspired the work of The Dale in countless ways and precious to my heart) I listened incessantly to a song about “diving in”. This was the first song that played as I turned on the car.

I’m diving in, I’m going deep, in over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush, tossed in the flow, in over my head I want to go
The river’s deep, the river’s wide, the river’s water is alive
So sink or swim, I’m diving in. Here I go.

Making the decision to join the Sanctuary staff was entirely appealing and terrifying at the same time. In addition to being scared of having to fundraise the money for my own salary, I struggled with self-doubt: was I really the right person to join such a unique community? As memories of that time flooded back, I began to realize how similar I felt right before starting my current role at The Dale. In fact, how I sometimes still feel the anxiety of jumping in the proverbial “river” that is my work.

The Dale is at an interesting time in its life. In many ways we have come through crisis and are enjoying some relative stability. Our relationships with one another, our partners and the neighbourhood are expanding. More people know our story. All of these good things bring more responsibility and increased need. As relationships deepen, so does our capacity to truly feel one another’s pain. We need to be honest about the good news of our story and the fact that we continuously live rather close to the edge. It’s a complicated, sometimes scary space to be.

I found myself weeping as I sang along to this song I hadn’t heard in such a long time. It touched a part of me that I was maybe only quietly aware of, the part that right now needs to say again and again “I’m diving in”. I want to keep swimming and trust that I can be in over my head because the water is truly that alive. Here I go.

An Unexpected Reminder: The Faith of a Stranger

Someone came into our Thrift Store Drop-In today and asked to speak to me about “religious stuff”. I had no idea what to expect or what turns such a conversation might take. Looking into folded hands he said, “do you remember when Jesus told the man to pick up his mat and walk?”

Yes, I surely do. In it, Jesus heals the man who has been a paralytic. It is a story that I think of often: when I visit my mom who has lived in hospital for more than a decade, when I hold the hands of friends at The Dale who are struggling, when I consider the toll Multiple Sclerosis is taking on my husband.

He continued, “I want even a portion of that for my friend who can hardly walk and is too skinny and has no money.”

I could feel a lump rise up in my throat as he emphatically talked about the desire for healing. Over the last number of weeks I have thought of little else. The deepest part of me has been consumed with wondering why healing seems so far away. Honestly, it might even be the reason why I’ve been so quiet here.

Our talk was relatively short and finished with, “will you pray for him? We have to keep believing” before he excused himself to go and buy some food for the ailing friend. I was struck and encouraged by his faith. This stranger, probably unwittingly, reminded me that where there is faith, there is hope.