Easter: When Impatience and Hope Collide

I have always loved Easter. I remember being really little and mostly excited about wearing a new dress and white sandals (because it was warm enough) on a sunny Easter Sunday. I still have a soft spot for ham and scalloped potatoes, our traditional meal at this time of year. Our street has done a big egg hunt for the last nine years that I always look forward to. I’m a sucker for chocolate and there is always a lot of it around now. The essence of Easter though is something that doesn’t fit in a pastel coloured basket and is increasingly something that is making me impatient.

I believe that Jesus died and then defied that death by returning to life. I believe in the hope Jesus established. The Easter season reminds me that light has broken through the darkness and one day all will be made whole. What I don’t get is why it is all taking so long.

This has been a brutal week in the news, both international and local. I know a person who was just given notice of eviction and will be without a home at the end of March. I knew the man who was working for the TTC, became wanted and was recently found dead near Peterborough. A beloved friend came in to the Monday drop-in last week feeling entirely at the end of her rope. Dion’s MS has not been healed. These are a mere handful of stories. Just imagine if we all contributed.

Recognizing that I was getting agitated as we drew closer to Holy Week, I have tried to slow down my thoughts, sit quietly and look beyond the despair I see in the news or my own life.  I think a pivotal moment was having the opportunity to wash the feet of some community members on Maundy Thursday. As I poured the water over one person’s feet I could hear an audible sigh. We talked briefly afterwards and he explained how powerful it was to feel clean- not his feet (though he was grateful for that), but his heart. While he remains painfully aware of his own struggles and sin, he sees that God is slowly making him whole, clean and hopeful.

Easter reminds me that hope is real. I continue to want things to be made right: for estranged relationships to be reconciled, for illnesses to be cured, for homelessness to be eradicated, for justice to prevail. Though I am impatient, I want to love in the midst of pain, confident that the future is in the hands of the one who defeated death not for himself, but for all of us.




Staying Healthy and Avoiding Burnout

“Do you ever think of doing something else?”

I’ve been asked this question by a few people recently in relation to my work at The Dale. Allow me to explain.

In an effort to remain healthy, I have been pursuing the help of a counsellor, a spiritual director and mentors. There is an intensity to my life that I know needs taking care of. I don’t want to burnout. The people supporting me are the ones posing the question- not because they want me to do something else, but because they want me to be mindful. My response remains the same each time: “No, I can’t imagine doing anything else. The sense of call I have is deep”.

I know that callings can change. What nurtures mine are my faith, my family, friends, and the people that make up The Dale. Just last week I shared at a memorial service how community is built when we share simple gestures of concern and love for one another. As a group we are constantly growing in our capacity for this. I am nourished by my Parkdale friends: Marlene who cups my face, calls me ‘Little Lamb’ and tells me that she worries about how much is on my plate; Doug who constantly encourages me; James who is intent on helping to fund The Dale with his future earnings; Joanna who writes me cards just because; Chaz who always, always asks about Cate. I could write pages about this.

Just today I sat with someone at our lunch drop-in who said, “this meal is so good. You can practically taste the love it was made with”. I couldn’t help but smile and think about how many hands had a part in preparing it. This person didn’t have to say anything, but by choosing to do so encouraged not only me, but the many in the kitchen. In turn, he was pleased to see how his seemingly small gesture of love actually had an enormous impact.

There have been some hard days lately, mostly in relation to the deaths of too many. I am admittedly weary and yes, sad. I am also feeling SO grateful and encouraged: for people who can ask me the hard questions and a community that urges me on.