I met with a long-time friend this morning at a coffee shop. The sun was already warm at 10 am, so we sat outside with our drinks. We discussed a variety of things, though The Dale was central to our conversation. As I described what we’re up to in Parkdale, this friend commented on how “stable” it seems we now are. I ingested that word and realized that she is, in many ways, right.
Now I would argue that stable is a relative word. Stable in our context means that we have settled into being a community without our own walls and found a rhythm to our nomadic existence; that though we have a small budget and rely on outside sources for our financial sustainability, we have what we need; that by choosing to wear our brokenness very close to the surface, we are discovering healing, beauty and hope. At first glance The Dale probably does not seem stable in the way the world expects or requires, but gaze a little longer and you might join us in celebrating our own brand of stability.
The Dale has come a long way. This month we welcomed our third staff member, a reality that five years ago seemed a distant dream at best. With growth comes transition, and transition, however right, is full of challenge. Meagan has written about that here, about how everything and everyone is new and different, about how disconcerting and unstable it is being in a foreign environment. And yet she chooses to say that things are good and promise to be good.
I think this is at the heart of what makes The Dale stable. It’s not that everything is easy and neat, in fact it is often the opposite: things can be decidedly difficult and very messy. But each day we simultaneously choose to see good and hold onto the promise of good. While our locations might shift, our funding change, and our staff grow, our vision is clear: we endeavour to create safe and welcoming spaces in which all people (including me) are encouraged to participate fully, to the best of their abilities and together journey toward a deeper experience of life.
As my friend and I walked away from the coffee shop, I thought about where The Dale has been, where it is now, and where it is going. Stable, at least in our context, certainly does not mean static. This is good. And I am very grateful.