A lot has happened this year. Things that were good, things that were hard, and everything in between.

The renovations to make our home accessible for Dion came to completion. And then the troubleshooting began. The swing of a door made it impossible for Dion to close it, and so an automatic door opener became necessary. The door of the elevator failed to latch and therefore wouldn’t move (we have now figured it out). The schedule of Personal Support Workers sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. What also transpired was that Dion, Cate and I could have dinner around our table again. And this Christmas we were all in the same place. So many of you made this possible through your generous financial gifts, participation in the meal train, phone calls and visits, and prayer. We do not take it for granted.

Our staff team at The Dale went through a few changes: Pete Nojd and Olivia Dower joined the crew, and Meagan Knight had a beautiful baby and went on maternity leave (she will be returning in the fall of 2020). On more than a few occasions I found myself dumbfounded by the work God has done to build The Dale. I recall what it felt like to be by myself, then for five years it be me and Joanna, then The Dale three with the addition of Meagan, and in 2019 almost doubling to five with Pete and Olivia. Each person is precious; each person feels a sense of call; each person brings something unique.

Cate entered her last year of high school. We have read about universities and colleges. She has been preparing a portfolio and will be sending in applications before mid-January in order to study photography. I have enjoyed every season of Cate’s life, and this one is no different. I also find myself reflecting on Cate’s early years and feeling nostalgic. Little Catie-Cate is not so little anymore. She is a seventeen-year-old with an old soul, a compassionate heart, a keen sense of joy, and a wonderful eye.

We said welcome and hello to many new community members at The Dale. We also said goodbye to Wally, Keith, Sharky, Rudy, Mary and most recently, Julie who was murdered on December 22nd. Life and death, joy and grief. As Henri Nouwen so wisely said, “mourning and dancing are never fully separated. Their ‘times’ do not necessarily follow each other. In fact, their ‘times’ may become one ‘time.’ Mourning may turn into dancing and dancing into mourning without showing a clear point where one ends and the other starts.”

Mourning has turned into dancing and vice versa on numerous occasions this past year. I often feel in a liminal space, or “in-between place”, at such times. Liminal comes from the Latin ‘limen’ which means ‘on the threshold’. I have found myself on the threshold in many situations, where I can see what is behind while also sensing what is in front. Living into this tension has been an exercise in faith and has required strength and grace not my own.

Dion is home/MS is brutal. The Dale is growing/people are dying. Cate is graduating/Cate will leave the nest. I feel thankful that in all these in-between places there is space for grief and fatigue, alongside opportunities for joy, courage, and hope. At the end of 2019, my desire for the Christmas promise is heightened. Let this weary world rejoice.

Merry Christmas everyone. May there be light in the darkness, hope in the difficulty, and love to cover it all.

5 thoughts on “The Liminal Spaces of 2019

  1. Good job Erinn, Happy New Year to you, your family, and the Dale. Sometime in the winter I’d like to come tot he Dale on a Mon. Love and respect to you most Saintly Lady… rick

  2. I have followed both you and Dion, grateful to read of the insights&experience you both have had in life following Costa Rica. Life has been hard! MS a thief! But your gratefulness and commitment to God continues 🙏 and endures ♥️

    God bless and I wish your family peace and many blessings….

  3. I love you so therefore I have brought and will continue to bring others alongside you to support you, to uphold you, to encourage you, and to pray for you in the good times and the bad. Love God

  4. Hi Erinn,

    I hope you and your family are well and I wish everyone a Happy 2020.

    Like many other metropolis’ in Red Deer, we are experiencing a homeless crew. I myself had my wallet stolen at the ER!!! I wrote off whatever bills were in it and cancelled my credit card.

    I know from a former boss I had a Scotiabank that lives in RD and who’s on our city council. I asked him if I could help in arranging an introduction as I have followed the posts both you and Dion do about The Dale. It really sounds to me like a family environment and faith has been fostered. It makes me proud!!!! 🙏

    Besides untreated mental illness I don’t know what to so, would you be interested is providing some tips and/or support. Feeling a bit at a loss for ideas especially if any help is declined.

    Thanks Friend, I appreciate your expertise and kind heart!!

    Kindest Regards,

    Annette Sent from my iPhone


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