Beauty can rise up out of the ashes.
If you read my last post you will know that I have been in the middle of a very difficult situation. While I won’t explain the details of it here, I can share some of the expressions of care and love that have poured out of it.
Bare cupboards have been filled.
Out of some people’s relative nothing, a sweet assortment of thoughtful gifts have been procured for the hurting one. One giver had less than $48 in the bank for the entire month, but wanted to participate by giving a treasured something from their belongings.
A Dale friend who knows the same kind of pain being currently experienced said, “Everyone needs someone who KNOWS what this feels like. I want this person to know they are not alone. I will write them a letter telling them so and offer to listen”.
I can’t walk down Queen Street West with out people stopping me to ask how things are and offer to pray.
This has been an opportunity for The Dale, along with our supportive extended community, to stand in the gap that exists when the limitations of “the system” are exposed. It’s a special thing when a group of people who know the gaps all too well can work to eliminate the cracks, rather than simply reside in them.
A Dale friend pulled me into a corner at the Wednesday Drop-In, looked at me intently and said, “I want to encourage you”. This friend has the look of someone who has survived a lot. He knows the street and substance addiction. He is also a very good drummer. As he proceeded to talk, I felt he knew exactly what I needed to hear.
It is not uncommon for me to be huddled with people from The Dale in a corner, at a table or on a bench just like I was with this friend. Bystanders will occasionally quietly ask, “what are you doing? You must be helping that person, right?”. I usually respond: “we are helping each other”.
Wednesday was a beautiful reminder of this. I was encouraged to remember that God works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed, is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. I don’t know if my friend realized his words were right out of Psalm 103, but I suspect he did. He went on to pray that I continue to be patient; know that I am loved; and have a renewed understanding that God’s forgiveness is for me too. My friend’s words were genuine and full of grace.
This kind of generous compassion is what we are all, regardless of economic or social status, called to. ‘Charity’ is not meant to be one way. I hope that I will have a word for my friend when he needs it. Good thing we’re in this together.