full to the brim.

let me paint you a picture. 

it’s a tuesday afternoon, 1pm to be exact. we gather in a space not our own, as usual. but we sure make it ours, as usual. we are at the salvation army thrift store on queen street west and jameson avenue. the store is long but narrow. let’s walk in, all the way to the back. there you go, past the racks of clothes and the dishes. stop at the staff room door 3/4 of the way back and say hi to penny. she’s pricing some items. hi darlings! she says and she hugs you tight. you let her know that you have snacks and that she should come for a visit.

walk a little further back, careful! it gets tight here. walk to the left of the bookshelf and pull up a chair if you can find one. this is where we meet. the “coffee corner” at the back of the store. the space is small… really small. we are at a table that’s been here for ages and mixed-matched chairs that come and go. sometimes if we are lucky theres a couch too, just in front of the table. we are surround by books on three sides. have a seat, next to “john”. he has his painting supplies out already and is focused and committed. 

if you came with me, which i wouldn’t advise since you’re already seated, we would go back into the staff room, past the tight clothing rack being sorted (sorry! was that your toe?) and grab our things. a borrowed kettle. a gifted scrabble bored, some coffee, tea and hot chocolate etc in a well loved bag. back to the table i go and plug the kettle in at the coffee corner, so to speak. 

what would you like to drink and how do you take it? don’t worry if you don’t get a drink this round… we’ll boil the kettle at least 10 more times since it only fills three cups at a time. soon everyone will be filled with a warm drink in a borrowed mug – if we run out we walk back to the front where the dishes are and collect a couple more. here, take these bowls please. chips in this one and grapes in the other. help yourself! and pass it along. 

1:30 already?! time flies at the beginning. we are full now so squish in. oh here’s “betty”. sorry while i reach over you to give her a hug. ok everyone, drinks in hand? scrabble at the ready? “TJ” will serenade us and oh look! Sam’s here with some donuts! 

this is my tuesday afternoon, and you are always welcome. we gather from 1-3pm. it may be squishy and loud but it’s ours for a couple hours and we are at “home.” feel free to join us! 

It would mean so much to me if you were able to partner financially with The Dale to support my role within this ministry. There are a number of ways to do this, including CanadaHelps, PAR, or cheque. Please reach out to me if you would like more information on partnering with me in this way. Thanks for your support!

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learning to stay.

often, my initial reaction in any uncomfortable situation is to run. or at least think about running. there are people in my life who can vouch for the fact that i have looked at real estate in other provinces/countries/islands far away, rather than feel my feelings. talk about needed to learn to process. 

i started therapy again last week. it was hard. and it will be hard for a while. i am going to give myself permission to feel some things that i don’t want to feel. about 10 minutes before my appointment i called ian in a panic and seriously considered running for my life back to the subway. but i didn’t. i walked up to that office, sat and stripped most of my layers off because i was so warm, and (i kid you not) blew on my clammy hands and wiped them on my pants so i wouldn’t have “nervous” hands. you know the ones… clammy, and damp. yup, that was me. 

there have been times in life where i have wanted to run. to move. to be anywhere else. to give up. i know you’ve probably heard about that fight or flight thing…. well the flight runs deep in me. but guess what? sometimes staying can be really beautiful. 

sometimes sitting with your sweaty, clammy self and getting through that first session can bring you hope that one day you will be able to feel without wishing you weren’t. telling people how you are (how you REALLY are) can bring encouragement and life into your soul. sitting with people awkwardly and making slow conversation can be the start of a really beautiful friendship.

i am no expert at this, but i know that the grass will always look greener on the other side. i mean, those people who moved to an island far far away probably wish they had a closer grocery store. i am learning to feel without letting it consume me. i am learning to blow off my clammy hands and meet new people. i am learning that sitting in silence is okay. i am learning that next week, you might feel different and better than today. and that people won’t run from you most of the time if you tell them you’re not okay. most of the time, if they love you (which you know they do), they’ll stick right there beside you. they might even look at houses with you in a country you’ll never move to. and they’ll be there to have your back. because staying means friends, and having friends is a lovely thing.

It would mean so much to me if you were able to partner financially with The Dale to support my role within this ministry. There are a number of ways to do this, including CanadaHelps, PAR, or cheque. Please reach out to me if you would like more information on partnering with me in this way. Thanks for your support!