Last week we were doing outreach, as we usually do midweek. You can often find us walking or driving along Queen Street through Parkdale checking in with our friends outside. We bring water, snacks, toiletries, or sometimes just ourselves and look forward to connecting with folks in a setting outside the bounds of our drop-in or to-go meals. Last week was a week not that different from usual. We set off with stuff in hand and walked through the heat. We were nearing our last check-in spot on our usual route when the unfortunate happened.
I was standing outside a convenience store talking to our friend Robert when I felt and heard a splatter on my head and arm and the sidewalk beside me. It was not raining, so I knew instantly what the culprit was… a bird had relieved itself above me in such a way that I got the leftover splat from it’s bottom. It was green and wet and landed mostly on the sidewalk but also on me.
I was in shock. I just held my arm out and patted my head and looked at the floor as people came to my rescue. Jo and Olivia started checking me all over to see the damage. A stranger walked by and saw the events, handing me a napkin and assuring me of it’s cleanliness. Our friend Robert starting searching through his bag for another napkin. Olivia and Joanna took them and starting cleaning me off where the poo had reached me. Everyone assured me how lucky I was (if we were standing in a country where bird shart can be seen as lucky).All I could do was stand there in my shock and hope the colour would soon drain from my cheeks.
As unlucky as I felt, I still found myself thinking of a silver lining. I had community. People didn’t laugh and point and say “Sucks to be you!” They came quickly with napkins and hopeful words and patting of hair. It was a simple thing, but it reminded me of the bigger picture of this life of work I am blessed to be called to do. There is hope and napkins to be had in the village you surround yourself with. I am so grateful for my friends who helped that day, and for the way we could share the story on the rest of our walk and find laughter in the midst of a hot poop filled day.
This isn’t the first time I have been handed napkins in a tough situation. And surely it will not be the last. Whether it be napkins, a prayer, a coffee, a check in, a gift of service, love, thoughts, or a walk – I am glad to have my life enriched by this Dale community. What a beautiful gift.
With peace in days that may have a little extra poop. I hope you get handed a napkin drenched in love.
I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale. In order to do this ministry I must fundraise for my salary. I invite you to partner with me prayerfully or financially! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk more about what this looks like!