Within the last couple of weeks, two very core Dale community members passed away. Their names were Ronnie and Ash. It has been heavy, sad, hard, and burdensome. There have only been a few instances in my time here at The Dale where we have had to have more than one funeral so close together. For that, I am grateful. Ronnie’s family had a funeral for him, and then they attended ours here in Parkdale. Ash’s funeral is on Monday with his family and friends. These have been exhausting, grief filled weeks.
There have been times that I have wondered, why? Why do I do this work? Why do I draw close to people when I know the chances of them dying are significantly higher than other people in my life? Why was I called to do community work which involves constant tendering of a sensitive heart? Can I handle this?
I do not have any answers. All I know is that in all of this, I do not want to back away. Despite feeling sad, heart broken, and hopeless at times I still want to stay. I still want to love. I still want to be here more than anything. I am grateful for the way we love each other here at The Dale, as a staff team and as a community. The love of this place patches up my broken pieces, holds grief with me, allows space for emotion, participates in hard things together, and finds ways to keep going. I have learned a lot of lessons about resilience and bravery.
I have been finding comfort in the lyrics of this song by Bi Frost Arts, called Psalm 126:
“Although we are weeping
Lord, help us keep sowing
The seeds of Your Kingdom
For the day You will reap them
Your sheaves we will carry
Lord, please do not tarry
All those who sow weeping will go out with songs of joy.”
Although we are weeping, Lord help us keep sowing the seeds of Your Kingdom. It has become its own prayer for me in times of hopelessness and grief. I know that God is with us now in this heaviness. I know he draws close. I know that one day I will sit at The Table with my friends again, in perfect peace and wholeness. And I know until that day comes, I can have hope that sowing seeds of the Kingdom will end with great joy, even if there is sorrow in the mean time. I thank God for His promises.
All of this to say, that grief is not easy. I am thankful for Ian who stays even when the side of grief that comes out in private is not as put together as these words may seem. I am grateful for my daughter, who is filled with laughter and joy. I am grateful for my family who cares for Charlotte so I can have times of rest. And I am sad. Sad that my friends are dying so soon and so young. I am sad that there is no way to immediately fix the gaps in our systems. I miss my friends.
In these moments I will keep praying my new prayer. I will try to keep sowing seeds. I will find ways to remember all those that have gone to be with the Creator. And I will find peace in knowing that grief is not always tied up with a pretty bow after a funeral ends. It can linger. But those who sow weeping will go out with songs of joy.
I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale. In order to do this work, I must fundraise my own salary. This is only possible through financial gifts from supporters like you. You can visit https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/the-dale-ministries/ to give to my work here, indicating that the donation is for me. With much thanks!