Not Just Filling A Glass.

Last Tuesday was what is known as Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday. It is the day before Lent starts, during which time people typically feast on pancakes in order to use up flour, butter, eggs, etc before fasting for Lent in the lead up to Easter. These days, people choose to fast on many other things besides just food (such as spending, social media, or swearing!). However, gathering to feast on pancakes is still a tradition many people choose to participate in.

The past couple of years at The Dale we have typically done our Pancake Tuesday feast outside in a to-go kind of way in order to be safe during Covid. With the help of a church partner turned dear friends from Christ Church St. James we would make hundreds of pancakes and sausages, put little butters and syrup together, and package all the food for our outside feast. The last time we gathered in person for Pancake Tuesday was February 2020.

However, this year Christ Church St James was having their Pancake Tuesday feast indoors again and invited us to join them! We were beyond excited to finally be gathering in person again for this feast and to eat together. We told and invited members of The Dale community, particularly our core Sunday group, and purchased Presto tickets so that people could make the short journey from Parkdale to the church.

Once there, we were free to choose seats. A few small groups of us spread out and sat together and we were welcomed, prayed over, and served. There was plenty of food to go around. Dale community members from years past and present came and sat together with members of the Christ Church community and we were able to mingle, eat, laugh, and chat together.

At one point, I was filling the water glass of a community member who had come late because he was working. He sat next to us and was immediately served a meal. A friend got up to get him a coffee. We made sure he had cutlery. And I poured him a glass of water. Suddenly I found myself full of tears. I did not know just how much I had missed this simple, yet important act of eating with my friends and serving each other. This may seem so small and simple… it’s just water after all. Aren’t we supposed to avoid crying over beverages?? However, I was not just filling a glass. Even a small offering such as this helps build community, and it is something I and we hope that we can get back to really soon at The Dale. It feels like this was just the beginning.

Peace to you this week. I pray that you are filled up by even the simplest acts of giving and receiving.

I am a Community Worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale. In order to do this work, I must fundraise for my entire salary. I invite you to contribute if you are able by visiting!

Sun Bathing Our Eyes

There is a lady who comes for lunch on Monday and breakfast on Thursday most weeks. She is quiet-spoken, even tempered, and sweet. Probably in her mid fifties, she rides around the neighbourhood in her bright blue bike and usually comes to say hello and receive a meal just as we are finishing for the day. One thing I like about her is that she is never disappointed if we run out of meals, and still is so happy to have come by. She loves when we make vegetarian salads homemade to give out, and she is into holistic health regimens that she enjoys sharing with us.

One of those regimens is a practice for the eyes to help your vision. On a sunny day, you turn your face to the sun and close your eyes. If you have glasses you should remove them to get those most out of it. Then with your eyes closed, you move your eyeballs all around from left to right and up and down for a few minutes. I have taken to doing this activity everyday that the sun is shining, especially in the winter when the weather is more often dull and grey. Anytime the sun comes out, my face is towards it and my eyes are closed. I don’t know if this practice would actually help someone like me whose vision is very horrible. But nonetheless, I like to give it a go. It’s also a great way to get vitamin D.

Today our friend came by, and it was a good day – we had one more meal and it was an egg salad sandwich handmade by me and Olivia and some chips. She was soooo pleased, and was grateful. I think we were more excited to see her, as Joanna had literally just said she hopes our friend comes by so we can sunbathe our eyes together and she can get an egg salad sandwich. The Lord heard our prayer and blessed us with our friend.

We stood in a line, me, Olivia, Joanna, and our friend, with our faces to the sun and our eyes closed. She was grateful to be sunbathing her eyes with us, so that if people looked at us funny, we would at least be together. We were also dancing to Beyonce that was playing in the background on Olivia’s phone at the request of a community member who had seen her on the Grammys. Sometimes you just need some pals to be yourself around, do odd things like sunbathe your eyes and dance to Beyonce on a Monday afternoon.

I am grateful for our friend and her friendly, quiet spirit. Most of all I am grateful for this community and another example of why giving and receiving is so powerful. Yes we made egg salad sandwiches and gave out food. But our friend cares enough for us to tell us to sunbathe our eyes to help with our vision and get vitamin D, and trusts us enough to stand on the sidewalk looking weird as we bathe our eyes and faces in the sun. I think it’s beautiful.

I hope you find yourself looking towards the sun today.

With peace.