Thursday, May 24, 2012

it's been an eventful month, to say the least.

where to begin.

1) a look behind.

i had the honor of traveling to whitby to speak at a youth group by the name of the student movement. i walked away with a full heart, a generous offering, and the assurance that whitby is in good hands. solid group. solid night.

the following week i had the chance to partner with an organization called 'souls of the feet' [check them out!] where i had the opportunity to share God's heart for the poor with a young adults group in brampton. a few days later, we found ourselves sitting on various corners of downtown toronto with the hopes of 'getting a feel' for what it's like for the average panhandler.

before i continue, please note that, one, we went into this with the understanding that there was no possible way that we could fully [or even partially] understand what it's like to have to survive on the streets, or rely on the generosity of a stranger to live, and two, any money that we did collect [which was minimal] was given back to the community in which we were trying to understand, and serve.

now, let it be said that regardless of the fact that we all had homes to go to at the end of the day and that this was merely an exercise, the few hours that we did spend on the streets opened our eyes to a few things:

- people are generally fearful and/or apathetic when it comes to the homeless, which all of us have been guilty of at one time or another, myself included. others may want to help, but don't know how.

- people are apt to take advantage of vulnerable people. [one man actually attempted to solicit one of my friends as she sat there on the cold sidewalk].

- it is easy to get bored, and feel invisible.

i can recall countless times during these few hours when people pretended not to see us, protected their kids from us, or made rude comments as they passed. one lady even went as far as to yell at my friend and i from a distance, as we sat on what seemed to be a vacant store's steps. when we offered to help her hold the door as she struggled to carry more than she could handle, she very rudely told us that she didn't want help from 'us'.

even though i've 'worked' with people on the margins of society for over a decade now, my heart broke in ways i've never felt before as i sat there and experienced the feelings that came with being ignored and dare i say, feared. to think that this was merely a glimpse of the rejection that others are subjected to on a daily basis blows my mind; to think that i, too, have been guilty of extending this kind of rejection to people at times, breaks my heart.

2) a look ahead.

june: i'm excited to watch my S.W.O.L.E kids lead their schools in a high energy obstacle course as the school year wraps up, and just as excited to be able to hang out with the families at single mom's camp again this year. [i love my life].

july: aside from having the honor of speaking at lakeshore camp on a sunday morning, running a few team honduras meetings, and hanging out with youth, i have no idea what this month will hold for me. [do i ever?]

august: after months of planning, meetings and fundraising, i get to see one of my dreams come to pass as i head to honduras with some of the greatest youth in the GTA [my heart is bursting! i wish i could share a few exciting things with you today, but i'll have to save that for another time].

3) the grief process

my family and i made it through what would have been my dad's 61st birthday a few weeks ago, are about to face what would be my parents' 33rd wedding anniversary next week, and a much dreaded father's day. not a day goes by where i don't think about my dad and miss him greatly, yet i still can't wrap my mind around the fact that he's gone.

4) gratitude gets me through.

i feel the need to pinch myself sometimes, wondering if this is really my life. i could sit here all night and write out everything i'm thankful for, but clearly this blog is long enough. HA. i will say, however, that i would not be where i am today without God, the amazing people that surround me on a daily basis, and the unique adventures that make my life as rich and crazy as it is =)

until next time, friends.

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