Thursday, April 30, 2015

sometimes, you just have to take the first step.

i've been sitting on a dream of mine for nearly half of a decade now [that sounds more dramatic than 'for five years'] and have recently decided that now is as good of a time as any to get crackin on making it happen.

my dream job? to bridge the gap between two overlooked people groups [youth and the poor] through eye opening experiences, practical teaching, and personal reflection.

i remember the exact conversation that opened my eyes to see that my dream was not only possible, but meaningful.

i may have shared this before, but i was hanging out with some of my friends in a soup kitchen one day when i noticed that one of my street friends had a tattoo on his neck. curious about it, i asked him what it signified.

"this is the date my wife was born, and this one" he said as he choked up, "is the date she passed away".

he then began to tell me and one of the youth i was with about the day his whole life changed forever.

he, like many others, found comfort in a bottle. and another. and another. until his very life consisted of making trips to the local beer store in attempt to numb his unimaginable pain. before he knew it, he lost his job, his kids, and lastly, his house, causing him to become 'just another' invisible fixture on the city's cold and lonely sidewalk.

i obviously felt his pain [who wouldn't?], but having my dad still around at the time, i didn't understand grief the way i do now. but ashlea did. and i sat there in awe as i watched a 15 year old girl from wichita, kansas connect with a 40 some odd year old toronto man over the loss of a loved one.

that was a defining moment for me; a moment where my dream of bridging the gap between what would appear to be two unlikely people groups became realistic for me; realistic because i just watched a connection happen right before my very eyes.

so here i am, 'half a decade later' taking a step towards creating my dream job, and putting my gifts, passions, and experience, to use.

mark my word. one day, i will have a place downtown toronto where youth [and whoever wants to, really] can come and stay the week or weekend, learn about homelessness and other social issues in the city, hear real-life stories that break down the pre-conceived ideas they [we] have about those on the margins of society, challenge the barriers of judgement that we have so easily built around our hearts, and have the opportunity to actually serve at local soup kitchens and homeless shelters and the like.

but for now, i will hand out water.

after all, every dream begins with a single step.

will you join me?

operation hydration. this saturday. downtown toronto. 1-3ish. get at me for deets.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

1) some days, i wonder if my friends realize how fortunate they are to have me in their life [or why it's so hard for them to express that at times], and other times, i convince myself that no one would notice if i disappeared tomorrow.

your mind [and emotions] can play tricks on you. do your utmost to guard both.

2) i wish that people could empathize with me, or at the very least, sympathize with my pain sometimes instead of writing it off and spewing nonsense [not directed at anyone specific]. at the end of the day, if you always respond to my heart [pain] with your head [logic], i'm most likely going to stop sharing it with you. [again, not directed at anyone specific].

logic has its place, but empathy trumps all.

then again, maybe it's time that i stop expecting people to respond to me the way i need them to, and start finding comfort from the One who understands exactly what i go through each day, and can actually do something about it.

in 1 Samuel chapter one we are introduced to a man named elkanah [didn't they have baby name books back then?], who the bible says had two wives: peninnah [clearly they didn't], who had children, and hannah, who did not.

it goes on to tell us in verses 6 and 7 that miss 'i have a really ugly name' provoked hannah [and kept provoking her] for years in order to irritate her. so not only was hannah dealing with an unmet desire of being a mom [something i can empathize with at age 35], she had this mean spirited and jealous sister-wife making things more unbearable for her.

her response? "in her deep anguish hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly" [vs 10]. so much in fact, that eli the priest thought she was drunk:

VS13: "hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “how long are you going to stay drunk? put away your wine.”

VS15: “not so, my lord,” hannah replied, “i am a woman who is deeply troubled. i have not been drinking wine or beer; i was pouring out my soul to the Lord. do not take your servant for a wicked woman; i have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief."

i have read and meditated on this passage of scripture for over a month now, and can acknowledge that hannah's 'coping mechanism' was indeed healthy and most beneficial, yet i find it exceptionally hard to put it into practice myself.

instead of 'pouring out my soul to the Lord', i drown myself in episode after episode of the next best thing on netflix, devour a bag of chips [the only time i'm glad the bag is half full of air], or try and spill my heart to a friend who isn't going to respond the way i want them to any ways, because, well, they're different, and their perspective is different.

the world will tell you that alcohol, drugs, food, netflix, relationships and the like will bring you the most comfort in life, and while i can attest to the fact that these things [or whatever your personal coping mechanism is] will indeed bring you comfort for a period of time, i'm starting to believe that hannah was on to something.