Now it has officially been more than a month since I started here at The Dale… and I really do love it!
There is something special about an open door. A space with an open invitation, open to anyone in the community, embracing them with open arms. Attitudes shift when you tell someone they are welcome, when maybe they are used to being pushed away or unwanted.
This month, I experienced a night of caroling that The Dale does throughout Parkdale, every year. It was a festive night, filled with hot chocolate, Christmas songs, and laughter. We were quite the mob as we clustered together to sing on street corners, outside the library, inside a restaurant, and a few other spots.
As we sang, some people in the community clapped, stared, took photos, but best of all- some joined us and sang along!
I loved being a part of this crowd, spreading joy, and welcoming growth to the group as we moved about; people from all walks of life all uniting to do the simple joyous task of singing carols.
Before we burst out into song on the streets, we gathered in a room to enjoy refreshments and chat. Erinn shared a bit about who The Dale is and, as she spoke, one phrase struck me; it was how she described people as having a “common humanity.”
It stuck out to me because that is the best way to describe it, this big picture that is missing in our culture. We all come from completely different backgrounds or lifestyles and yet we are still all united in this common humanity.
Our society tends to build these walls between people who are (in their mind) too different. This leads to the exclusion, ostracizing, and disregard for people. It feels as if there is this self righteousness that can be achieved- but in reality no one can achieve that, and as a result, people are left with pressure, stress, and hopeless.
In joining The Dale I learned how they like to go against the norm. The Dale opens its doors and says you are loved the way you are. It says you belong. And if that isn’t communicated well enough, if someone feels like there is still a barrier, it becomes our mission to remove it.
The truth is, we can’t achieve self righteousness. The Dale can say “you are worthy of love”, but only Jesus can make you righteous through faith in Him. As it is written in Philippians 3:9,
“and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith”
There is so much comfort in knowing that Jesus accomplished the impossible for me. So now, just as Jesus opened the door to a sinner like me, I’m excited to be a part of this ministry that holds the door open for everyone.
Since I am still just starting, I’m far from my fundraising goal. If you would like to help me financially, you can donate on thedale.org and specify in the comment box that you would like to support me. And again, don’t hesitate to contact me for more information!