Monthly Archives: April 2011

today was one of those days

i sit here at the end of a very long day trying to put into words my thoughts about today. its not easy. i write and i erase. i write some more and erase it too. my words dont seem to capture whats going on inside. i resign myself to just write and let it stay. the backspace button is suspended for this one.

today was great. other adjectives that come to mind- awesome, epic, incredible, amazing, fantastic, super-duper, etc – fail to explain today, so im left with great. great like michael jordan in the 90’s. great like that giant wall in china. great like that greek dude named alexander who conquered a lot of land. simply great.

for starters, today we broke our week-long fast. and not a day too soon! we decided to celebrate with a feast of sorts. on saturday we had gone grocery shopping and bought a ton of food. we slow cooked a bunch of meat, made delicious salads and prepared dozens of fresh sandwiches. we made everything necessary for a proper feast. then today after easter service at church was finished we went down to east hastings, into first united shelter and a few of the dive bars along the strip, and grabbed as many people as we could to come celebrate with us.

it was a feast to remember.

earlier in the week someone had asked what was the point in fasting if it didnt lead to some change. sure, losing weight is a form of change and can be positive for some but what good would that be outside of the individual? what about the collective? what about the community? what about those living on the streets who had no choice at times but to fast? we decided to add instead of subtract. we decided to build instead of tear down. we decided to create a space and environment where community could be born. we decided to take the words of the bible seriously when it says: ‘ share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house’.

the result – the best easter dinner ive ever had. period.

(sorry, mom.)

dividing lines were crossed, new friendships were made and everyone left feeling like they had just been part of something out of this world cause they had. a celebration for the ages, if i would be so bold. not because of what we did though, but because of what our friends on the streets brought – their stories, their laughter, their appreciation, their smiles, themselves. they turned what would have been a regular meal between a few friends into a great (theres that word again) feast.

community was born today in an east hastings flat as the world in and around it celebrated the resurrection of its Savior. i feel immensely blessed to have been just a small part of it.

i already cant wait for next year..

***

he is risen.

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quick story from good friday

i sat last night at first united talking with brock, a struggling 30-something addict about his life. id never met brock before last night. didnt know him from a hole in the wall, but there we sat talking about life in the present and what the future held. two brothers trying to figure out life. with sweat pouring down his face brock admitted to me that he had just come from feeding his addiction. he told me about years of checking in and out of recovery programs, each time falling the very day he stepped back out into the real world. i asked him point-blank what it was going to take for him to recover for real and stay clean. he didnt know but said that having some real friends who really cared for him would probably go a long way. it wasnt that he didnt have any friends or family but, according to him, most of them had enabled him to stay where he was at today. the only people who had really tried to help him stay clean and rebuild his life were those from some small church he couldnt remember where.

i parted ways with brock, wishing him a good friday, but encouraged him to call me if he had no plans for easter. i told him i had some friends he might be interested in meeting and sharing a meal with. i hope he calls.

praying for you brock.

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coming home

its been a whirlwind of a life lately for me. high and lows, ups and downs, goodbyes and reunions. at the end of today, the good far outweighs the bad. what else do we ask for, really?

ive traveled home to the beautiful coast of vancouver to stand beside my best friend as he makes one of the biggest steps a man can make – marriage. it just so happens that hes marrying another good friend of mine and i may have had something to do with them meeting (youre welcome, guys ;)). never have i met a couple better suited for one another. why? theyre by far both the weirdest people ive ever had the privilege of meeting. seriously, they take the cake. i cant wait to see what their kids turn out like. ha!

ive spent a lot of my time back walking the streets of east van, seeing my old friends on the streets and under the roof of first united. 8 months have come and gone yet it feels like i just left. most people havent changed a bit though theres a few who have changed a lot. 3 of my friends have multiple months of recovery under their belts. les checked into rehab shortly after i left and hasnt looked back. hes convinced now that he can take me out. his new beatles haircut and added muscle to his small frame have done wonders for his confidence. dad (jimmy) kicked his alcohol habit 6 months ago and his seizures have ceased. besides a few minor health issues, he told me, he feels ten years younger. yesterday, my tiny little native sister, has a quarter of a year clean. i can see the difference in her face. her smiles seem real now. her hugs feel stronger.

i made a new friend the other day. a friend of a friend who has become a new friend. he has dreads, lives in east van and digs Jesus too. we hung out today roaming the rainy streets of east van together talking about moving and shaking the world we find ourselves in. we wandered into first united a little before supper time to help with the wednesday dinner. good food, good talks, great community. interrupting the ministers little speech before dinner, leana yelled ‘lucas!’ across the room and came running for a hug. shes heading to a recovery house tomorrow for the first time ever. the good news just keeps coming.

lois bujold said, ‘my home is not a place, it is people’. i wished i had come up with that quote first. either way, it reflects my thoughts these days. its been incredible coming home to the downtown eastside and seeing all my friends again. each new excited face and warm embrace fills me up with a little bit more joy. the smile on my face grows a little bit wider. im sure it seems weird to a lot of people. i dont blame them. east hastings isnt the prettiest part of vancouver. garbage doesnt get picked up too often, drug addicts wander the alleys, streets and parks, and the lack of social justice is enough to make a hardened heart weep, but for me it feels like home.

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challenge accepted

for those that know me well know that im not one to back down from a good challenge. even when i want to i cant seem to say no. sometimes its pride, other times sheer stubbornness and, on the rare occasion because i recognize a good idea for what it is.

when my good friend justin mentioned that we should do a fast for the week preceding passover (easter) my knees buckled slightly, my stomach groaned and my lips quickly pursed to say ‘heck no!’. but those words never came out and i found my right hand shaking his followed with a nod of approval.

challenge accepted.

so no food for 168 hours. 10080 minutes. 604,800 seconds. seems really long when i write it like that.

what have i got myself into..

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