Saturday, June 9, 2012

the emotion of public transit

There is something about the bus that always seems to bring out my emotions, I think it’s because for me it’s a very solitary event, I can’t even think of the last time I took the bus with someone other than strangers. This is where I end up deep in thought and consequently I either become that weirdo who is laughing by herself on transit (shout out to Bri) or that girl who is trying to hide the fact that she is crying. I had this moment yesterday but it wasn’t because I was sad.
Story time.
When I started working at the seed I had a very extroverted person on my team who was very evangelical, he was constantly praying with guests, which I just thought was so beautiful! And something that I wanted to do, but I was kind of scared, praying out loud with people was still uncomfortable for me. So I prayed and asked God to give me a situation or a moment in which I could pray for someone. That night a women came and knocked on the door of the office I was in and asked to use the phone for a long distance call. When this would happen it was kind of hard because you want to give the person privacy but you are also there in the office… once she was on the phone this women started crying almost hysterically as she spoke to her partner, she promised him she was going to get off drugs and start doing better, she promised that she would do it for him and for their children. When she got off the phone she asked if she could sit with me for a while as she wasn’t ready to go back onto the shelter floor. We started talking and she told me that she told me about her life, several horrific details of addiction and poverty, of terrible abuse she had endured and she told me about her children and how she wanted to change so they could have a mom. I asked her if I could pray with her, which she agreed to. This is a moment that changed the rest of my experience at the shelter and quite frankly my life. This guest then went on to treatment and when she was finished was back at the shelter. I excitedly referred her to the housing program which she was accepted to and moved out , I heard of some bumps in the road for her from her housing worker but she was doing a lot better and headed in a good place. Yesterday my bus was stopped at a red light in my neighborhood and I saw her walking with her daughter and another mom with some kids and a stroller and I was completely stunned, 2 years later, this was the full circle, she was just a lady walking with her kids and a neighbor, she was not a recovering addict living in a shelter. She was a mother with her child. She looked happy. That’s when I become the girl crying on the bus.
When I left the shelter I compared it to breaking up with the love of my life…so I will continue with my cheesy metaphor, I’ve got those first date butterflies with housing and I feel something developing…working “street level” will happen for me again, that is undeniable but for now…this seems worth my time.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Street Art Project April 21: Appreciation

I recently saw this video and I though that I myself wanted to do something similar... I currently do not have the resources to pull off something fancy but I still wanted to pass along the general message, below is how I set it up and what might be considered creeper shots from across the road of people doing the project.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Remember who you are

As a part of the leadership program I'm a part of through the Mustard seed we had a assignment to write our personal vision statement. This is something we are going to continue to look at, this is my first draft, but I'm pretty happy with it so I don't think it will change to much.

I am on a Love Tour....
This means to live a life rooted in Christ, fully committing myself to being present and aware that every situation and interaction is an opportunity to be love, accept love and learn new things about love.

To explore and be an active part of Community and Art.
To validate the worth of all people I come across, valuing the gifts that I have been given and the gifts of others.

To chase "goose bump" moments and to fearlessly pursue the "small voice" that is so often dismissed as impossible.

To reflect what I believe and to live with my heart just as visibly on my sleeve as the one on my face.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I didnt ask for Whipped Cream, but Thanks!

from the lovely cork journal:

"....Then I met with Kristal, and that girl definatly understands my vision! Because I, in my thoughts about school, I'm thinking more and more about how I don't feel like I need an degree for validation and how I truly truly believe God gives gifts and how that should not be discounted.

I was thinking how the things I want to do "professionally" I don't ACTUALLY want to do "professionally"
I want to be a part of a community. Community that takes care of each other, that teaches and learns, forgives and gives, community of equality, community that values worth and sacrifice and community of people seeking Jesus, of people loving Him and loving like Him.

And, for me, the idea of going to school, so I can make sure others see my gift? to ensure I can get a job in the future? That kind of thinking doesn't sit right with me.
Life is a whole opportunity for education. Every person and experience is a vehicle for my learning and personal transformation.

I wonder if school would cloud my natural instincts with theory. or if not having a "education" would cloud other people with doubts of my ability?"

*** the thoughts expressed in this post are very much of me processing this decision, I may very well end up going to school, I also don't think there is anything wrong with going to school and think its great when people make that choice, I am simply trying to figure out what I want and what is going to work best for the kind of life I am going to live, and ultimately what God is calling me to.

Monday, March 19, 2012

sage and sweet grass

a tear filled prayer time, a resolve to just "write the letter" to see what it feels like, a solid feeling in my heart that I know what I'm suppose to do, what God is speaking to me, an argument in my inner dialogue about how just going about what I normally do is not the right thing and that things will not change if I stay where I am.

a handing in of the letter, a deep breathe, disbelief, did I actually just quit my job?
This job that I LOVE, this job that has taught me so much.
Yes I believe I did. It came down to a decision of self preservation, what is more important, my emotional health (which is largely damaged because of the night shift)or preserving the identify I have created, preserving this person who is wrapped up in yellow.
I go back to a time when I sat under a tree dripping with flower in south Africa, noting the callused feet of a man who has walk much of Africa, being asked to outline my personal 10 the created not the creator... I know God has more for me, please don't misunderstand that I don't mean the shelter is beneath me,far from it,I will always value that place, I just know this is not the long term plan, and I've been holding on so hard for longer then the end of this journey was much like the start, I'm not saying me and the mustard seed are done for ever, my time as night team lead is done though.

This morning in my prayer time I found this prayer:

Good Shepherd, who finds the lost one
the "me" I have known has disappeared.

Will I ever recover the person I have been?
Will I ever find and feel good about myself again?
Will I discover who I am and who I am becoming?

Protect me in this great vulnerability.
Assure me that I will come home to myself,
even though "my self" may be different.

Silence my impatience.
Calm my worry.
Restore my joy.
Solace my distress.
Help me to befriend my new self
with tender hope and welcoming love

-Joyce Rupp

Saturday, March 3, 2012

you don't have to wait for the sound

You can take small beautiful things away from even the worst of experiences...I am referring to when I worked at day care. You see, above the door in the basement it said "through these doors walk the best kids in Calgary" I thought that was cute, commented on the cuteness to one of the girls who worked there longer then myself and she mentioned she had been inspired because apparently at some bar here in Calgary there is a similar sign but it says something about beautiful women...go figure...

Anyway when I volunteered at the after school program in south Africa, I remembered that sign...and those kids are,were and forever will be inspiring and a large part of my heart, they are also South Africa's hope...hence the sign...

Recently there was a all staff meeting at the seed, and I left feeling very inspired, which apparently means I need to make a sign that has something to do with a door. The Director of Rehousing, showed us two time lines of guests who have been rehoused by the seed, I'm not even going to try and lie about the fact that I cried when it was explained that one of them was able to go to his daughters wedding...beautiful, anyway, this presentation was ended with the words "the people we work with are brave..."

its so true....

The morning we put this up one of the ladies walked by me and was like "oh i need to walk through the door!" she walked through about two steps then she walked back out proclaiming "now its official"

I should have added that the people who walk through that door are precious...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

let me be empty

There were a few moments from our trip that really stood out for me and I would like to share them with you. Lets take a look in the brown leather journal that I filled while I was there

"we went for dinner at UGM (union gospel mission) and like the day before we decided to split up so we weren't this clump of new faces. We were with the second group to go in for dinner and Jon (who was going with the Alis of Chad Williams)and I sat down at a table with only one other man at it. The man sat with his face down, focused on his dinner tray, we start to eat as well and I look up and over at him and tears are streaming down his face and he is quietly sobbing. Jon and I exchange confused looks and I start to push my tray across the table with the intention of going to sit by the man, but then I hesitate, what if he doesn't want to talk to me? I get up and I go over to him, I ask him I can talk to him, he says that fine, I ask him whats wrong and he begins to spill about a life of pain, of physical pain from several accidents and emotional pain which drove him to years swallowed by a alcohol addiction. I ask him if he wants me to get one of the staff and he shakes his head "there isn't anything they could do" I pause "I don't usually do this ... I don't want you to think I'm a religious freak but I believe in Christ" I begin to tell him what I believe and how I believe in healing. After stammering nervously through this explanation I ask him if I can pray for him, he nods tears still clinging to his cheeks, I place my hand on his arm and we pray, he leaves shortly after"

Later in Seattle

"Jon and I are walking slowing behind Jordan and Janelle, they are ahead waiting at a stop sign and a small older lady calls out to us from the bench she is sitting at, I approach and ask her name, Sylvia, she begins to tell me that she is temporally homeless and that she was hoping someone would buy her a sandwich, my heart sinks a little as we decided not to take any money with us. I explain to her that tonight we are in the same situation as she is and that I don't have anything to share with her, again I hesitate and start with "I don't usually do this..." and I ask if I can pray with her, she clasps my hand tightly and says "pray honey" I pray and say goodbye..."

One thing about these prayers was how powerful they felt I walked away knowing that God was there. Its strange that in both these situations I said to the person I was talking to "all I can do with you is prayer" when really prayer is a huge deal, and depending on the person doing the praying, can be a hugely vulnerable act, one that is very personal and genuine.

I often pray with people at the shelter, but I think sometimes things can get muddled in my head, I work for an agency that provides basic needs and i feel like i should be providing a tangible "something" whenever someone comes to me, these experiences of prayer on the streets are something I am sinking into in my "work" its really a blessing....

Sunday, January 1, 2012

material word

I get strange attachments to some of my material objects. One of them is my backpack. I was gifted this backpack by two friends just before I went to Africa. Its traveled with me basically everywhere and we have many stories together. We've seen many airports and many dirt roads. This backpack has been with me to camp, to work, to south Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zambia, India, Vancouver, Saskatoon...basically everywhere I've gone since I was 17.
Tonight I packed it for a new adventure. Adventure isn't the right word though...pilgrimage...
My shift is over in approx 5 hours, 3 of my friends will pick me up and we are headed to east Hastings in Vancouver, we will each bring minimal changes of clothing and a sleeping bag...we are going to go experience street life for a week and a bit.

I would be lying to say I wasn't nervous, I would be lying to say I am not feeling a bit of anxiety over this. Homelessness is far more then not having shelter. And its not something that we will understand after only a few days. In fact I slept under a bridge one night before and sometimes looking back on that experience I laugh a little thinking how profound I found that was profound but it was only a fraction of what the reality of homelessness is.

I think God calls some people to intentional poverty, I remember thinking that in Africa, because in reality what we have to offer as followers of Christ are not material things, nothing that would fit in a backpack, but it is the hope of Christ...its hope that the pain we feel here and the nasty stuff we go through is not all there is, its hope that we are loved by perfection and that He offers us freedom for all the things that hold us in shackles. Sometimes I feel like I may be called to interact with poverty in a different way, not as a helping hand in a yellow shirt, but maybe just as a girl who loves Jesus who is seated on the pavement beside you. Maybe this week will make that clearer..