“ We live in a world that is beyond our control, and life is in a constant flux of change. So we have a decision to make: keep trying to control a storm that is not going to go away or start learning to live within the rain.” – Glenn Pemberton, Hurting with God
Today is a day for walking in the autumn rain with a creamy hot chocolate from Veranda, a favourite coffee bar of mine, revelling in the downward spiral of drifting leaves. The taste of cocoa adds a sweet note to the late afternoon, my time to attend to errands and find sacred space for writing. I’m not as organized as I would like to be and once again I’m sitting upon one of the spring-green coloured padded benches in the children’s section of our local library – all the adult tables and chairs having been taken by other patrons escaping the rain. It is a stark reminder that there are often not enough spaces for us all but I’m happy to share, breathing in the colour of life unfolding all around me!
My future self will leave home with a thermos of hot chocolate or herbal tea, notebook and pen in hand to find a spot upstairs in the community centre that shares space with the library – there are tables and shelves where one can settle in for a bout of writing underneath a large skylight. A little one has just joined me on the bench as I write, he’s thrown his wet red jacket to the floor as well as a couple of brightly coloured books, has just kicked off his tiny green rubber boots, grabbed one of the books and has settled right in. I can see his blue striped sock feet, softly kicking in the air from the corner of my eye…
Beneath the beauty of this world, however, is an ugly reality lurking, our shining city by the sea is being sold one square foot at a time. Buildings that I thought might be here forever are being torn down, fading “Moving Sale” messages cover local notice boards and “For Rent” signs are popping up on holy ground in front of apartment buildings where vacancies were once just wishful thinking. Large supermarkets and small beloved eateries have closed, their front windows carefully covered in brown paper waiting for new energy or money to open their doors once again, So many of us who have lived in this beautiful corner of the world for decades are left holding our breath…the reality of homelessness never far from our thoughts and conversations. I see more familiar faces collecting bottles from the bins in our alleyway – there are also many new faces sitting on pieces of cardboard asking for help, any help, it breaks my heart. I recently walked by a busker on iconic Robson St. whose words touched me as he called out, “Can you spare anything, it would help make a not so good day, great” and I thought, this is something I can do right now, share some spare coin to help change someone’s day. Perhaps this is all we can do among these unsettling landscapes, help when we can and keep standing our ground.