Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Friday, May 18, 2012

transplanting basil at Providence Farm

On any given day there are probably at least a hundred people there. There are no name tags, there is no clear distinction between who is staff, who are the volunteers, and who are the program participants. Today I learned that that some of the participants come to Providence Farm as a part of their rehab from alcohol or drugs. Others have developmental or mental disabilities. Some are seniors.

When we all join together for morning coffee or for lunch, you never know who you'll sit at the table with. Hello, my name is so-and-so. New faces are immediately identified. "What brings you to Providence Farm?" "How long have you been coming here?" It is so welcoming and loving and non-judgmental. Today I was joined by a young couple with their four-month old baby who were just doing a tour of the Farm. I was finished my lunch first, so I offered to hold baby Henry so his dad could eat his burger with two hands. I could not have predicted I would hold a baby today.

It's an interesting thing, being in an environment where you encounter people from different walks of life. It is a great teaching of radical acceptance, and when we are all on this same level ground, there is only room for love. I think I mentioned before that I have felt like I was 'hugged' by the Farm. Today, while I was transplanting basil for the greenhouse, I felt overwhelmed by the feeling of love that the Farm exudes, and I was mindful of what an awesome (and I mean 'awesome' not in the contemporary diluted sense, but the former meaning of feeling awe) feeling that was. There have not been many places in this world where I have felt that.

That's one of the things I like about Providence Farm, you check your prejudices at the door, everyone is accepted, everyone is respected. We all have gifts to offer and roles to play. I spent most of my time today transplanting baby basil plants into bigger pots, but really I was there engaging with community. Sometimes simply being present is all that is required.

Everyone we meet has something to teach us. The baby I held today taught me that it's okay to spend ten minutes bouncing for the sheer delight of someone else. The recovering addict taught me that we can always improve ourselves no matter what is going on in our lives. The First Nations lady I spoke to today taught me that family is important. The silent man with Downs Syndrome who followed me around for four hours today taught me that - what? I don't know. It was mildly flattering. He did not say a word today, and maybe that was the lesson. It's okay to be silent. In the space that that silence takes up, my own healing happens.

1 comment:

  1. today I learned that sometimes the most "ordinary citizens" are living a secret life. They are difficult to understand and easy to hate. Just because it's easy to not like someone, doesn't mean you've got a good reason. Our "comfort zone" protects us and make us foolish.