I’m trying to warm up after a 5:15 morning walk with a dear friend. I’ve been checking e-mails and just received the good news about a grant proposal being accepted for PNC. Yes! And just last night a group of new friends announced they had taken up an offering for us- an offering that reflects loving generosity. Yes, again! As I sit by the fire in my living room I am struck by the gratitude I feel that, at the end of a crazy year, PNC is still here. We have weathered many storms and are not looking just tattered and torn, but hope-full. On more than a few occasions I have said (and will continue to say), “there is beauty arising from the ashes”.

At this time last year another dear friend shared an Advent reading that has proven to be a constant source of great encouragement. One part says this:

Think of the seed. We commit it to the darkness. And a new plant emerges thanks to what O’Donohue calls ‘the ancient symmetry of growth: root further into darkness and rise towards the sun.’

This is so powerfully embodied in the great poise of the trees. ‘A life that wishes to honour its own possibility has to learn too how to integrate the suffering of dark and bleak times into a dignity of presence. Letting go of old forms of life, a tree practices hospitality towards new forms. It balances perennial energies of winter and spring within its own living bark.

A dignity of presence. I love that. I love that PNC has been able to urge our roots deeper, spill into the streets, learn to rely on God for our daily bread and find a new way. I am learning SO much about trusting God in each moment. Without fail, when the bank account has dipped to a bad place, there is either just enough money in my pocket or someone else says, “I will take care of it”; when there is little food in the pantry we get a donation; when we need a space to run a program another organization says “here, use this space”. I have desired to be open and attuned to the possibility that God might say it is time to close the doors. All these happenings though say the exact opposite: stay open, I am with all of you.

The PNC community is rising up. With humble gratitude I say, thanks.

To all who mourn he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair…they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory (Isaiah)