“I’ve been to several different churches across Ontario. At most churches, when I wheel my way in, the people are always friendly, but guarded, and somehow there always seems to be a barrier. Truth is, I’m different.
It’s not that I am poor in the socioeconomical sense; I have enough money to provide for myself. But for the most part, I am stuck in this wheelchair, and that makes many people feel uncomfortable. So people are always nice, but they just can’t see past the fact that I am different, and that prevents people from getting to know who I really am.
And then I heard about Sanctuary London. I was nervous, but within seconds of coming through the front doors, I was greeted and introduced to many friendly faces, and it didn’t just stop there. I was invited to join in on a game of euchre, and before long we were sharing life together. I was welcomed as one who belonged. Much more than accepted – I feel wanted!
What I’ve come to learn is that we all face challenges. Some struggle financially, some struggle with addictions or housing issues; most of us struggle relationally and with loneliness. The point is: we all struggle. I think the difference at Sanctuary is that the people here seem to intimately understand the pain of exclusion, and they understand how their social circumstances create barriers to their inclusion in society – just like me.
But, when we stop hiding our struggles, we can finally start to get to know one another, and we begin to recognize that we’re really not that different after all!”