Healing Garden.

The opening ceremonies for the Healing Garden behind the Salvation Army Centre of Hope were held Saturday June 13, 2009. It was an opportunity for local politicians to speak and for thanks to be expressed to those who had donated funds or materials to this project.

While the homeless truly appreciate these donations, we know that without Dave Darbey this area would still be patchy grass and weeds. It was Dave who, looking at patchy grass and weeds, saw what could be. It was Dave Darbey and Judy Williams who lavished the hours and sweat equity into the garden.

Others may have come alongside from time to time to contribute labour, but it was Dave and Judy who were the common denominators as the ponds and cascading water flows were dug with pick and shovel under the blazing sun last summer; as the piles of soil and rock disappeared wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow out of the store parking lot, around the building and into the garden area; as throughout the cold and wet of winter the garden continued to take shape; as places for greenhouse and seating were dug out of the hillsides during the rain and cold of the winter; as that greenhouse produced plants this spring; as over time pant materials were planted; as the Healing Garden was brought to life.

While the homeless may have questioned the sanity (or lack thereof) of Dave and Judy, there was never any question about the labour and love they poured into the Healing Garden to bring it to bloom.

It is because of this labour of love that the Healing Garden is a place of healing. Sitting there listening to the sound of water as it tumbles musically over the stones into the pond one can feel the stress wash away; seeking/finding peace, perhaps even serenity, as the love and good will lavished on creating the Healing Garden touch wounded/battered Spirits.

The official opening does not mean that, as in other public gardens, the Healing Garden is completed. Rather, it merely marks a point in the life of the Garden. Dave Darbey’s vision is not of a static, finished garden but of a garden that, like Life, flows and changes with the seasons and the passage of time.

It is this continual progression and growth, the additional investment of sweat equity and care, which will continue to make this space a Healing Garden.

It is in the example of Dave Darbey and Judy Williams that the possibility of making Abbotsford a Healing Community, a transcendent place to heal, recover and live lies revealed.

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