My Time with God’s Little Acre
People have been asking me for my opinion on the Vancouver Sun article regarding Jas Singh and God’s Little Acre. For those who haven’t read it – here it is
I met Jas through God’s Little Acre volunteer program when he was located in Surrey. I helped him with paperwork and organizational structure at the farm for about a year. In that year, I found him to be a very caring individual with a heart for people who need food security. His skills at motivating people to work for the good of others was inspiring and I was drawn to help him as best I could.
In that year I also discovered that he dreams bigger than his abilities and he doesn’t handle stress well…or at all. When things get stressful, he hides rather than dealing with it.
In the past, I and many others, knowing he had a problem of just disappearing when things got to tough for him to handle; would step up and cover for him and make sure that things got done. Over the years there have been many who have stepped in the gap to finish the jobs that he started and make sure that everyone was cared for and covered.
I stopped working with Jas last summer because he and I had a disagreement about how the situation around the food bank dispute was being handled and I couldn’t allow myself to be continually dragged into the drama of big ideas (good ideas) without proper structure or planning. I saw the situation at the farm as an unstable and risky business environment and didn’t feel I could support it. Jas and I discussed it and agreed to part ways. We parted as friends and without malice but I stopped promoting the farm or encouraging others to participate because I felt that things were not being managed in a sustainable way.
I continued to offer my personal help as a friend but I stopped asking others to join me and I stopped working at the farm as a volunteer.
When Jas moved to Chilliwack, I assisted him with his paperwork and wished him the best. Many people who deeply care for him and his wellbeing were worried about the lack of support he would find there but in his usual fashion, he chased his big dream and we all crossed our fingers and wished him well.
It now appears, based on this article, that things have unraveled in Chilliwack. I guess I could say “I told you so”. Many of his other friends also, sadly, predicted that this may not work well for him and I guess we could all feel self righteously gratified in being right but here’s the thing…
Friendship, to me, means that you support the people in your life to the best of your ability. It means you warn them honestly when you see the train coming but you also allow them to live their reality and their dream without repeatedly forcing your negative opinions down their throats.
If I disagree with the path you are taking and I love you, I will say my piece once and then I will continue to support you as you make the decisions about your life that you need to make, regardless of my opinion. (ok, to some of you I said it more than just once…)
This is the attitude that I continue to take with Jas Singh. I am proud to call him my friend. I love big dreamers. I love people who care about others and I love people who try their best to make the changes in the world that they want to see.
I recognize that his failure to deal with stress and his habit of disappearing when the shit hits the fan causes great problems to him, the farm and to those who interact with him and I am sorry for their situation. I believe that Jas suffers from depression and like any other untreated mental disorder, left unchecked, it will eventually cause the life of the sufferer and those around him to unravel. I am not a doctor and I have no way to properly assess if this is the situation but this is my observational belief.
I don’t leave my friends because they have an untreated mental condition. I continue to stand by them and I continue to stand by him. I will not do business with him as I find his condition leads him to be unreliable which goes again my business ethic but I will not withdraw my friendship or my support nor do I believe he is dishonest or malicious.
I feel very badly for the people who were not happy with the level of service they were promised and did not receive. If any of you joined this movement as a result of my personal encouragement and you feel you were misled please private message me and I will make the situation right.
My hope is that this exposure will help him to see that he needs help or treatment or a change of procedure or that he will accept some support from others and allow them to control the areas that he is unable to control so that his idea, which is still a very good idea, can continue to feed those in need.
I will never fault anyone for trying to do something about feeding the poor even if it turns out badly.
I hope that those who participated on any level will continue to try to do good and continue to support others who will step up and fill this gap.
It is very easy to let the negativity of failed attempts lead to a dry rot attitude about giving and trusting. Don’t let this color your determination to continue to help, perhaps not Jas directly but in some other way, continue to do what you set out to do in the first place – help those who need it.
Now those of us who are able to help Jas can do what he has always tried to do – help someone who has been kicked to the curb get the help he needs to stand again.
We should all be so lucky to have those kinds of friends. I hope to be that kind of friend. I wish all of you those kinds of friends and the ability to show and receive mercy when things don’t go as planned.
To Jas and all the dreamers like him, thank you for waking us up to the cause. Thank you for showing me how I can help. Thank you for dreaming big and encouraging me to do the same.
Failure is painful but sometimes it is what is needed for the real seed to gain root and grow into a tree.
Here’s to the seed that he planted in my heart. Jas may never sit under its shade but I will always be grateful for the time I spent learning about the needs and participating in attempts at solutions at God’s Little Acre.
Now lets all continue to plant seeds and grow trees.