Overcoming Obstacles with Inspiration

St. Matt's Community   -  

Every day I challenge myself. It helps me keep growing despite a rare medical condition and learning needs that make talking and expressing my thoughts tricky sometimes. My top three passions—education, hockey, and singing—are key.

Coaching and education put me in different situations that help me develop new skills and ways of connecting with people. Singing relieves my stress and helps me connect with God and other members of my faith family at St. Matthew’s.

As an educational assistant with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) I work with students who have severe to high-risk physical disabilities and varying learning needs. Their smiles and unexpected witty retorts make my day. Helping them become more independent and seeing them develop friendships in an integrated setting are the highlights of my job.

My dad introduced me to hockey, and Hailey Wickenheiser inspired me to improve my game. I made it to rep and now play in a league with former teammates. I also coach and train rep hockey teams, introduce students to hockey through the TDSB Hockey Academy, and help with Pink the Rink fundraising tournaments.

Anne Marie Page, a former minister for music at St. Matthew’s, introduced me to my third passion by inviting me to sing with her. When I sing, I always feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. Now I’m working on level four of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s voice program.

I’m thankful for my friendship with Anne Marie and two other people who influenced my love of God—Duncan Green and Susan Hurn.

Duncan, my grandfather, introduced my family to St. Matthew’s. He also introduced me to different ministries within the church that helped me get to know other members and better understand their faith stories.

One of these members, Susan, became a good friend. We shared a passion for singing and a desire to grow our faith. She believed in putting others first and that God’s love could be shared in different ways—like singing, outreach, Alpha, or a hug.

My friends and faith family—Kimberly Butler, Linda Dickson, Dawn Mercer, Deborah Hurn, Nancy Hurn, and Anne Marie—are a big part of my life and my faith. They offer different perspectives that help me grow. They’ve also helped me stay connected and cope with added challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. My life wouldn’t be the same without them. The way we support and care for each other is a great comfort.

My grandfather lived by Mathew 22: 36-40: “‘Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?’  Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law.”

I try to live by this verse every day.

By Emily Crump