We did our first support group last night at Knoxville Area Rescue Mission as part of the Launchpoint Program for the homeless “mentally ill.” We left feeling blessed for having been there.
They talked about how their lives had gotten messed up. They talked about a system that often saw them as trash to be viewed with suspicion and to be avoided and to be looked at with blind eyes.
And even though they had been victimized in countless ways I heard no one call themselves a victim. Mainly we talked about courage.
They were struggling to hold on to the idea that life was more than hard things. As part of Launchpoint they were all involved with many tasks to help bring their lives in order. Sometimes though hope made no sense. And courage seemed beyond reach. But yet they all viewed courage as a necessity of daily living. After listening to them I told them that didnt realize how courageous they really were.
They talked about how without courage they had no hope. Even the smallest changes took fortitude and grit. They talked about how sometimes the system seemed intent on breeding the courage out of them and how much they appreciated being told they could be in charge of their own life.
They thought maybe it was a chicken and egg question. Did hope give courage or does courage help you to find hope. Like many either/or questions the answer is yes. Hope does give courage and courage helps you to find hope. The neatest thing was to see how real this was for people whose life was so limited in many ways. It reinforces so strong. Recovery is and can be so real. We are not just our conditions. All of us are authored in many ways, but for all of us we still have the capacity to author.
I was so much better off for having been there. I wish you could have been.