Yesterday, as I planned to write my first blog ever, I had a title “How to Keep your Cool in the Summer Heat” and I had notes about the pros and cons of summer. I had read and downloaded facts and figures about mental wellness and summer time heat. All very practical information, but anyone could have easily pieced together that blog. Instead I want to share with you when the unexpected happens in life. I arrived early for our Tuesday night Road to Recovery support group at the First Lutheran on Friendly Avenue. I set the chairs up in a circle and got out our tri-fold board of information. I had the sign in sheet ready to go. I glanced into the parking lot and my car was the only car in the parking lot. I sat there in the circle of chairs alone. I started to think…. what if no one comes……what does that say about me….. would I sit there by myself from 7:00 until 8:30???? To my relief slowly but surely people arrive. The room was full of chatter and everyone was settling into their seats, when the unexpected happened….people jumped up from their chairs and there were squeals of excitement. I turned to see a friendly face, one I had not seen for many weeks. Sue (name has been changed to protect group members identity) once a regular attendee was back! The reason Sue had been away is a story too long to tell in this blog but it also doesn’t really matter.
The group embraced her psychically and emotionally. We settled back into our seats and started group as we do every week. We did an ice breaker, introduced ourselves and went over the guidelines for group. As we opened up for sharing time, people shared how their week was going. People shared about improved relationships with family and changes in relationships with professionals (ie…new psychiatrist or therapist). Some shared sad news about the illness of a beloved pet or a disappointment they had experienced last week. But as each person spoke, they all took a moment to tell Sue how much her being a member of the group meant to each of them over the years. They shared stories of the impact Sue had made in each of their lives individually. Sue is the type of person who takes the time to connect with each person. Her calm spirit is reassuring. Two recovery tools Sue had brought to the group over the years had been the use of inspirational quotes and the practice of taking a moment at the end of each group to say one thing that we are grateful for in life. Sue has the lovely ability of keeping the group grounded.
As our time together came to an end last night, there was not a dry eye in the place. The room was filled with unconditional love and acceptance. What brings us together at the Tuesday night Road to Recovery support group is the common bond of having a mental health diagnosis but what keeps us coming back is something so special I can’t find the words to describe it. I wish everyone a week of wellness!