Opportunity of a Lifetime

“Faith is taking the first step when you can’t see the whole staircase”~ MLK

“Regardless of what we go through in life, there is always purpose wrapped within the pain. It all boils down to this~every triumph and tragedy in my life has served as preparation to stand firm in the moment to take what many perceive as an unbearable circumstance and impact the lives of others”~ OJ Brigance

Two quotes that just happened to cross my path in preparation for a phone call I didn’t quite know was coming. I have been continuing to advocate for better services and care for my family. This is now my third and most challenging case. Am I a social worker? Not technically. Am I a therapist? Not technically. Am I a case manager? Not technically. Nope, I am a mother. I have learned a few things through the years in hopes of helping others-but never anything official…until a chance phone call & meeting.

In an ongoing effort to have appropriate care for my son, I found myself sitting at a round table with every county agency involved in mental health care. I was there because it took pouring out of myself and going out on a limb to get my voice heard. I can’t say I was the least bit comfortable but within me there was a burning fire that I could not quench. A determination to see that my family would be able to access the specialized resources we desperately need.

Then an opportunity came-an advocacy agency (also at this round table) wanted to put me through training to be able to better advocate, not only for my family, but for others in need. “When the dust settles, let us know.” That burning fire within me grew. I went home to talk to my husband, then my father, then a few close friends that have supported&encouraged me over the past few years. Everyone said go for it!! I let a few weeks pass, then the latest gun control debate pushed me over the edge. The policy makers are not treating the root of the problem-the state of mental health care (better put the lack of it).

The issue-taking a risk. I have been forewarned that the training is intense. The training is provided on the weekends, but I have to travel&stay overnight (Friday evening to Saturday late afternoon)-the advocacy agency has offered to sponsor me, including paying for the hotel&meals. I will be given a huge binder&flash drive. I will have homework. The risk-I am still working full time, still running a household, still advocating for my own,….I already have a full plate. But to have come this far….

This is the second chance I’ve had at this. But never on this big of a level. How can I let this pass when it has been my passion to see those in need have access to the resources&help to better their lives? More&more people have come across my path that either don’t know where to begin or what questions to ask. The burning fire will not stop.

So, tomorrow I send off my formal application. Oh, that phone call-was the President of the program (State level) calling to say she had heard about me (on the county level)&was hoping that I would apply for the program.

My simple treasure is an igniting passion to no longer talk about change but an opportunity to be a voice for change brought about by circumstances that I thought would bring me to my knees….and it did…but not for long 😉

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