Work in Progress

I dreamed of becoming a famous author when I was in elementary school. That dream never diminished until I got to college and realized how rare it was for someone to actually make a living as an author—and especially for one to become famous. I altered my expectations of the future, but still hoped that one day I’d become a published author.

While I have had several poems published, I’ve still yet to publish a book. The last few years most of my writing has been for my blog, in my journal or the occasional poem. Sometimes I think I’m at peace not writing anymore, and other times I wonder if I should go back to all my works in progress and keep the dream alive. It does feel a bit daunting as I have A LOT of works in progress and ideas floating around for even more novels.

As I was thinking about it again the other day, I realized that life is a work in progress. The novel isn’t finished until we die. There’s always another sentence, another paragraph, another chapter to write and work on. Sadly, we can’t go back and change, alter or even delete any of those chapters in life like I could with my would-be novels. That’s what makes life a work in progress, and I think that’s part of what’s encouraging about it. We can make mistakes, or we might not develop our character like we wish we would have. Maybe the plot needs a turn. We can make those things happen! The next paragraph can be about change, growth and redemption. The next chapter can be about the obstacles overcome getting back to the path we want to be on. C.S. Lewis said, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Never think it’s too late. Just because you can’t go back and change something, doesn’t mean you can’t learn and grow from it. We are all works in progress, and as daunting as that seems sometimes it is also what makes life beautiful.


Making a Dent

Have you ever read a book and thought, “Wow, the author did not research that topic well at all!” It could be things that were left out, brushed over or pieces that never did add up. One subject where I feel like authors often don’t do research or show a lack of understanding and education is with mental illness. No matter what I’m reading, I feel like I can generally tell when an author has had experience with mental illness—whether their own or someone else close to them—or is well-educated in it and those who haven’t and aren’t. Those who aren’t often write in stigmas and stereotypes that can be false, can be hurtful and actively work against people who are trying to get help for mental illness.

Some examples include deeming any character with mental illness as “crazy” or stating that a character who is “crazy” must have mental illness. I’ve seen both of these in multiple books. Can you imagine how damaging it can be to someone who is struggling with mental illness to read a book where someone like them is described as “crazy” and written off because of it, or is considered the “bad guy” because of it?

Another example is the flippant way suicide is joked about or addressed. I know the pain and darkness that comes from getting to such a low place you feel your only option is to end it all. I know how it feels to tell yourself you are so worthless the world would be better off without you. Unless you have gone through that utter darkness and loneliness, have been close with someone who has or are a professional or have done plenty of research on it you probably shouldn’t be writing about it—just like I would never write a historical fiction based in a time period I’m unfamiliar with.

I was recently reading a book where mental illness was addressed in a way that felt like the author didn’t have experience with it and hasn’t done research on it. While I chose not to get offended (I’m sure the author didn’t realize what they were doing) and will continue reading books from this author because I really like them, I was saddened by it. It can be frustrating and disheartening to see just how many stigmas, stereotypes and lack of education are still around and being perpetuated in a variety of ways.

And that is why I keep writing here on my blog. As frustrating and disheartening as it was it also inspired me to keep writing, to keep trying. If I can make even a tiny dent in the wall of stereotypes, stigmas and lack of education, maybe it will make enough of a difference to one other person to make a dent, who will make a difference with one other person who will make a dent, and eventually we’ll have a domino effect that takes the wall down completely.

Messy Yard, Messy Life

A couple of nights ago a large group of neighbors/members of my church congregation came to help with my yard. For multiple reasons, it’s an absolute mess. A lot of the grass died and weeds galore took over. I’ve been extremely stressed and overwhelmed about how to handle it and what to do about it.

I sort of feel like my yard is a metaphor for my life. The last four months my life has been a mess of weeds and scorched grass that has felt overwhelming and beyond repair at times. From a distance it looks semi-okay, but upon closer inspection I can see all the things that aren’t how they should be.

I was talking to one neighbor about the intended purpose for a certain part of the yard and how I didn’t know what to do about it now. He gave some sage wisdom by telling me that I didn’t need to try to get it all done at once. He said he’d been working on his yard for twenty years and it still wasn’t done.

Isn’t that life? We can work on it for years and years and years and still have more to do, learn from, grow into. There have been times when my yard has looked great. The grass has been green, the flowers have bloomed beautifully, the trees have been full and provided shade in the heat of the summer. And now it’s a mess. Sometimes our lives are full, blooming and beautiful, but that doesn’t mean the work is done or that it will stay that way forever. Life happens. Just like windstorms, droughts and construction beat up my yard that once looked so nice, unexpected difficulties in life also beat me up, have stressed me out and, at times, overwhelmed me. But with work and help I know I can get back to a place where I feel good again.

The amazing people who helped with my yard made the biggest difference! They weeded, prepped and helped with new landscaping. It already looks a million times better. They helped me see that just because something is a mess now, doesn’t mean it will stay a mess forever. We just have to keep working on it and allowing others to help us as we go.

A Tale of Two Marriages

Quite some time ago I asked my husband if he’d write something for my blog. He asked if he could write about the difference between someone who takes steps to help with their mental health and someone who doesn’t. I thought it was a great idea. It took him a long time to finally write it and give it to me, in part, he said, because he felt like a hypocrite writing it because he had left his own depression and trauma unchecked and unhealed. He had purposefully ignored his own mental health, which has caused many difficulties, especially in the past few months—including losing his job and not being able to be in our home currently. He does see it now, and said he hopes he can take his own advice from here on out. I see him already taking his advice and taking many steps toward dealing with his mental health and trying to learn from and heal from immense trauma he’s gone through during childhood and adulthood. I appreciate him following through with writing this, as I appreciate the effort he is making right now.

“Do or do not, there is no try.” Many of us recognize those words spoken by the weird little Muppet, Yoda, in the popular Star Wars movies. The sentence expresses a concrete black-and-white view of an action; you either succeed or fail. Trying isn’t noteworthy, nor does trying, in itself, guarantee success. One is either able to do something or they aren’t, and that’s all that matters. The outcome of the success or failure yields entirely different results. Only the Do (success) or Do Not (failure) matters.

While I normally try not to give much validity to thinking in terms of black and white, there’s one area of my life where I wholeheartedly agree with the creepy little dude: marriage involving mental illness. In my experience, the Do or Do Not of seeking professional help and improvement in our mental health are all that matters and is the crux of a successful or failed marriage. Feel free to read the rest of this in the voice of Yoda if it helps.

In a study I read and verified by professional therapists, more than 70% of marriages include one or both spouses exhibiting one of the varied mental health concerns available in the “Life is Hard Supermarket” checkout lanes. Many include anxiety, depression or trauma while others include more destructive forms of mental illness such as Borderline, Narcissistic or Bipolar Personality Disorders. Not one to be left out of the fun (yes, I veil my emotions in sarcasm), my first marriage was to a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with me exhibiting Depression, Battered Spouse Syndrome and Addiction. I am now married to a woman who has been diagnosed with Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and also PTSD, while still maintaining my own perpetual subscriptions of Depression and Addiction. While I could write a whole other post (or novel) on just how my own mental illnesses affected my marriages, I would like to evaluate here how the outcomes of my two marriages were affected by spouses who chose differently when faced with the Do or Do Not options of seeking help and improvement in their mental health.

In 2009, after almost a decade of increasing strain in my first marriage, I reached a point of despair. I didn’t understand why I felt so badly about my marriage, and I struggled to understand what we were doing so wrong. My then wife, we’ll call her Cathy, often tried enlightening me of what she thought I was doing wrong, and I felt our conversations and arguments only ever ended in more confusion and increased strain. For the first time in my life I felt we needed professional help in the form of marriage counseling. It took months of convincing and desperate exasperation, followed by an eventual ultimatum, before Cathy begrudgingly agreed to attend counseling with me. The first few sessions with the therapist were spent getting to know us and working through diagnoses and multiple lengthy assessments. The 25-year veteran of mental health diagnosed Cathy with “off the charts” trauma, Borderline Personality Disorder and “the worse case of PTSD” he had ever seen. He also diagnosed me with Depression and Battered Spouse Syndrome while planning to address my addiction through individual counseling.

In light of the diagnosis, Cathy declared the therapist incompetent and useless, vowing never to go back. She made her choice of “Do Not” and carried through on her promise to never seek help, despite my pleadings over the ensuing months and years. Her behaviors of ignoring her mental health and disbelieving her mental illnesses only grew stronger and more determined. She refused to believe anything could be “wrong” with her. I sought help and therapy, but Cathy refused to. Our marriage continued to decline. We both suffered. Our children suffered. We both died slowly as our connection was destroyed. The rift between us grew too wide and the painful marriage came to an end in 2016 when I filed for divorce after nearly committing suicide.

I don’t believe, nor will ever say, that our failed marriage was solely Cathy’s fault. I certainly contributed. Yet I often wonder how different our marriage could have been had we both successfully embraced the idea of healing and improving our mental health. I know my own shortcomings and mental illness added to the demise of our marriage, though to what extent I do not know. While it’s impossible to ascertain that, I do have a pretty amazing comparative case study that gives some incredible insight into what can be if the “Do” instead of the “Do Not” option is chosen.

I met Tacy in 2018, and from the start, she was open with me about her mental health struggles. Diagnosed with mental illness as a teenager, she has spent much of her life trying to reduce the stigma around mental illnesses while advocating for mental health. This blog, just one of her many efforts to encourage us all to better our mental health, shows Tacy’s willingness and desire to improve. Throughout our dating years and into our marriage the topic of mental health was discussed frequently. At the time we met, Tacy was not participating in professional therapy or counseling. She worked for years to find ways to manage and improve her mental health and spent time in those activities often. She felt her mental state improving over time and became more confident in her ability to manage her mental illness without professional counseling or medication. All of that changed, however, when we married and I brought a slew of new challenges with me that strained our marriage from the start and aggravated the triggers of her depression, anxiety and OCD, as well as my own mental illnesses.

The first year of our marriage was riddled with extreme difficulty, enough to thoroughly destroy both our mental health. As we each struggled, our difficulties became more profound as our anxieties, fear and baggage were triggered and fed by both our poor communication habits. Our mental health rapidly declined as we felt the other just seemed to want to beat on a droid with a stick rather than help. (Another Star Wars reference . . . feel free to roll your eyes.) After months of trying to force our way through it all (not a Star Wars pun), our marriage was on the brink of collapse.

I decided we needed to try professional help and/or medication. I knew I loved Tacy enough that I couldn’t give up until we had exhausted every effort. When I first broached the subject of seeking help with her, she informed me of her history with prescribed mental health medication. In short, it sucks tremendously for her. Her body rejects it faster than Luke rejects Leia after learning she’s his sister (ugh, I can’t help myself). Restless legs, sleepless nights and nausea are all just the base symptoms, not including the upgrades. And yet, despite already know this, Tacy loved me enough to try again. For months, she suffered through those difficulties, trying various medications with little or no positive effect on her mental health. Her act of trying meant so much to me. I started therapy to work on my own issues, and Tacy exercised her love for me by continuing to look for ways to improve her mental health, too. Her choices bolstered our marriage enough to keep us going.

After recognizing the suffering she endured on medication, I encouraged Tacy to stop taking it and look into professional therapy instead. Her previous experiences in counseling, both in her youth and in her previous marriage, left her wary of it’s efficacy. I became distraught at the thought of another spouse not taking steps to improve her mental health, terrified that I would, once again, be alone in my battle against the effects of mental illness on our marriage. I think Tacy sensed my despair, and she once again exercised love for me and agreed to seek professional therapy with me in the form of marriage counseling.

Holy crap, it did not go well. Much like Luke’s failed attempt to raise his ship from the swamp (I swear I’ve watched other movies!), our attempt at marriage counseling actually made things worse. It would have been easy for Tacy to point out that failure, to use it as proof she tried or that we were beyond hope or to simply stopped trying. She could have easily pointed out my own mental illnesses, put the burden on me alone, or deny her part in our difficulties. But she didn’t. She accepted she had things that needed to be addressed. She accepted that she had areas she could improve in, and she continued to show her love for me.

Tacy found another therapist for herself and we both started making progress in our individual therapy. Through trial and, I believe, divine intervention, she discovered EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and ART (Accelerated Resolution Therapy), both of which have far surpassed expectations in their ability to help her. Both of us working on our mental health compounded the healing effect as we asked each other about our sessions, encouraging each other and holding one another accountable. This compounded effect is more potent than we can achieve in our individual journeys. It takes finding the right tools and treatments, built on the acknowledgment and loving desire to improve, both for our spouse/significant other and ourselves. The simple, yet not at all simple, difference between my marriages came down to the Do or Do Not choice and my spouse’s response to it. Despite additional, extremely severe difficulties recently thrust upon us by my mental illnesses, our marriage has steadily improved and I find myself eager for the marriage I’ve always dreamed of.

We, as a society, need to get over the idea that struggling with mental health means there’s something “wrong” with us or that we’re “bad.” Those thoughts hinder healing. If your car starts sputtering do you immediately think it’s bad and give up on it? Or do you even hesitate to take it to the mechanic? What about if you have severe abdominal pain? Do you hide it away in shame or immediately seek professional help? Why does our mental health deserve any less care or concern? We don’t even need to feel broken to seek a tune-up.

Addressing mental health is often very difficult. Simply agreeing to work on our mental health does not mean it won’t take work, patience, trial and error or be pain free. Every marriage/relationship has problems, differences and difficulties that must be worked through. And addressing our mental health successfully is not a magic button or fix for all our problems. We must recognize those things and dedicate ourselves to whatever “Do” is needed.

I could continue to make Star Wars-themed analogies and anecdotes, but they’re beginning to feel forced (pun intended). I do not dismiss my role in my marriages, I only wish to extend an invitation to reflect upon how our mental health and our willingness to improve it can affect our marriage and other relationships. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “We cannot go back and change the beginning, but we can start where we are and change how it ends.” If we find ourselves struggling, let’s not hesitate to seek what we can do to improve rather than simply sit back and let the outcome determine itself. Don’t wait. Do or Do Not, there is no try.

One-legged Avocet

Last week I went birding on Antelope Island. Besides the dark clouds that made lighting terrible, it was a good day with a variety of birds spotted, and even a coyote I got some good pictures of. As I was driving on the causeway off of the island, I spotted hundreds of American avocets. I stopped to take pictures when I noticed an avocet that only had one leg. I observed for awhile as this single bird with one leg hopped about, using its wings as help, to get from one place to another. It seemed to stand/balance on it’s one leg just fine and was integrated with the other avocets. Integrated, a part of, yet still different and dealing with a disability.

I thought about how lately I’ve felt like a one-legged avocet, still living life among everyone else, doing my best to get along—and surviving, yes—yet also struggling as I do things differently. On the outside it might seem like I’m like everyone else, but I often feel so alone, dealing with things that no one around me has gone through. I have no one to turn to for help or guidance, no one who understands. I’m among the other avocets, but with one leg, hopping from place to place, standing, balancing, and most of the time I really am okay, but sometimes the boulder on top of me weighs me down, threatening to crush me. I don’t let it. God doesn’t let it. He helps me. He’s there. So is the boulder.

The thing is, I bet a lot of people around me who look like normal, two-legged avocets—or normal two-legged people—feel like the one-legged avocet, too. They are among everyone else, seemingly getting along fine, when really they are going through something too. They may have a boulder on top of them. They may be living in the rubble of bombs that keep going off. They may feel alone. They may not have anyone else around who understands. Yet, somehow, remembering this, helps me to feel less alone. It reminds me that there can be connection even when we aren’t going through the same things. Empathy isn’t about understanding or knowing what it’s like. It’s simply about loving and being there for someone no matter what. Maybe—just maybe—we are all like the one-legged avocet. And more alike than we think.

Running to Stand Still

I used to live in the red rock country of southern Utah. I used to live in the golden Book Cliffs of eastern Utah. I used to live in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. The desert flows through my veins. I drove through desert a couple of weeks ago, and it reminded me just how much I miss it. So I wrote this poem.

Running to Stand Still
by Tacy Gibbons

I’ve spent my whole life running to stand still.
Muscles aching, out of breath,
I search, hunger, yearn.
Seek where to sink my roots.

I plant myself in the desert,
dry, parched, red earth,
and raise my arms like Joshua trees in supplication.

I find peace
even in the driest of lands.

God whispers on the winds
of weathering and erosion,
brings me to my feet and tells me
I can stand still even while running.

Celebrating Differences

Having a son with autism has taught me so much. One of the things I appreciate the most has been learning just how important it is not just to learn about and understand differences, but to actually accept, respect and celebrate them. This belief was reinforced just recently.

A couple of weeks ago I took my kids to a dinner show, where a woman with her own kids (much younger than mine) got angry at my eleven-year-old autistic son for having bad manners. I told her he was autistic to which she promptly replied that she had several family members who were autistic and that she was a teacher who had worked with many autistic children and ALL of them had manners. It was a very frustrating interaction with someone who believes in blanket statements and sameness. Despite her claims she didn’t seem to understand that it’s called a “spectrum” for a reason—because it’s so different for everyone who has it.

One of the reasons I was so saddened by what happened was not just because she showed ignorance about autism and was judging my son—and me—but because it showed her belief in sameness. It’s the belief that everyone should fit into a box and be exactly the way we think they should be. Anyone who doesn’t meet those expectations we have for them is bad or wrong or horrible and should be judged, condemned and corrected.

I have seen this with mental illness/health. One person is helped by medication, so they think everyone should take medication. Anyone who doesn’t is stupid. Others strongly believe in only natural remedies and condemn all who want to give medication a try. It’s the belief that because yoga and diet cured my depression it will absolutely, without a doubt, cure yours. This woman supposedly knew many autistic people who had good manners which meant that ALL people with autism can and should have them as well. Any who don’t need to be judged, condemned and corrected.

I believe this is one of the worst falsehoods we can perpetuate. This belief that everyone and everything should be exactly the same (whatever that “same” is in our mind) leads to things like racism, bigotry, hate, exclusion. It doesn’t leave any room for diversity, love, kindness, acceptance, inclusion, learning or growth.

I know I have, at times, been guilty of this, too. I’m grateful for my son for helping to change my perspective. I know he will likely have to deal with people like this woman his whole life. I spoke with both my kids about it—about the importance of not expecting everyone to be exactly the same. We are all different. That’s one of the great things about life! We all have different struggles, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Because of that we are all equipped to help others in different ways, just like we are able to learn from others in different ways.

As I continue to learn and grow, I hope I will remember this lesson and the importance of not only being okay with, but celebrating differences.

Real Life Experiences

I love when real life experiences can teach us valuable lessons. It’s one of the best ways I learn. I had such an example earlier this week.

My kids and I were on a long drive to a destination for spring break. The drive was going great and we were making good time. Despite a slight detour that only added maybe 10-15 minutes to our drive it looked like we were going to arrive even earlier than I’d expected. Then things went sideways real fast—or maybe I should say real slow.

Traffic on the freeway came to a sudden stop. For the next 2 ½ hours we barely crawled along the freeway (only went about 6 miles in this time) because of a crash that had shut down a part of the road. Eventually, we got to a point where the freeway was still closed and we were detoured back the way we had come! We had to get off and head in the opposite direction on a tiny two-lane highway in the middle of nowhere. Because so many other people were doing the same thing the highway was clogged and also went very slowly. It took us another two hours to finally get back onto the freeway, only about 5 miles south of where we had gotten off.

Much of this journey was very stressful and frustrating. We needed to go to the bathroom. We were hungry. We were tired and needed to sleep. We should have gotten to our destination around 6:00 PM, but ended up not getting there until around 11:00 PM. It wasn’t all bad, though. Some of the journey was fun, too. We rocked out to music. We told jokes. We laughed. We had interesting conversations. At one point I did almost break down and cry from the stress and anxiety of it all, but decided I wanted to be a good example to my kids that even when things go wrong you keep going. And we did keep going. We did make it to our destination.

I thought about how this parallels my own life recently. I was on this path in life that was going great. I knew where I was headed and knew how to get there. Then things went sideways real fast. I had to take a detour that has taken me on a new path that looks very, very different than the one I was on. Sometimes it has been stressful and frustrating. It has definitely been a difficult journey. But there have also been good things. I have learned and grown so much because of this new path I’m on. I’ve still had joy and happiness. I’ve laughed. I’ve loved. And I know I will make it to my destination. It may be in a different way. It may take longer than I thought it would. But I know I will make it, just like we made it to our destination for spring break. Since then, we’ve done so many fun things and have made some great memories! I have hope and faith that my new destination in life will also, eventually, be full of fun and produce amazing memories.

What have your real-life experiences teach you? I’m so incredibly grateful for mine.

Belief and Mental Health

For some people, mental health is enhanced by religion. For others it may not be. Only the person going through it can judge for themselves. For me, my beliefs in my religion have been one of my greatest assets. I can say in all honesty that I wouldn’t be here if it were for my them. My belief in God and Christ has saved me, and it helps bolster up my mental health.

I’m not one of those people who believes everything happens for a reason. I do believe we can get something out of what life throws at us. Everything we go through can help us learn and grow, if we choose to let it. I don’t believe in a God whose pulling all the strings, but I do believe He does sometimes intervene. I have seen His hand in my life before. Sometimes it has come through my own feelings or intuition, sometimes certain circumstances or opportunities that have arisen, and sometimes it has been through other people. I had one of those experiences last week.

I was in the produce section of the grocery store when a woman approached me and told me she loved my jacket. It’s an official Shinedown jacket with the logo to their Planet Zero album on the front and some lyrics from the song Daylight on the back. “Have Faith That You’re Not Alone” I recently wrote a post about how much that song means to me. I love wearing the jacket, not just because it’s warm and comfortable, but because of the reminder. It’s special to me. This woman also found it special and inspirational, and I’m so grateful she chose to tell me.

That wasn’t the end, though. She asked what the story behind it was, so I told her and before I knew it we were talking like old friends who had always had a connection. Writing about it here can’t, and doesn’t, aptly describe just how amazing it felt to connect with this stranger on such a deep level. We both shared personal things about struggles we were going through and found understanding and connection. I told her, at some point, that sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger about those kinds of things than someone you know.

Almost a week later, and we’re no longer strangers. We traded information and have been texting ever since then. She has been a huge blessing in my life already. Being able to talk with someone who understands some of my struggles helps. Having someone who simply trusts me and my decisions helps. That is huge for my mental health. And it’s all because of my jacket. Because of Shinedown. Because of a song. Because of what that song means to me because of my husband. It’s because of God. I know—I know—that this woman and I were meant to meet and become friends. Knowing that God is aware of me and looking out for me helps me. I have seen so many blessings and had so many angels in my life the last couple of months. Despite how hard things have been my mental health is actually okay. Yes, there has been some added anxiety and depression, but considering what’s happened and where I’m at, I think I’m doing pretty good.

I know everyone is different. What helps and doesn’t help is different for everyone. In my story, my religion, my faith and my beliefs are a huge support and an enormous part of the reason why I’ve had the strength to get through. That gives me peace. And I need that. We all need peace. Where have you found peace? What helps you with your mental health?

Faith in Humanity Restored

Sometimes we need our faith in humanity restored. At least I do. The past couple of months it has been hard not to focus on people who judge, condemn and selfishly choose to hurt others. I have seen a lot of that lately. Luckily, I’ve also seen the good, so I’m trying harder to focus on that and find ways to be that good myself.

Last weekend I went on a solo birding trip to the Uintah Basin in Eastern Utah. Long story shorter, forty-five minutes out from my hotel, in this tiny town in the middle of nowhere, I stopped at this amazing steakhouse. I’ve been a couple other times and loved it, so I decided to stop again. Unfortunately, I locked my keys in my car. I realized as soon as I shut the door and was so upset with myself. I walked into the restaurant and told them what had happened, and several people who worked there immediately jumped in to help me.

First, they gave me the number for dispatch. I called and found out the police didn’t have the equipment to help. I was given the number to a locksmith, that didn’t work. The people in the restaurant helped me try to find one, but there wasn’t one anywhere within a reasonable distance. Next, I was told to call an auto body shop, but it was closed as was the only other one remotely nearby.

I had no idea what I was going to do until one lady said she had broken into her car before and could try to help me. We went outside in the cold and snow armed with a knife and fly swatter. Go ahead, laugh. I’m laughing right now thinking about it. No, the knife and fly swatter didn’t work. But these people, these complete strangers, rallied behind me and said they were going to make sure I got my keys.

They told me to sit down and order, which I did. Half way through eating my meal one of the servers said a crew of people were out trying to get into my car. I asked if I should go help and she told me no, that they would take care of it.

Just after finishing my meal, someone came and handed me my keys! A mom had been called, as had a neighbor and a boyfriend. Between them all they were able to get my keys out. I was so amazed by the kindness of these strangers and the lengths they went through to make sure I had my keys back and could continue on my way. It reminded me that even though there are selfish, uncaring people in the world, there are also good people.

I got another reminder the day I got home from my trip. Life has been so incredibly difficult the past couple of months. Part of the difficulty has been a huge financial burden. One of my neighbors selflessly brought by some fresh eggs from her chickens. It was so thoughtful. And then again, I went to get my haircut yesterday from a wonderful neighbor. After she had finished and I went to pay her she told me she wanted to do something nice for me and wouldn’t take my money. I got emotional at the incredibly kind gesture that meant so much and really is a great help. I started thinking of all the people who have been there for me and helped in various ways the past few months—family, friends, neighbors, members of my church congregation. I truly feel like these people have been angels on earth to me. I have needed them, and they have blessed me. They have also inspired me to try to be like them. I, too, want to be part of the group who sees beyond their own struggles and reaches out to love and help others. My faith in humanity has been restored.