As with most of life, the spores of The-Dream.us were dispersed throughout my life and survived, as spores so naturally do, throughout the many years of my life. The essay itself emerged in the early years of this century, shortly after I turned 50. The words remained sequestered as bits and bytes on my computer waiting patiently for a method of escape. That path is this website.
I believe in the episodic life. I have come to this place through life’s circuitous path…you know, the one that gets us to where we are meant to be, even though we never intended it to be our destination. I began my career attempting to become an engineer, but was captured by a love of mathematics. I followed that with four years as a teacher. In discovering that it was not my calling, I earned an MBA and tried to become a captain of business and consultant, only to face my general disinterest in Western-style management. In the midst of the chaos of those years, I dedicated a great deal of my energy and passion to building community in, Batavia, Illinois, the place I now refer to as home.
Somewhere along the way, a friend invited me to meet the Board of a local organization,Suicide Prevention Services of America. With a teenaged son about ready to venture off to college, I found myself in the midst of parents, many of whom lost sons and daughters to the scourge of suicide. In order to learn more, I accepted their 80-hour training program in return for 250 hours on the crisis line over the course of a year. Certainly I could stay one year. Nine years later, I have spent over 2000 hours on the line, many of those in the company of souls who find themselves at the lowest point of their lives. The time spent on the line is sometimes gut-wrenching, but always life-affirming.
Another life-affirming path on my journey began when my daughter, as a sophomore in high school, joined Operation Snowball, a teen-led program that helps connect teens who want to live healthy lives. As a teen-led organization, a parent cannot be involved unless their son or daughter invites them. The moment she summoned me to Snowball, my life changed forever once again. In the intervening years, I have been seen and loved by many extraordinary young people; teens handed lives often too difficult to fathom… facing challenges beyond anything I have been asked to endure. They taught me how to come out the far side of the madness, wise, strong and inspiring. They often call me wise…I call them kind and generous. Along the way, we have lost several to the horrors of suicide. Those of us left behind had to hold each other through the loss and grief. And we did.
I do not come to this work as a trained professional, although much of what I know has been granted to me by so many. What I have learned on my journey, is that life chases life. We are meant to be here, we are meant to be here together. We are meant to survive the tragedies of life and arrive at the other side, arm-in-arm, in the midst of beauty, wisdom, and love beyond anything we might have imagined as we faced the darkness.
From the very beginning, I imagined this place to be a refuge of hope…a place we could hold each other through the loss and the grief, and come out on the other side together.
Thanks you for these few moments of your time.
I invite you to visit my blog to read more of what I ponder.