This is the 4000th post on this blog. Hopeworks Community started in November 2008. As of this morning 5947 people follow this blog.
I don’t know in the scheme of things it has really mattered much but in this sound bite flavor of the day world I don’t know how much has really mattered. I have had my prejudices and tried to be open about them. I think ordinary people can and do matter. I think justice matters. I think kindness matters. I think courage matters.
Hopeworks has been about everything. It has changed because I have changed. At one time or another it has talked about mental health, recovery, treatment, stigma, diagnosis, medication, suicide and virtually every mental health topic you can talk about. It has talked about life : marriage, meaning, faith, hope and love. It has talked more in the last couple of years about health care reform. In the last couple of years it has also been more about advocacy at all levels.
There have been stories and songs, some poems and rants about many subjects. I have shared things others have written that I thought were important. The only criteria really has been that it interested me. I am sure there are changes ahead.
I have tried to be honest even when it didn’t seem like a good idea. Much has been about Linda. My love for her has been the one constant in my life and if I was to only have one success I hope that is it.
I don’t know this has always been a really intelligent space. I am not much for big words and writing long things bore me. I am proud of many things I have written. I am dismayed by more than I want to be. I never know what people will like. Many things I thought important were read by basically no one. Some of the most widely read posts were thrown together in 5 or 10 minutes.
Many people have been far too kind to me. They have shared stories they allowed me to share. They have said good things and told me Hopeworks mattered at times I was not sure anything mattered. Even people who thought I was dumb or stupid have largely said so in kind ways.
Hope has always been very important to me. I wish I was more hopeful than I am. Tragedy has come to my life in recent years and at times seems the only inescapable reality. Perhaps hope and optimism are not the same thing and persistence is a kind of hope of its own. I don’t know.
I started because I thought I had something to say worth saying. I thought on the 4000th post I would surely have something wise to say but if I ever did sometime in the last 7 years I probably said it.
In the end much just seems simple to me:
You make a difference.
Things can get better.
Kindness is the most important strength.
Little steps are steps.
Courage is more common than we might think.
It is possible to disagree with people without thinking they are stupid.
Tragedy is real and not a result of your sins or your guilt.
Life is not about learning. It is learning.
Fear, anger, and hate are far too easy places to go to.
Success counts. Particularly when you do it on purpose.
Cope with everything you can. Survive everything you can’t.
Reach out to other people.
Have a 3 o’clock in the morning number to call.
Be a 3 o’clock in the morning number to call.
Get up in the morning and be glad. It beats the option.
Thanks to each of you for so many open ears and kind hearts.
May hope work for you.