The sun can pierce the cloudsSeptember 10th, 2019
Tonight’s sunset was especially powerful.
I had just enjoyed an “early Thanksgiving” dinner (complete with turkey, lucky me!) with my whole family gathered together at my aunt & uncle’s beautiful cottage. The spirit of togetherness and the joy of family being together was something to savour, for sure. Afterwards, I headed out to the deck overlooking Georgian Bay to savour the warm air and gaze upon the water.
Just previously, I’d posted a little reflection online that today is World Suicide Prevention Day… shared my little bit of how grateful I am that I have come out the other side of suicidal ideation and a battle against depression. I was utterly touched, as I have been for a few years now since I’ve shared more publicly about my journey to mental wellness, to read some very positive reactions to my little post.
But, it’s a lot deeper than that, the impact and personal resonance and effect rippling out that I’ve been experiencing since opening up about mental health. It’s also something I’ve experienced in this decade since coming out as gay.
… it’s the reciprocating of people very close to me who share their stories with me. It’s so profound, and something I don’t think I ever thought about when I first opened up: that others would start opening up right back to me. I mean this all humbly; but it’s entirely touching! I don’t think anything big of sharing my story – but the knowledge that others are feeling they can share with me sometimes very inspiring, sometimes challenging, sometimes very profound stories of their own journeys is so amazing.
And isn’t that, I guess, the whole point of doing what we do… of living our lives, and going through our struggles and triumphs, of doing our little part in the world: to make the world a little bit better for someone else or the world as a whole or the universe as an even bigger whole? Don’t we put effort into life so as to make life better? So too, the opening up of ourselves to others – in as much as it has personally positive effects of opening up – isn’t it about potentially inspiring someone else who matters to feel they can open up right back?
The fact that this is happening in my life – that people I care deeply about are somehow feeling like they can be comfortable talking about their deepest parts of life, of coming out, of mental health with me – is the absolute sweetest sunshine in my life since opening up about my own life’s journey.
And, a further thought that I shared with my godmother as we were looking out together at Georgian Bay. I shared that I recently met up with a wonderfully inspiring gentleman, Fort Papalia who is the co-founder of the Pride Festival in Kincardine, Ontario. Fort and I had a lovely coffee chat about this exact same phenomenon that I wrote about above… how Fort has been moved time and again by stories of people in his town of Kincardine who have received personal inspiration by the positive effect of Kincardine Pride: he’s had so many people tell him stories of someone’s “brother, daughter, co-worker, friend” who has been made to feel more comfortable being their authentic self for the community’s support of Pride.
That positive effect, is, honestly, something that anyone who does something good for the world, however small, might not be prepared for… honestly, we just go about doing our thing. For me it was a post I made on my LinkedIn about returning from a trip to Montreal. For Fort it was the idea that there should be some support of LGBTQ+ people in small-town Ontario. We start small, we do our thing… and have no idea what good might come. But GOOD DOES COME. Does it ever!
And as I told this thought to my godmother of this phenomenon of the sharing of personal stories that Fort, I and people like us have been experiencing, my godmother shared something very profound…
Our world gets attracted and amplifies and pays the most attention to the drama, evil and negativity around us. But there is SO MUCH MORE GOOD THAN BAD going on. It might be small. It might be just a little post about World Suicide Prevention Day. Or it might be something big like organizing a Pride Festival in a small town. No matter what, there is a LOT OF GOOD GOING ON IN OUR WORLD. And the effect of this good, it’s power – it reverberates far bigger and wider than I think we might ever know. Our power to make this world better is infinite.
And just then, the setting sun passed through a tiny window in the cloudy sky…