My dear Hope Has a Cold Nose Readers,
Now every time I witness a strong person, I want to know: what dark did you conquer in your story? Mountains do not rise without earthquakes. – Katherine MacKenett
Recently I had the opportunity to attend two community forums focused not on veterans specifically, yet the overarching message in each of these forums was certainly relevant. The community is focused on establishing a trauma-informed court system. Said another way, instead of the focus being on what have you done? the question is what happened to you?
Shifting the question to ask what happened to you? has the potential – in the seconds it takes to ask these four words – to move someone from self-shame to dignity, from feeling undeserving to worthy, from rejection to acceptance. And, potentially from hopeless to hope.
Just as I am given the sacred gift of the stories shared with me for Hope Has a Cold Nose, these forums highlighted the same theme. Resilience. As I overheard one person eloquently say to this effect: trauma and resilience are of the same vein. They must be; if there is trauma without resiliency, there is no hope.
This week I was giving the sacred opportunity to listen to someone’s heart who bears witness to the stories of suicide. This person graciously shared with me the stories that have not only left their lasting impression but have moved him into action to reduce the rate of twenty-two lives per day to zero. As I listened to these stories, I thought about many who care deeply and work hard at populating social media with awareness messages about PTSD and suicide. I couldn’t help wondering for the person whose voice has faded away behind despair and a will to no longer live, are our messages to loud for them – and us? Are we pausing to listen not from our hearts, but to listen for theirs? How do we reach those who no longer feel seen or heard?
Can it be as simple as pausing long enough to ask what happened to you? Share with me your story.
I am reminded of a story I have seen adapted and posted on social media outlets that I believe originated from a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul. Written by John W. Schlatter, it talks about a boy walking home from school one day who notices another boy carrying an arm load of his belongings. When the boy drops this armload, this observer stops to help him. A friendship forms and years later the one who had stopped to help learns he had saved the other boy from suicide on that day. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around – Leo Buscaglia
I continue to be blessed to have my path cross with organizations who live this quote in their offerings of a touch, a kind word, a listening ear…a service dog. Such organizations as this one:
In closing, I ask each of you to continue to generate your positive thoughts as you have been for the publishing of Hope Has a Cold Nose. This month I received exceptional news that a proposal I submitted for financial backing to self-publish this book has been approved! Though I will also continue to pursue traditional publishing routes, I am excited and grateful that we are steps closer to having this book available to inspire others not to give up. More details will come in future updates. For now, I say thank YOU; because each of you believe in the messages of this book, it is creating the means in which to get these messages more broadly shared.
While we all strive to reduce twenty-two a day to zero.
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