Thursday, October 15, 2009

Breaking the Silence

Funny how I start a blog and then I never post. Well here goes one.
Tonight I attended the annual fund raiser for the organization I work for called Community Alliance. Our guest speaker was Steve Lopez, the author of the book The Soloist that was recently adapted to film. He was very inspiring. I have worked at this mental health agency for 24 years now and the impact the work has had upon my life and countless others cannot be stated simply. The Alliance is a community based mental health rehabilitation service for adults. Like anything the business has its flaws but overall the agency is known in the midwest for being very reliable and effective. Steve Lopez was the perfect guest speaker for us. He could have easily gotten away with talking all night about how cool it was to have a movie made of his book with such great actors but he didn't. He told the story of how he met Nathaniel Ayers and how it transformed both of their lives. He spent much of the time talking about the devastating effect mental illness has on so many people. He talked about how upside down society is, how he learned about classical music and Shakespeare from a homeless man on skid row, while he himself lived in the hills in a nice house. Steve showed himself to be a man of integrity, recognizing that he has an opportunity to do something helpful by sharing his story and information about what can be done better.
It got me to thinking about how I left my job about a year ago to go on the road and play music and work on film crews. It was a wonderful time but practical need sent me back to my full time job. But even before I left I was aware of the impact the work I am part of has on my community. As much as I would really love to just be an artist I am very proud to be involved in work that attempts to heal. My older sister was in town awhile back and when we talked about this she simply said that it is obviously your path. I accept it. Mr. Lopez' words reinvigorated something in me tonight and I am thankful for it. Of course I still want to be a self sufficient artist but very clearly I recognize the value of my job and am feeling appreciation for it right now.