Crisis Line

 

Like many people I spent Sunday watching the Academy Awards.  I have a love/hate relationship with this show, but some how they manage to keep me engaged for more than 3 hours.  One commercial after another, I hang in there anticipating the award of Best Picture.  Somewhere buried in the middle of the Oscars they gave the award for Best Documentary.  I am not a documentary watcher, these days I look to comedy to bring the medicine of laughter to life.  This category however, caught my attention.

The nominees were read and I made my private vote.  I had a feeling and sure enough they picked my movie, "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1. This little film documented Crisis Hotline employees manning phones to save the lives of a vets considering suicide.  Today I watched it.  With resounding calm the individuals took calls of veterans holding on to a string of hope as they contemplated taking their lives.  Desperation, exhaustion, had overtaken their once vibrant bodies on alert to protect their life and the lives of those they loved. The conversations were empathetic and compassionate but not overly emotional.  Peace and breath eased through the lines.  Phrases like “I’m not going anywhere”, “I’m going to call you back”, “help is coming”, “you are doing a good job” were spoken with love and sincerity.  

It made me think, in this life we are here to be the hotline, the stretcher bearers, the search and rescue for anyone God has placed in our path. Wounds deep or light barely scraping the soul, wounds temporary or long standing, it doesn’t matter. We are here to be givers of such love and at the same time, we need to prepare ourselves to be receivers, the harder of the two roles.

There up on the stage the director and producer gripped their Oscars.  Ellen Goosenberg Kent said, "We want them (the Vets) to know it's brave to reach out for help.”  It’s brave to find a safe place to be vulnerable, to decide not to walk your pain alone.   There is no shame in asking but we think there is, that somehow we look weak and incapable.  But nothing is further from the truth.

 Today consider the help you need no matter how big or small and then ask for it.   Or today, no matter how big or small, offer your help to someone in need of you.   

 
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The Bnote Speaks

I remember the moment clearly. We were all sitting in the living room grieving together the news of our beautiful boy, each sharing our thoughts and sadness when a comment was made that struck us all. 

 

“Beau’s story isn’t over, it has only begun.”

 

You see the Bnote family always knew Beau was created for greatness and that his life would be a testimony and have the ability to make a difference. We all envisioned this happening while he was living but the thought occurred to us that Beau still WAS created for greatness and his story could move mountains even in his death. So…in a matter of a few minutes the Bnote was created. 

 

The people in that room all knew this had to happen, it NEEDED to happen and so it did. Sometimes when you step out in obedience to what God is telling you, you don’t have a clear direction but we trusted. We knew. 

 

With the help of many friends and family a website was created in a matter of days, branding was clearly thought out and perfected and the message was there. Again, we trusted. The Bnote was then launched during Beau’s celebration for life. Hundreds of Bnotes were created and tied together with gift cards to send out into the community. Each person who attended the celebration of life was given these cards and a challenge. Keep one for yourself and give one to someone else. The message of the Bnote needed to be heard. A smile spread across our faces as we watched Beau travel back out into the world into spaces unknown. 

 

With each passing month after Beau’s celebration of life, the Bnote family met frequently to discuss the vision of this organization and perfected the mission. Overtime, we grew closer. 

We had the opportunity to discuss the purpose of the Bnote in small group settings, to individuals and peers. Then we were encouraged to speak publicly.  

 

Even though most of us in the Bnote family work in education and feel comfortable speaking in front of people, this was something we were all of little weary of. This was different. Of course, we all knew that Tyler {Beau’s brother} would be the one to speak if it ever came to that. When hearing this Ty would just shake his head and say “my brother was always good at putting me in uncomfortable situations.” 

 

Well that is exactly what happened last Tuesday evening. 

 

The Bnote was set to speak to one of the largest college groups in town called the Compass Collective. There can be up to one hundred students who attend to hear the messages and the anxiety quickly grew. The Bnote family met frequently before the speaking date to perfect the message and give a clear, concise vision of the Bnote in a matter of thirty minutes. 

 

The night arrived and the Bnotes were printed and ready to hand out. The message had been perfected and again, we trusted. We prayed for confidence for Tyler and that Beau’s story would continute to teach us all about love and compassion for ourself and others. 

 

It. was. amazing. 

 

Watching the event unfold, I couldn’t help but think about that moment in the living room where we knew Beau’s life could make a difference. Boy was it evident that evening. God was right and we were so glad we trusted in Him.

 

We always knew there was a reason for theBnote and that night we felt it. 

 

 

*If you are interetsed in having the Bnote speak, you can contact us via our email at hello@thebnote.org

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Priceless

The other night I drove to the coast. I had made a decision that had caused me a great deal of pain and I entertained the punishment I thought I deserved for hours. Although I told myself it wouldn’t be helpful to beat myself up about it, I began to rehearse words of shame,“ Now you did it, how stupid are you?” The phrases flew through my brain like fireworks, searing my heart. When I arrived at my destination, I walked into a roomful of colleagues. I caught the eye of a friend. We walked out to the deck and there in the quiet with a fresh breeze blowing, I decided to speak my pain. I spoke without taking a breath then silence sat, honoring my bravery. At the right moment, my friend spoke words like “I understand, I’m here, I’ll be right beside you and you aren’t alone” instead of words like “what were you thinking, why did you do that”? I had confessed thoughts of my perceived nothingness, my foolishness and in return heard there was nothing further from the truth. I was special, cared for, loved, normal, accepted and sane. I love my friends that allow me to be so courageous, who love me because I am willing to show my hand. Friends who remind me that when people act crazy, I too should offer compassion. I love that they are trustworthy.

I recently read, trust allows for vulnerability to take place and being vulnerable creates trust. I thought, “who knew?” and at the same time I thought, “of course”. We are not created to go it alone. God tells us he is waiting for us to be vulnerable, to speak our shame, he wants nothing more than to offer forgiveness, to ease our burdens, to say I understand I too walked mountains and valleys of earth and who wants to remind us of how priceless we are. And if that isn’t enough, he has placed people in our lives that can safely hold our moments of shame, creating connections that cease its dangerously corrosive nature. It’s these friends I am thankful for today, my friends who love me because of my vulnerabilities.

Today, say thank you to your Father, friend, family member, whomever you trust to listen as you speak your pain out of its secrecy, shattering shame.