A number of years ago, Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” was a mirror. The point was that, in the new age of iPhones and YouTube, the world was becoming more and more individualistic. They observed that we were increasingly able to tailor our inputs to only what we wanted and limit our world to whatever was of interest to us. And so, “I” was the Person of the Year.
If I were choosing The Well Community’s “Person of the Year” for 2017 I would hold up a window instead of a mirror, because every time I look around me I see people who are not looking at themselves, but are instead looking outward—into the hearts of others.
First I see The Well members themselves, who against unimaginable stigma and complex mental illnesses, poverty and, in many cases, poor health, encourage and care for each other. I see Susan who reminds her friends to grow in faith and trust God for their every need. I see Anthony, who helps tidy up after meals, and does anything else he sees he can help with.
Through the window I also see volunteers who serve meals, teach classes and orchestrate incredible fundraising events—all looking outside themselves to do good for others. In view most recently are the folks who helped to plan and put on Recovery Live: Dawn Camp, Ged Dipprey, Carolyn Dunnigan, David Dunnigan, Vickie Fisk, Augustine Jalomo, Andrew Snow, Kate Thacker, Anna Urban, Laurel Varney, Richard Winford and many helpers.
This past year we’ve seen new volunteer initiatives come into view. The Auxiliary supports The Well Community by building a base of financial support to cover costs for special items such as sleeping bags and Walmart gift cards. They are also hands-on to give practical assistance with events such as Mardi Gras and Recovery Live. Groups like South of the Ordinary and worship teams from area churches bring music to our Thursday Night Life services. All volunteers. All giving of themselves.
The window at The Well Community looks out on individuals, churches, foundations and organizations that pay attention to the needs around them and then respond with the kind of compassion that gives and gives and gives. Our donors know that mental illness isn’t a fleeting condition. They know that our members need ongoing, continual and persistent care. And so, contributions continue to come, wrapped in thoughtful generosity.
I am so very thankful for the view I’ve had through the window of The Well this year and look forward to catching glimpses of you again in 2018.