Note: My sincerest apologies for veering ever so slightly off topic. However, I humbly remind that extending compassion, love, and hope for healing to those in times of crisis could not be closer to my heart, and is truly my launch-point for all research endeavors. It is with the greatest conviction and empathy that I share this post to any who will listen. Thank you.
I have a friend, just younger than myself. We will call her Sophie.
I met Sophie ten years ago, through a church I was attending when I lived in Washington State. Sophie was a shy, beautiful girl, who wore a lot of black and a lot of timid smiles. She loved music to the extent that it radiated from her being. Her eyes sparkled, and continue to do so a decade later.
If Sophie had undergone trials in her life up to that point, they could not begin to preview what this young woman has had to endure since then. Maybe, choices were made along the way that could have prevented one or two of the hundreds of trials she would face. And maybe not. I, for one, have made many mistakes along the way, and though experience may be one of the most brutal and effective of teachers, not all mistakes can be rectified. If Sophie has even once chose option C when option A might have been best, I empathize most fully and emphatically.
Over the past decade, this bright young girl has suffered from crippling anxiety. Abuse. Hunger. Poverty. Sadness. Homelessness. She is also one of the strongest, sweetest, and most resilient women I’ve ever known.
I do not know what it feels like to wonder where I’m going to sleep. I can’t empathize with fearing for my life, and the life of my children. I cannot say, in good conscience, that I know what it’s like to be starving. To truly feel that vacant, desperate feeling of anxiety from sleeplessness, hunger, and fear.
Many of you know I am a passionate researcher for music in the intervention of mental health. Some of you know that I am blessed with the ability to travel, and even begin to present some of my work. Sophie, with her patient listening, sharing of experience, and feedback, has been tantamount to the forming and shaping of the current direction of my research.
Though my family has known trials, and I have not been exempt from a couple of life’s cruel realities, I have been blessed with supportive and loving friends and family members. I am lucky enough to know some of her family, and I am confident that when they are able to assist, they do. I give you my word that this young woman is worthy of love, and worthy of support. We all are.
I know how the homeless are treated in Seattle. I’ve been there, and I’ve worked the shelters. They can be wonderful resources, but they are underfunded and overcrowded to the point that there are wait-lists. Until she is allowed a safe, healthy solution, she is asking for help to remain at the local campground.
I know from experience that one of the most difficult things in life can seemingly be to reach out and ask for help when it is needed. Sophie has taken the courage to do so, and it is with this little post that I now take the courage to echo her words: if you can, please help. This is not a permanent situation, but at the moment, it is the situation. If you are able to help, please do. And from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.