“I just needed to hear your voice.”
On the other end of the call was my dear friend Jen Reidy, who's on the front lines working with organizations including the Brady Campaign to reduce the number of deaths from gun violence in our country.
It was the day after the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and Jen was the last person I expected to hear from.
We spoke for exactly thirty seconds before Jen had to hop on what I’m sure was the hundredth urgent call of her day. For the balance of my day I wanted to call Jen back, but I didn’t dare interrupt the important work she was doing. Later that night I decided to text her, and my message began with:
“I just want to say ‘thank you’ for what you are doing. Please keep doing it. And NEVER give up.”
I then shared a story about my early attempts at recovery. It was a period of time where I literally couldn’t put a week of sobriety together. Yet people kept encouraging me by saying, “Keep coming back. No matter what happens, just keep coming back.” They were encouraging me to never give up.
I kept coming back, even in the darkest moments when I thought nothing would change. I’m grateful I did, because it gave me the opportunity to have my ‘moment of clarity’ that has led to meaningful relationships, meaningful experiences, and meaningful work (including sharing my journey—and other insights—with you via this blog).
I ended that text by encouraging my Jen to “keep coming back” because as long as she does—as long as WE do—we have an opportunity for meaningful change.
I’m grateful for the people who encouraged me—and continue to encourage me—to keep coming back. Perhaps there’s someone in your world today who needs to hear “keep coming back.” And if you’re facing a challenge today that seems insurmountable, remember the words of humanitarian, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, and tennis great Arthur Ashe:
“ Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”