The Answer (and our stuff) is Blowing in the Wind: The Power of Community at Living Well Transitions

By:  LT Walsh

On the ride home from Living Well’s spring-break trip, a client was overwhelmed with gratitude and sent this text to the group:

“PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: I love you humans and your souls and hearts. I had felt such an overwhelming feeling of love and acceptance and family on this trip. It means so much to me. I am so lucky and honored to be in your lives and will make an effort to stay in it!...I hope you and everyone know how amazing and beautiful you are from the inside and out.

#grateful, #springbreak2K16, #wind, #broke2brooms, #therapykidsarethebestkids.”

While LWT’s primary focus is on helping clients live independently, our clients also experience community as a necessary component of successful and healthy independent living. The Landing Pad, Saturday activities, client-hosted community dinners, and trips are some of the venues in which clients build friendships and share support.

In March ’16, a group of clients and staff went to Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. The morning we left the van was filled with backpacks, camping gear, and anxious, excited hearts. We didn’t know exactly what was ahead, but knowing that we were in it together was comforting.

On our lunch stop, we were greeted by 60 MPH wind gusts. Without prompting, clients organized themselves to secure the sandwich supplies and block the wind for each other while they fixed their meals.  As we stood huddled together, I appreciated the reminder of how we’re able to overcome adversity when we work and stand together.

After piling back in the car to continue on our journey, the group seemed closer having wrestled the elements together.  Little did we know we would be battling the wind for the next few days.

Once we arrived at Bandelier, the beautiful sandstone was inviting to our souls.  As we exited the car, however, it was the fierce winds that captured our attention.  Setting up camp took three times longer than usual; putting up one tent was a full group effort!

The next morning came early as the wind kept most of us awake all night. The group rallied and we arrived for our volunteer project. Everyone worked well together and we were rewarded with some great hikes and even better company…and respite from the strong winds later that evening. 

In the stillness we were especially appreciative of the delicious, fire-side dinner.  Conversation around the campfire fostered even greater connection as well as a deeper understanding that to grow as individuals, the support of one another is crucial. In just a short time, we had truly come together as a community to depend and count on each other.  Even though the wind had not been a welcomed part of the trip, we felt grateful for the lessons it offered.


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