15 years ago this month I met a friend for a cup of coffee. I shared with her my dream of creating a safe place for families struggling with eating disorders. She heard the desperation in my voice and somehow knew that from that place of deep suffering hope would prevail. I don’t know how she knew, she just did. That belief was all I needed. That belief nurtured the seed that was planted when my daughter told me she needed more. That more being a community that embraces the struggle and shines a glimmer of light in the dark corners.
What happened next was a very clearly thought out plan to create a warm cozy safe haven, (by that I mean we scribbled some thoughts on a paper napkin). I discussed it with my husband over dinner that night (by discussing I said I’m going to start a non-profit ok?).
We then created a needs assessment (by needs assessment I mean we took an ad out in the local paper and invited people to an open house). I had another friend who offered to rent a corner of her wellness space to us (by rent I mean free).
75 people showed up to our “needs assessment”.
That was just the beginning.
A reporter came that evening. She asked us to share our story. I said no. I didn’t want our story sensationalized or exploited. She said if you want people to share their story you need to share yours. (She was good, that reporter) A month later we would do just that.
Community was being created one cup of coffee, one ad, one free space, one reporter, one story at a time.
This space over the next year will be my attempt to tell the story of this little non-profit. I seek to tell the whole story as I remember it. The community that showed up, the grace that flowed, the bruises and breakdowns along the way are all part of the story and what happens when an all-consuming disease can ignite a flame that fuels a movement.
I invite all you warriors to join me in the story telling, remind me of what I’ve forgotten, correct me where my memory fails me... and to shine your brilliance on mental illness and eating disorders and the hope that flows when our voices rise up.