Hope, and the writings of Peggy Symons
Hope, and the writings of Peggy Symons

HOPE IS A WORTHY WALK

 

“Hope is a Worthy Walk” comes to my mind every year when the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Orlando gears up for the annual fundraising and awareness walk.

The Walk always brings me back to a vision of looking through a window into a barren back yard.

I see what is left of winter. There is a drab picket fence, sticks and dry branches, plants and fallen leaves bitten by winter’s last frost.

I can almost hear twigs snapping under my feet as I walk through the yard searching for something brighter or some sign of new life. As I walk, I sift through the fallen leaves of the vision and find the ashes of all the lost years of my life.

Having failed to improve on over two dozen medications, I lived with the hopelessness of twenty-five years of my life lost to chronic, treatment resistant schizophrenia and depression; I was hospitalized more than sixteen times.

Throughout those years I didn’t see any hope or a future because there was no light; all I could see is what seemed to be endless suffering. In the 1970s the only answer offered to my family and I was blame and shame.

But hope was waiting like dawn waits for the rising sun. Between 1998 and 2000, through persistent doctors who refused to give up, new medications came and dusted this illness from my eyes.

Well into my forties I woke up to see the sun for the first time in my life. I never forgot the light or people who still live in the shadows of lost hope. I saw my story become their stories. I saw beauty for ashes, light for darkness, and hope for despair.

The National Alliance walks in the same light that sweeps over the back yard and its broken branches. In this vision, I see flowers of every color, shade and hue, even subtle shades of the same color. Each flower is different and stretched out as far as I could see. All of them are turned toward the sun; they are moving in the wind.

I hear hope stirring and know there is power in the shadow of its wings, and so, the vision grows and I see that you are the flowers.

The precious gifts and talents you bring to NAMI’s walk are already being gathered from the garden of hope.

Not only are the days brighter with brilliant blooms of hope but all of tomorrow is blessed by the fragrance of your gifts. They are a splash of hope and beauty; they are lighting the way of the Walk.

The flowers and what they mean to me is as real as the withered back yard and its fallen leaves.

Every gifted flower is different; unique in purpose and design; whether it is a smile to encourage the walkers, the gift of time or the funds and resources we need to keep walking in the light of the vision. Every gift is a seed of hope. Out of this vision, NAMI is walking and I know where we are going.

From the 1990’s I watched the National Alliance on Mental Illness rise out of the darkness of lost hope to seize the shadows of stigma and stereotypes, to bring us into the legitimacy of the light and to pursue the cause of equal rights.

In 2019, we are still walking in the same direction. Every step we take runs countercurrent to the misunderstanding that is so much a part of living with the disorders of the brain that cause serious mental illnesses. In an encouraging sign of the times, many young people will be walking with us and for us. They are a generation reaching up to embrace the power of change.

NAMIs hope also reveals many people who are dragging each step out of a well of weariness. They don’t know what to do or where to find help.

They have no hope; vision has failed in the difficulty of their walk; without us, they struggle alone.

We are bearing their banner and walking the walk for thousands who are silent; people who have no other hope of accessing services or support.

Like the beauty of the flowers, hope is tangible, its real and it is a living thing.

The National Alliance has given this to me and I’m giving it back knowing that hope is a gift of many colors and lives; there is power in its steps.

NAMI is walking with hope. Those who seek this gift will find it. If we plant it, people will come.

Time is turning in our hands; those who have no hope are calling out for our gifts.

The services of the National Alliance on Mental Illness are free. They are a lifeline; a bridge between despair and its struggle to endure and the hope of healing that comes with access to care. The gifts we gather as NAMI WALKS will help us provide another year of services for those in need.

I will proudly be walking as a team member for BE THE CHANGE and ask that you consider supporting our efforts by walking with us or helping us with a donation. Come and join us on April 27th at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs, Florida.

Be the change; hope is a worthy walk.

Peggy J. Symons

 “Hope is a Worthy Walk” is written in deep appreciation for my brothers and sisters and all the love and support they have poured out for me over so many years. 

 

 

 

 

 

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HOPE IS A WORTHY WALK

 “Hope is a Worthy Walk “came to
my mind when the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Orlando asked me
what our annual fundraising and awareness walk means to people living with a mental illness, as I do.

I thought about it for a long time.

I found myself looking through a window into a back yard.

I saw what was left of winter.

There was a drab picket fence,
sticks and dry branches, plants and fallen leaves that had been bitten by winter’s last frost.

I could almost hear twigs snapping under my feet as I walked through the yard searching for something brighter or some sign of new life.

As I walked, I sifted through the fallen leaves of the vision and I found the ashes of all the lost years of my life.

Having failed on over 30 medications, I lived with the hopelessness of 25 years of life lost to chronic, treatment resistant schizophrenia and depression.

I was hospitalized 16 times in the dungeons of the day.

I couldn’t see hope or a future because there was no light; only suffering so deep there were no frames for words.

The only answer offered to my family and I was Freudian finger pointing.

But hope was waiting for me like dawn waits for the rising sun.

In 1998, new medications came and dusted the demons of this illness from my eyes.

At age 43, I woke up to see the sun for the first time in my life.

When I turned around to the vision of the back yard, I brushed my fingertips through the dust of the dark years saw what they had become:

Beauty for ashes,

Light for darkness,

Hope for despair.

Out of this vision I saw the light of NAMI Walks.

It was the light of hope and it swept over this back yard and its broken branches.

I saw flowers of every color, shade and hue, even subtle shades of the same color.

Every flower was different; their beauty was stretched out as far as I could see.

All of them were turned toward the Son; they were moving in the wind.

I heard the words of hope in the wind and I knew there was power in the shadow of its wings; and so the vision grew and I saw the flowers are you.

The precious gifts and talents you are bringing to NAMI’s walk are being gathered from the garden of hope.

I saw them arranged into bouquets; each one was different.

Those of us living with mental illnesses were the ribbons running through the bouquets.

Not only are the days brighter with brilliant blooms of hope but all of tomorrow is blessed by your light.

Thank you for the fragrance of your gifts.

They are a splash of hope and beauty; they are lighting the way of the walk.

The flowers and what they mean to me is as real as the withered back yard and its fallen leaves.

It is important that none of us underestimate the worth and value of our gifts and talents.

Each one is different; unique in
purpose and design; whether it is a smile to encourage the walkers, the gift of
time or the funds and resources we need to keep walking in the light of the
vision.

Every gift is a seed of hope.

Out of this vision NAMI is walking and I know where we were going.

From the 1980”s I watched the
National Alliance on Mental Illness rise out of the darkness of lost hope to
seize the shadows of stigma and stereotypes, to 
bring us into the legitimacy of the light and pursue the cause of equal
rights.

NAMI is walking in the right
direction, every step we take runs countercurrent to the misunderstanding that
is so much a part of living with the disorders of the brain that cause serious
mental illnesses.

There are many walkers in our
midst; they are dragging each step out of a weary well and they don’t know what
to do.

They have no hope; vision has
failed in the difficulty of their walk.

Without us they are struggling
alone.

We are bearing their banner and
walking the walk for thousands who are silent; people who have been left behind
with no hope of accessing services or support.

Like the beauty of the bouquets, hope is tangible; its real and it is a living thing.

NAMI has given this to me and I’m giving it back knowing that hope is a gift of many colors and
lives.

There is beauty in it and power in its steps.

NAMI is walking in the light of this vision and we are walking with it.

If we seek this gift, we will find it.

If we plant it, people will come.

Time is turning in our hands;
those who have no hope are calling out for our gifts.

The services of the National Alliance on Mental Illness are free.

They are a lifeline; a bridge between despair and its struggle to endure and the healing that comes with access to care.

The gifts we gather as NAMI WALKS will kick
off another year of services for those who need our help.

 Hope is a worthy walk.

 

Peggy J. Symons   © Copyright 
______________________________________________________________

                             NAMI Walk OF Greater Orlando

Welcome!

Every journey begins with that first step! As NAMIWalks celebrates our events, we are proud to be NAMI’s largest and most successful mental health awareness and fundraising event in the country!

Through NAMIWalks public display of support for people with mental health challenges, we are changing how Americans view mental illness.  Please join us as we improve lives and our communities one step at a time.

 

 

 NAMI Annual Walk

We look forward to your participation each and every year as in past years. For more information, go to namigo.org. or  http://namiwalks.org/

 

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