Monday, May 07, 2007

It was wonderful!!

The mental health service at church surpassed my expectations. It was so wonderful that I spent the rest of yesterday in a bit of a daze, trying to process it all, listening to the CD that was made.

The speakers from the Living Room group spoke so openly, so from the heart. And the congregation was warm and welcoming to them. They received a hearty applause. Our pastor presented the sermon part - which was more like a friendly talk - in a compassionate way. He spoke of how we need to look at Jesus in how we live and how we treat others. It wasn't a sad or painful morning at all. All that was discussed was straight forward and honest and natural. There was a wonderful touch of humor here and there. Actually, I felt uplifted by it all and I know others did too. Many stayed behind to talk with the speakers.

The icing on the cake was the performance of Chalexa's song, Redeemed. Chalexa played the piano and Shebee sang. Some of you reading this will remember this song, published on Chalexa's blog a short time ago. I wished then that I could hear it sung and yesterday I got my wish. And the music truly does the words justice. And Shebee is a gifted singer. I wish I could share it here so you could all hear. I do hope Chalexa will write more songs like this, though I know it was born out of pain and I don't wish that for her.

One neat thing: Our pastor Don mentioned how Living Room isn't complete without chocolate. And it's true. Without fail, we have dishes of chocolate on the table at the meetings. We consider it good "medicine." So as people left the sanctuary the pastors' wives served chocolates to them.

As a result of yesterday, a couple of people in the church have indicated they would like to come to the next Living Room meeting. This is the great thing about talking so openly about mental health problems: By making it an ok thing to talk about, those who are suffering feel more free to come out into the open and share with others what they are going through. There is no longer a need to keep their pain to themselves. They no longer need to be alone in their struggles, but can find support from people who care.

This is what reducing stigma can do for people. And reducing stigma is possible. Little by little we can do it.


Sarah said...


Though happy you had a wonderful sermon and that you all got together, that's amazing...

If I were still in Canada, I'd so be there.

isabella mori said...

beautiful, marja! things are really coming together! you are an amazing force in the community.

zawadi said...

aww thanks for visiting my blog today. I hope to be writing allot more and would love to read more blogs like yours also... wish you well... you just made a regular blog visitor. :)

Sarah said...

thanks for the support with that anonymous son of a mother....i replied to ghim

guys a real ass.

marja said...

Thank YOU for visiting Zawadi. We will keep in touch.

And wow! Isabella. What a wonderful compliment. Such comments encourage me to continue in what I do.

Sarah: It would be so neat to have you in our group and to meet you in real life. I wish we could somehow spread the spirit we have found in Living Room and within our church all over the world, so everyone who suffers from mental illness could benefit from such good support.