Friday, August 2, 2013

I’m Gonna Take That Mountain

Reba McIntyre sings a song called “I’m Gonna Take that Mountain” about overcoming challenges in life, and the power of perseverance.  Joey faced a mountain.  Filled with excitement about his goal of living in a Supports for Community Living (SCL) house becoming a reality, Wendell Foster’s Campus (WFC) staff and Joey met on the morning of February 8, 2012 to discuss making it happen.  The best day of Joey’s life suddenly turned into the saddest day when he received news his mom unexpectedly passed away at home.

Joey and his mom (pictured, left) experienced some rough patches over the last two of years but they talked regularly, even two days before she died.  Joey shares, “She was supportive and excited about my move into SCL.”  Joey was understandably upset about his mom, and needed time to deal with the loss.  What was an exciting time in Joey’s life suddenly became overwhelming. Joey needed more support than ever to get through life’s latest hurdle before him.  WFC staff asked Joey, what do you want to do, how do you want to proceed?  Despite the staggering setback, Joey wanted to move forward with his move into SCL.  Both Joey and WFC staff carried on, making the best of a difficult situation.
Distractions can often provide temporary relief from grief.  One WFC staff member took Joey, ever the entertainer who enjoys being the center of attention, to a McDonald’s drive-thru window.  There, Joey sang his food order with The McRap song, a hip-hop YouTube song that was all the rage.  The unsuspecting McDonald’s clerk did not get the joke, expressed confusion, thus prompting Joey to repeat the entire McRap order again!  The prank offered bright spot of laughter in the midst of Joey’s grief.

When people are down, God has a way of lifting you up.  One day, the pastor, a deacon, and another church member from the church Joey’s mom attended came by the Campus to see Joey.  They were concerned about him, asking if he had any unmet needs now that his mother was gone.  Over the next several months, they would visit Joey often, checking on him and reassuring WFC staff that whatever he needed, they would see to it financially and otherwise.  Joey eventually returned to the church he and mother attended, for support and in memory of his mom.
Meanwhile, Joey’s efforts towards SCL independence experienced unexpected hiccups, which made an already difficult situation even tougher for Joey.  These glitches frustrated WFC staff.  Says one staff member, “giving Joey any more bad news broke their heart,” leaving them feeling as if they were kicking a man already down. 

Whenever we go after what we want, challenges pop up and they did in Joey’s quest for independent living.  Frustration happens.  The key is to plow through the challenges with perseverance and patience.  WFC staff knew this goal was important to Joey and they did everything possible to empower him as he moved through the jungle of bureaucracy to reach his goal.
In the Next Blog Entry: My Voice Speaks my Choice! - "You know how it is when you want something, yet things keep getting in teh way of your getting. . . Everything was going along nicely until the state agency . . .  threw a wrench into the process."

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