Last night I had another great Fibromyalgia support group meeting. The structure of the meeting was new for the group; each of us brought books we have read that have had a positive impact on our lives in one way or another. Members brought books on topics from self-help and memoir writing to Lake Wobegon. A very clever member shared a book that has had the greatest impact on helping her with the dreaded fibro fog – a notebook! Seriously, everyone of us should have one close by at all times, and what ever you do, don’t lose it like I did mine. Devastating!
As each meeting does, last night validated all of the work I put into organizing the group, because each meeting and each interaction rewards me, supports me, and encourages me. I feel blessed and honored to be a part of the group, and proud that I played a part in bringing us all together. After each meeting, members are asked to rate the meeting and leave a comment about their experience. I would like to share with you a comment left by a new member attending her first meeting.
Dannette called the group “a bunch of scientists” once and that’s a pretty apt description. Very rarely have I ever run into people who were so interested in learning without having a (well at least I didn’t sense one…) hidden agenda. The people were kind and generous with both listening and talking and the interaction is a lot of fun. It is very obvious to me that Dannette nurtures this group and puts a lot of careful thought into how to best meet the needs of the members. The people who have joined the support group but have not yet attended a function are really missing out. This truly is a support group.
Can I tell you how happy this comment made me. Of course I appreciated what she wrote about me personally, but it was her overall impression of the group that pleased me the most. She sees the group as I do – kind and generous people who respect and support each other, and who are actively interested in improving their lives. We are a realistic bunch and recognize that there are so many layers to Fibromyalgia, and each book we share, topic we discuss and positive results we report is just a part of a piece of this million piece puzzle. But together we are a much greater force than each of us is alone.
A group like this does not just happen. First it takes someone to decide to make it happen. And that someone needs to be commited – despite their own health issues – to nurture the group and put “a lot of careful thought into how to best meet the needs of the members.” But that is only the beginning. Then people need to join the group. And then the people who join need to trust their instincts and honor their need for support by participating. And when all those pieces come together, a night like last night happens – a night of sharing and caring and community.
I can’t tell you how much I wish I could create a group just like this for each and everyone of you. Everyday in comments on my blog, on Twitter, in message boards, I see the need for more connection, more support and more interaction for people suffering with Fibromyalgia and other invisible illnesses. My heart literally aches with the need to help. I feel like it is my purpose, and nights like last night reinforce my commitment.
So what am I going to do about it? I have been brewing a plan for awhile now. It is a slow brew due to the faulty filter and machine I call my brain, but it is brewing non-the-less. My blog Fibromyalgia Haven is just the beginning of my passion to create a Fibromyalgia community for everyone, like the small FM community I am lucky enough to have created here locally. I am lucky to have this group, but the key is, I created my own luck.
“Diligence is the mother of good luck.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca
“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson
And that is the truth about luck. The harder I work, the luckier I get. I am here in this place, poised to heal and to help others heal, because I have worked for it. I am going to continue to work at it. It is the commitment I make to myself and to anyone who wants to join me on my journey. You are all invited, but it is up to me to make sure the journey reaches everyone, even those of you so far off the beaten path that you are certain no one will ever find you or care that you are there. I care! And as my wise friend Hillary reminds me often – you are loved, and you are not alone.