Tuesday, January 16, 2007


We drove down the mountain to Osoyoos where we will stay the night. In the dark it was easy to see the settlement, the lights arranged in a North American criss cross. It was beautiful. Because we were high, looking down on the town, it seemed like we were seeing it from space. The distance, though far, was close enough to communicate to us that a there was a place amongst those lights for us. A place to rest and regroup. It was a beautiful feeling.

Yesterday I did a session in the morning for self advocates on rights. It was a great group and we were having fun together. The discussion at points serious and points hysterical. At morning break, I sat behind the presenter desk and just chatted with those around me. What a lovely group. As I almost always do in these situations I asked them to tell me about their dreams. One young couple talked about their dream of marriage, one young woman talked about wanting a job, another talked about wanting to take another vacation trip like she had the year before. It was typical chatter.

But something made this chatter extraordinary.

I remember back in the old days, years ago, people with disabilities would have talked about relationships, employment and travel. It would have been a pipe dream. Nice, but never going to happen. Back in those days, we didn't have dreams - we had goals for people with disabilities. Goals with so many steps that 'real life' would occur long after death. Back in those days we thought in terms of plans not in terms of progress. We were looking down at the task while people with disabilities always, always looked at the horizon.

Something has happened over the years. Either we've wised up, or more likely we started to listen up. We began to see the point of service provision as actually providing service. Suddenly, then. The dreams got closer. The dreams became, finally, possible. You can see them in the distance. Almost there. Just over there.

True, on this blog I am a little too often negative, a little too often critical.

But today, talking to people who's dreams were out of reach only because they haven't stretched. I realized that we have travelled far down the road. We have yet a distance to go, but we have travelled far.

I saw my destination tonight from high on the mountain and suddenly 15 minutes later, I arrived.

Hope stirs in my chest because everyone of those I talked to today, is also only minutes from arriving.


Belinda said...

Osoyoos--Canada's desert! I've been there and it was such an unexpected surprise to find such terrain.

Thanks for the hopeful note today Dave. It's good to know that things are better, even if there is, as you say, much further to go.

Its good to be reminded to reflect on how far we've come because truly we will never,ever be able to say we've arrived--that's just the nature of supporting people and families (and support staff). We always have more to learn--and just when you think you're doing okay, you realize we really have so little idea.

I guess I'm just feeling in need of hope today and you gave some. Thank you.

lina said...

Right you are, again! Everyday there is proof somewhere of the progress of many people's work - although there is far to go, there exists most definetly hope.