The Pathway to Tomorrow

Change, The Art of Possibility, Beacons of Hope – I’ve written about all of them over the years. We’re definitely in a sea of change. I am inspired by the people who are finding ways to adapt their businesses and personal lives to meet the changes. Restauranteurs who flip their business model to adapt to closures. Manufacturers who adapt their products to become PPE manufacturers. Behavioral health providers who switch to telehealth.

How does anyone survive when change threatens our way of life? By doing what we’ve been doing for millennia: evolving. I think it’s in our DNA.

It’s what I keep seeing here at LBSA, from our families, from our clients, from our staff members. Change, particularly sudden change, is challenging. It’s unsettling. It’s disorienting. We mourn our losses, with or without time and space to do so.

Here at LBSA, we’ve had plenty of losses this year. We’ve lost long-time clients for a variety of reasons. We’ve lost staff members for a variety of reasons. We’ve lost access to communities of support, mostly due to COVID-19. We’ve had to give up routines and expectations. Just when it seems as though we’ve reached equilibrium, something else seems to come along that creates a need for more change.

We’re Persisting

We’ve closed households and sent clients elsewhere, as we work to ensure we have adequate staffing to keep clients safe and adequately supported. We’ve had to replace day program and work services with staff of our own – 13 full-time staff members to be exact. We’re trying to compete with health care providers and other businesses for staff members, unable to adjust our reimbursement to keep pace with what others are able to offer.

Despite the challenges, we’re persisting. We’ve hired many people and we’re in the process of re-opening households. We’re developing plans for what comes next. Like others, we’re finding ways to evolve our services and supports for the next generation. It’s a little more difficult, given funding challenges, but we’re bringing together our communities as best we can and forging ahead.

Sparking Hope

In good times and challenging times, I always look for possibilities that spark hope. I tend to focus forward, so I can’t compare past difficult times to today. And maybe the comparison is not what’s important. Maybe what’s important is figuring out the pathway to tomorrow and the next day. It’s following the paths that have been lit for us by our beacons of hope.

There are many who have brightened the way, illuminated the path, often without knowing they were doing so. I think of a neighbor who stopped me outside and shared his observations about the incredible work he saw our staff members engaging in, on a day when I was feeling overcome by the twists and turns of that particular day and week. Every time I’ve felt discouraged by criticism, overwhelmed by the many pivots and changes we’ve had to make this past year, I’ve had an experience like this. Our Board of Trustees president, Greg Closser, calls them “God winks.” For me, they are beacons of hope – reminders that together we can find solutions. As Parker Palmer says, “The destination is too daunting to be achieved alone: We need community to find the courage to venture into the alien lands to which the inner teacher may call us.”

Thank you to each of you reading this – for the moments when you have been a beacon of hope, for the moments when you have been a part of the community that brings courage and opportunity in what we believe may be a dark hour. For your advocacy. For your partnerships. For your gifts. We need your support now and will continue to need it as we move through 2021.

Help us to navigate the path ahead and join us in creating new solutions.