I recently went to my mother's ancestral home in Jonesboro, AR to see her when she briefly went into St. Bernards Medical Center. I worked there in the early 90s myself as I finished college. @StBernardsHlth
My mother's father was Dr. Rector Clay Hooper, Jonesboro's first urologist and one of its first surgeons I believe. I think he was also the first Chief of Staff of St. Bernard's. He had previously served as the chief medical officer of the entire Panama Canal Zone right at the outbreak of WWII. Both my mother and uncle, Dr. Anthony Hooper (1945-1992), for whom I was named, were born in the Zone which was United States territory at the time.
I found grandpa's picture still hanging in one of the corridors outside the Administrative offices of St. Bernards, although it used to be directly outside the front of Administration- apparently they were all moved a bit down the hall at some point. I am glad to see that the tradition is still honored.
I was also pleased to find the picture of my cousin Layne Blanchard (1981-2008), who appears on the St. Bernard's Wall of Heroes because he gave multiple organs to people who needed them. I believe that 7 different people benefited from Layne's selfless action- one that mirrors the way he lived his life. I miss him to this day.
Many people ask me about how difficult it was to stop being an attorney and university instructor to studying to become a minister. I will say that the transition from active addiction to active recovery is perhaps the most challenging movement anyone can ever face in their lives. It is a traumatic upheaval that takes a lot of courage..and transformation- in much the same way as becoming a minister does. I love the image of the Phoenix arising from the flames of its old form emerging into its new life.
Many of you know how avid a gamer I am and have always been since junior high school when I programmed a simple text-based adventure on an Apple IIc. I loved that machine. I have recently been exploring the metaphysical ways that my love of gaming has informed my recovery. I had the absolute pleasure of running across Jane McGonigal's TED talk wherein she discusses the parallels between the top 5 regrets people had on their death beds (as compiled by Hospice providers) and the top 5 traits of people like me who have experienced Post Traumatic Growth. Her talk is 19 minutes- you should give yourself 19 minutes that could change your life.
The simple fact is that some people get stronger after trauma. One can use trauma as a springboard to unleash one’s best qualities to lead happier lives. People who have survived trauma and moved on to growth say the followings things defined their life post trauma: their priorities changed and they are not afraid to do what makes them happy. They feel closer to their friends and family. They understand themselves better and know who they really are. They have a new sense of meaning and purpose and are better able to focus on their goals and dreams. Ironically enough, the top 5 traits Post Traumatic Growth survivors experience are the exact opposite of the top 5 regrets of the dying.
This reaffirms the Unity understanding that an event is WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT. Nothing has an essential essence- you as the observer choose your reaction to it. My experiences of education and arrest and Missouri 13th Judicial Circuit Drug Court (Judge Christine Carpenter and Judge Kevin Crane) and the tremendous growth through my 12 step program all facilitate the emergence of the new I AM. Trauma may breed adversity or it may be the catalyst the most exciting and enlightening time of your life- which will you choose? :)