The following reflections are provided anonymously by one of our Veteran residents who participated in last month’s Board meeting Improv presentation in order for others in our community to share an event that both St. Joseph’s Board members and Veterans found particularly entertaining and meaningful.
The Board of Directors
“It’s exactly 2 days after our trip to Rose Hill, and my spiritual bank is still full, from our trip. Today is the day, that we must present our improv routine, to the Board of Directors, up the hill at the Inpatient facility of St. Joes. Our set is polished, and ready to go. I’m reminded of the weeks we spent working on our craft at the Pendragon Theater in town. Doctor O., Alison (Director at the Pendragon), and Joe (Professor & Improv Teacher) have all been molding us, into lean, mean, improv reciting machines. They really helped us, and taught us, what it means to commit to something you say you’re going to do. Before coming to St. Joes, my life was in shambles. I couldn’t commit to the most basic of things for my health and wellness, let alone show up for life on life’s terms. My whole life was being ran on FEAR (FORGET EVERYTHING AND RUN). When things got hard, and life got uncomfortable, I would look for the nearest exit. Fast forward to my arrival at St. Joes Veterans Facility, and my first meeting with Doctor O. For Some reason or another Doctor O. saw great promise in me, and she helped to organize some of the scattered thoughts in my head, due to my daily battle with Depression and Anxiety. I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. I think it was safe to say, I was a hot mess. She suggested I get involved with a group she would be starting up, and that it would help with mindfulness and the racing thoughts I had. I’m so glad that I said yes, because it was the beginning of the healing process, I now call my recovery (an active change in attitudes and behaviors daily). Going to the Pendragon every Wednesday came with its own set of challenges, I had to learn patience, acceptance, how to work with others, and how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. There were days I wanted to throw in the towel, and say I’m done with it all, but in those moments of doubt, and uncertainty, my greatest moments of growth and change started to manifest. For me to truly live, a part of my ego had to die. I began to accept that I had made a commitment to see this group through to its conclusion, the good days and the not so good days. Moving forward, it’s 30 minutes till show time up the hill, Doctor O. gathers us together in the conference room to go over last-minute routines. We all get into the van, and we make our journey to the meeting up top. One of my peers is really getting into character, he’s already making believe we’re riding in a limo and getting dropped off at our Broadway show, I can’t help but laugh, everyone is one cohesive unit, excited for our ten-minute presentation. We arrive up top at the Inpatient facility and make our way up to the board conference room. As we walk in, I immediately notice the plate of cookies, I looooooooove cookies. After getting settled in, and introducing ourselves to the board, they open their meeting with a moment of prayer, in which I was very humbled to witness, it let me know that the decision makers in that room truly cared about everyone who goes through the doors at St. Joes. We expected to perform after their meeting, but plans changed, and it was decided that we would be presenting first, complete curveball, but good thing we trained for this very situation. We began our skit, in which we wowed the audience, you would think we were pros. There was so much talent in one room, by the end of our show we got a round of applause that could be heard all the way in Lake Placid. Mission Accomplished! Everything we learned paid off. I left the meeting with a new sense of self-worth and a renewed sense of pride. I discovered in my new-found improv Family. Oh yeah and a couple cookies for the ride back home.”