Cory Chiasson, a former TWLOHA intern, recently joined Chad Moses from our team on a trip to Australia. The two participated in a tour of secondary schools in and around Melbourne, bringing our message and mission to young people there. Below, Cory shares a bit about his experience. We hope you enjoy his words.
As I write this, I realize the opportunity I have. I could slide open the translucent blinds to my left, and stare into the wonder that is Los Angeles. Mind you, it’s only Century Boulevard, representing major hotels, airport shuttles and an excessive amount of advertising for car parks. But this is beside the point. The point is, I have the ability to choose. I can choose to go explore or I can stay inside this decorated (and well air-conditioned) hotel room.
I just returned from the beautiful state of Victoria, Australia where Chad and I joined up with my friend Joel and a diligent crew from Gravity Tour. We had the honor of adventuring across Australia, bringing a message of hope and a reminder of the importance of one’s own personal journey to schools in Melbourne and the surrounding areas.
It was quite the experience, going to these different schools, both private and public, bringing up the taboo issues that TWLOHA deals with on a daily basis. The beautiful thing about it all was how well we were received by the teachers and the students who attended our workshops and presentations. Topics of addiction, depression, self-injury and suicide are definitely not in the list of Top Ten things spoken about in campus halls. And you certainly won’t find them linked in the trending topics on your Twitter homepage. You’d be lucky if you heard them discussed on the evening news or Wake Up America. (Do you guys have that? Sorry. I live in an igloo up in Canada.)
At each stop on this tour, Chad asked the students to close their eyes and raise their hands if they knew someone or if they themselves had struggled with at least one of these issues. And at every stop nearly everyone raised their hand to acknowledge that they did indeed know someone. When they opened their eyes, they realized how strikingly similar we all are. Chad then asked them to raise their hands if they had conversed with someone within the last week about one of these issues. It was heartbreaking to see the few hands that went up for that question. It proved how quiet we find ourselves when these issues come up.
This past week I started reading this Italian author named Dante’s book, The Divine Comedy. Well, I say that loosely. I’ve gotten about four pages into the intro, which was written by a fellow named John Ciardi. He said something that caught my eye, and I’d like to quote him here:
“The true mark of any writer is in the choices he makes. Having written three words, he must choose a fourth. Having written four, he must choose a fifth. Nothing happens into a good poem; everything must be chosen into it.”
We are the writers, the authors, and the poets of our own story. We have the choice to choose. We can be a people who wish for better things, who hope that our story will be written only by the stars, or we can wake up, dream awake and live out what we deserve to be.
We have to choose to live.
We have to choose to ask for help when we reach the end of ourselves.
You deserve to write that fifth word, even the sixth. Once you write the first six, maybe the following words, the words that define your life and who you will become, may not be so hard to write.
You deserve to be given the chance to choose.
You deserve the chance to share. When you choose to share, you may just find something magical start to happen in your heart.
Much love to all of you,