The Good Life Institute, LLC » Counseling for Couples, Individuals, and Families

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A Story of Hope

DetroitWhen people think of vacation, many think of Hawaii or Mexico, or somewhere that is free from all life troubles.  Recently, I took a vacation to Detroit.  Not the most popular vacationing site especially in recent years due to the economic circumstance and urban decay.  However, my brother and I decided that if I was in Detroit, I needed to see what it was all about.  I have always been the curious type when it comes to people and culture and need to see all there is to see if I can.  He knew this, so we set off on an adventure.  We drove to downtown which still has some magnificent buildings, but many crumbling ones as well.  There were pockets of new construction and pockets of the destruction of the last few years.  We drove around neighborhoods where there were rows of burnt out homes.  On some streets among the burnt out crumbling homes, there was one still standing trying to make it.   Flowers were planted, lights were on, lawns were mowed, cars were parked as if everything was A.O.K.  I was completely fascinated by the urban decay as many have been in recent years.   I was even more emotional for those who were still among the rubble, those who were trying, those who had not given up hope.

For those who don’t know, Detroit is auctioning off some of these homes for dirt cheap…$1000 bucks can buy you an old home.  You have to promise to make it nice and keep it occupied and there are some other requirements.  But, $1000?  That tells you the state of the home, the neighborhood, the whole situation.      

And yet, there are still those who are living in the neighborhood with their cars parked, and their lights on, and their flowers planted.

Now, I am a therapist and teach people about changing their behaviors and challenging their negative thoughts.  I help people improve their insight and understand their relationships.  But, for those who don’t know, I started down the path to be a therapist by recognizing patterns and behaviors in the human condition as a whole.  The Detroit story is so interesting to me and so very sad ….  I think about each one of those homes having been someone’s home at some time and wondering what story each home holds.

So what does this have to do with therapy?  Each of those homes with flowers and cars represented hope.  Sometimes, life, it seems, is full of rubble.  FULL of crumbling debris with little evidence for something different.  Yet, when we keep going, keep coping, keep enduring, life will change.  It will.  It has to.  It always has.  This is sometimes the thought that wields me forward when I don’t want to take another step.  Life will take a step no matter what; I can choose to fight it or go with it.

After several years of urban decay, people are coming forward and making changes in the Detroit Story.  Homes are being renovated, buildings are being built, and life is moving forward.  I saw the hope among the rubble and believe that hope can lead to beautiful futures when we let it.  The story hasn’t stopped; it continues.  What has happened is a chapter in it’s history, but new chapters are being written.  If you paid attention to the destruction, you may miss the signs of those new chapters.  We all have negative chapters in our history and those chapters can close and make way for more hopeful ones to be written.  At times, it feels like a new chapter will never be written.  But, life is always moving, always changing, always going.  And, for us, life takes us with us.  We need to remain curious to see just what chapter will be written next.

Until next time,


(photo credit: “DetroitSkyline” by Shawn Wilson – Photograph taken by Shawn Wilson using a Canon PowerShot A70 Copied from English Wikipedia.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

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