Mill Fairbairn is a mental health advocate, lesser known but no less determined than U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy. (sponsor of HR 3717, “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis”) He’s also a book character. Like many advocates, a crisis struck close to home and propelled Mill into the fray. Rep. Murphy introduced HR 3717 in 2013, and unfortunately, it’s “still just a bill.”
Will my letter to my congressman make a difference? I want to be more like these two gentlemen, so I’m going to do something I don’t often do. I am going to presume the answer is yes. I am going to set my butt down and write a letter supporting HR 3717. Not just clicking to sign a letter and speed it on its way, but composing each word. A letter from Julie–author, social worker, and parent. What a concept.
It’s not that difficult to be an advocate. Even something as basic as pointing out your child’s strengths to their teacher is advocacy. We all serve as advocates, motivated by concern for our loved ones. The challenge lies in identifying the compelling issue(s) which will drive us beyond the needs of our families to those who have nothing to give us. We can then make time to reflect on where to cultivate our patch of passion in the garden of justice. We can. Being intentionally goal-oriented and focused on a particular organization can be helpful in moving out of our private space and into the complex world of injustice and problems awaiting solutions.
For me, the challenge of more thoughtfully and consistently listening to local and national news was my starting point. This week a variety of stories on National Public Radio captured my imagination: the U.S.-Iranian nuclear program talks, the mental health system that may have failed the Germanwings pilot. I’ll continue, in the next few months, to comment on my progress in becoming more aware of political issues. The goal is personal for me: to become a better writer and Christian citizen.
I admire my book character Mill for his natural bent toward political advocacy. He seems intuitively to know what issues should take priority and how to persuade others of their importance. Another gifted advocate you’ll want to know.
Quench Your Thirst for Meaning–Read.