Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2016 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
The last time Cleveland won a championship, I did not care. I was three years old, in a smaller town, where people held a stereotypical view of the big city up north. You’ve heard it, the mistake on the lake.
When I found out I was moving here in 1987, I cried. It was bored into my brain that Cleveland was a nasty place to live. I asked God to please show me beauty in Cleveland.
It did not take long.
Soon, seven points of beauty proved to be antidepressants in this city. Today there is sheer joy in the streets. Cleveland is proud of our NBA Cavaliers.
The beauty in Cleveland is in the breath-taking Lake Erie. One of the largest bodies of water on the planet, it is a peace-giving, life-renewing, place of rest. Walking along its shores fills me with wonder and calm. The people who walk there are friendly, and I have not noticed anyone doing anything to hurt another person or the landscape.
The beauty of Cleveland is found in people’s front yards. If you are a Clevelander, have you taken the time to look? Little beauty spots sprinkle the lawns – flowers, trees, memorials, tokens of faith, flags of honor and sports’ teams. There is an aura here of pride that shows up in front lawns.
The beauty of Cleveland is found in its hidden treasures. A quick drive through the city may leave you with an impression that we do not have a lot of money, and our tastes are lacking. I only say this because privately owned places of business can look a little dingy on the outside. Gazing only at the superficial, one might assume that business is flailing and the owners do not care. Wrong.
Step into those places and see for yourself the pride people take in their hard work. Go in the store that needs paint, and where the outside light is dim. Inside you will likely find a beauty spot you never expected to see. My experience has been, for the most part, walking in to orderly, well-run, eager-to-serve ma and pa shops. I see a single woman starting her own dry-cleaning business, two friends excitedly taking over a hardware store, and franchise owners who greet their customers personally. Is Cleveland perfect? You can choose to glance at what you do not like, or to study the real heart of the city which is beautiful.
The beauty of Cleveland is found in its park system. Metroparks is one of the best park layouts in the country. Its walking, running, riding, and horse-back trails are stunning in any weather. Trees loom over valleys and homes, surround rivers, and are filled with birds. Sights, sounds, and smells are invigorating to the soul.
The beauty of Cleveland is found in its Fine Arts. Playhouse Square is second only to Broadway. We have a world-class orchestra. Our museums house rare and precious art by the Masters.
The beauty of Cleveland is hope. Each year, resident sports fans say, “Maybe next year.” Believeland has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We have the Republican National Convention coming next month. We have a surging enthusiasm.
And now WE HAVE A CHAMPIONSHIP!
The truest beauty in Cleveland is its people. They are the pulse, the beat energizing this beautiful city. If you do not live here, and you think you are a sports fan, try this on for size:
Our downtown closed today. The mayor declared a holiday. Businesses all across the metropolitan area are letting employees leave to go to the victory parade. Radio stations are talking of nothing else. One major television network is devoting the entire day to the Cavaliers and our city’s celebration. I drove down the street earlier this morning and do not think I saw one person without a Cavs shirt or hat. Cavs flags are on cars, porches, and doors. People are talking of little else.
As many as 800,000 to a million people are expected at the parade today. Let’s keep this in perspective – Cleveland’s population is less than 500,000. Traffic is jammed from 30 miles out as the parade kicks off in about an hour. People were lining the street as early as 7:00 last night. The Lakefront airport is fully booked. Busses are taking up to four hours to get to downtown and returning for more eager, patient riders.
In short, this city has gone wild with joy!
Proudly wearing my Cavs t-shirt, I was asked if I am a Cavs fan. I answered the way I think many people around here feel, “I am a fan of Cleveland.”
If you have not lived here, you do not know the meaning of die-hard fans. Watch today on TV, listen to the commentators. I guarantee they will mention our amazing fans. That is because fans of Cleveland make up this city.
And that is beautiful.
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.