From the cotton fields of Georgia to the San Francisco bay, I have met with some amazing people this year. I sang and spoke for inpatients on forensic lock-down units, high school students in Canada, and veterans in the South. We are all in this together, trying to find our way home. I strive to humanize mental illness and addiction, because we must replace fear with understanding. When the human connection is made, everything good is possible. When we touch hearts, the mind follows.
I write this from a coffee shop alongside the road that never ends. The Montana Serenity in the Storm tour kept getting extended with more towns and cities, keeping me out on the road for three months. What an amazing experience it all has been. From the kids on the Hi-Line saying they didn't know there was hope before I came and that they no longer felt alone, to the sponsors who said they could not have been happier. So many special moments came together to form a momentum of goodness. An amazing chapter in my life that I will never forget. And, it is just beginning.
This tour is off to an amazing start, having performed in Butte, Great Falls, Fort Benton, Havre, and Malta, Montana. As I've sang and spoke in these places, I am reminded of the connection that we all share. We all hurt, to varying degrees. There is much pain in this world, oftentimes wrapped 'round in fear. But light can pierce any darkness if compassion opens the door. Every human being, no matter who they are, needs an ounce of hope to remain and flourish in this world. Hope is the great translator between human beings, and we get it from one another. I am exhausted right now following 3 events in 3 days, but I rest easy knowing that the more we say the words mental illness, bipolar disorder, and alcoholism, the more we humanize them. And when the world realizes that mental illness is an issue of humanity, we will enter the era of understanding. And with that comes love.