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Friday, December 16, 2011

The SOLACE Project

SOLACE, Surviving Our Loss and Continuing Everyday, is in the first stages of planning a permanent memorial/healing area somewhere in Scioto County. The mission of this support group is to reach people who have lost loved ones to drugs, to help the addicted make changes to their lives and to prevent future pain in the addict and family members.

Solace is a word that can have many meanings such as "comfort in grief, misfortune or misery; alleviation of grief or anxiety; also that which cheers." The word connotes rest, relaxation, or thoughtful solitude that soothes the mind and spirit. The history of the word traces roots from Latin solari "to console, soothe" and Greek hilaros "merry."

The SOLACE project intends not only to memorialize those lost to drugs but also to provide a place of respite where the entire county can experience an environment conducive to relaxation and healing. SOLACE does not intend for the project to be a place to magnify a desperate condition or to offer an altar for grief. Instead, the project will be an oasis from stress and anxiety and a tool for educating people about living a life of joy and hope.

SOLACE intends the project to incorporate features that offer valuable tools for visitors to "take home with them" and assist them in dealing with life's issues. We must strive to help those seeking solace to reach their highest potentials and eliminate their pains by making them aware of how to "work with life" in a productive, transforming way. With our hectic lives, all of us could use some assistance every now and then.

SOLACE's initial planning meeting recognized and stressed the importance of natural elements in a "concrete" environment. Both mental and physical health are enhanced when people have access to such areas that provide both positive design and meaningful symbols. These places must be easily accessible and properly maintained. And, the most effective areas simply blend with the environmental setting and employ multiple natural elements. SOLACE is considering the construction of such a healing area to benefit all.

No matter how large or how small, the project will offer a retreat or a refuge. SOLACE understands that design and construction can bring health and positively affect the spirits of people and places. In Scioto County, most residents have been mired in a spiritual rut because they have seen the decline of the area, a decline from the posterity of many decades past to severe poverty, joblessness, and addiction that exists now.

Complaints and negative comments about the area match the vast numbers of empty houses and vacant businesses. All native adults of the area feel the prevailing mood of depression and hopelessness, and, unfortunately, many pass this on to their children. Their children grow up, and those offspring who remain in the area (many leave upon high school and college graduation) spawn a brood that naturally grows conditioned to the same "losing" attitude. The cycle of negativity becomes complete.

We must use our present resources, no matter how scarce, to build a new spirit that drives positive vision. I think about the California gold rush days of the mid-1800s when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. Thousands of "forty-niners" flocked to the state in a frenzied attempt to "strike it rich."

Horace Greeley the of New York Tribune wrote of the times:

"Fortune lies upon the surface of the earth 
as plentiful as the mud in our streets. 
We look for an addition within the next four years equal
to at least One Thousand Million of Dollars to the gold in circulation."

But, few miners who did live through the journey to California ever made much money. They never realized their dreams of becoming rich. In fact, most of the fortunes were made by those selling needed goods and services to the forty-niners. Most who had made the trip chose to stay, however, and the unique blend of populations that California is known for today can be directly traced to the Gold Rush years.

Gold was a magnet that brought people--
dynamic, energetic people--from all over the world.

Does Scioto County Have a "Magnet" of Attraction?

Scioto County certainly isn't experiencing a gold rush. Instead, it has been the site of the Hillbilly Heroin Rush. Ruthless individuals, armed with prescriptions of opiates, recognized this fertile ground of hopelessness. They hurried here to make their fortunes by preying upon the people eager to escape "Scioto misery" or eager to make some quick, easy dollars. 

Many willing clients fell prey to false promises of relieving "the pain," and many young  innocents who were starved for "kicks" and adventure succumbed in the deadly deluge of pills. These are the people SOLACE represents. The group is the voice of all those residents, now gone, that still resounds in the hills and hollows of Scioto County. The voices of the beloved victims say, "You must help others make changes, and you must prevent others from feeling the pain." Their pleas never stop because more mothers and fathers are losing children and more children are losing parents.

Scioto County can greatly profit not by selling "drug miners" their needed goods and services like the Californians of the 1800s did but by eliminating the defeated spirit of those who reside here. We have a lot of "cleaning up" to do. Enriching the spirit of an entire population requires massive efforts of support by many people who dedicate themselves to positive thinking. 

What is the "magnet" of Scioto County? 
Initiative is a must as is cooperation and tremendous energy. 
Personally, I see the need for projects that lift a new Scioto spirit.

In order to accomplish the SOLACE project, the group depends upon grass roots movement. Many folks support efforts without expending energy of motion and putting themselves into action. No dream, no matter how positive, can materialize without action, without hard work. We need you to step up and help the group. By doing so, you are not only helping SOLACE but also helping yourself and others. 

Cooperation and combined effort produces a boost in collective spirit. Belief is confirmed as people work together to achieve a common goal. As with any dream or project, SOLACE will hear a million reasons for not building their plans or for not accentuating anything that deals with drug abuse. Just remember, those naysayers may have bought into the old Scioto spirit and may be perfectly happy to ignore needed change.

SOLACE is lifting spirits all over Ohio and the nation. Now, they are planning to build something permanent that can bring solace to anyone, not just to those suffering from tragedies of drug abuse. 

The group wants their project to be open and available for those...

* Feeling some grief, misfortune or anxiety,
* Needing some rest, relaxation, or solitude, or
* Requiring a lift of cheer for a deflated spirit.

This writing is my tool of request. Please comment below, e-mail, or phone to say you are onboard. The group doesn't care whether that means giving any particular skill or gift you possess. It means that you are willing to take some action beyond saying "I agree" to realize this dream. Big dreams require big response. Thanks so much.

Frank Thompson

"If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, 
let them not be written upon the heart. 
The spirit should never grow old."  
- John Kenneth Galbraith
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