What a wonderful event… Imagine a place where all walks of life of people came together with a bright sense of human helpfulness and kindness; a place where the elderly mingled with the young and each ones’ music mingled with the other. Imagine a place where a spirit of goodwill and love seemed to swirl about the air like an aromatic breeze spreading a feeling of true tolerance and peace. It just so happens that this imaginary place was REAL and the event was called The Summer SOULstice Festival prepared by and held at Frontline Foundations in Chesterton, IN. The wonderful event was created to support all those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. The event was held on Saturday, June 24, 2017 from 5pm to 8pm, and was held in the midst of an absolutely perfect summer day with blue skies and an amazing breeze. Whether it was God Himself or Mother Nature, it was if the heavens opened up to shine down in approval of our purpose. At 5:15pm I arrived with a long-time friend of mine in recovery and we remarked at what a great turn-out it was already. As we made our way to the back called “The Conduit” named so by Frontline where the live music was set up, we both commented at the amazing variety of people present; a variety of people all listening to a variety of music. All the bands and performers played excellent shows pouring their hearts out in lyrics about their recovery and experience for all to hear. Several signs could be seen posted around the area which read “NO ALCOHOL PERMITTED” which meant we wouldn’t have to deal with any drunken brawls later that night. BBQ pulled-pork sandwiches and sides were provided for just $10 by pit-master Brian Powers which really hit the spot on such a beautiful day. All proceeds went to help fund Frontline.
I began speaking with a woman by the name of Judy and I asked if there was particular reason she had attended, and she began telling me how three and a half years ago, her daughter, Christina, had died of a drug overdose. She was 33 years old. It was later that I realized I was speaking with Judy Reales who Frontline had interviewed on www.ArtisticRecovery.com about her story, tragedy, and her loss. It is a very compelling and heart-breaking story, but one that we all need to open our ears to and hear. I asked another couple what brought them out to the event. The woman replied that they have had family members affected by this disease of addiction. She said, “We all see it as a problem. Everybody knows it’s a problem, but if we do nothing about it, it will always stay a problem”. And she is ABSOLUTELY right! And that is why there was such a spirit of helping and togetherness. This event and the people who attended were proof that not everybody will simply lie down and bury their head in the sand and pretend there is no problem. I was reminded of this when a man asked my friend how was she doing that night and my friend replied, “Blessed”. Then he replied, “I’m blessed by the best with no time for stress”. What a wonderful thing to say to remind us that people are recovering and there is hope.
Several days later when thinking back on the event, I was reminded of my daughter’s favorite song played at the end of a very popular children’s movie. The song is “What a Wonderful World” performed by Louis Armstrong. The lyrics reminded me of the spirit of that night, but one really jumped out at me and seemed to sum up the night for me. He sings, “The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces of the people passing by. I see friends shaking hands saying ‘How do you do’. What they’re really saying is I love you”. If only the rest of the world were such a place. In short, who’s to say what each person’s personal reasons were for attending? Many were there to honor fallen loved ones, and others were there to stay plugged in to their recovery. But one thing is for certain, we were all there to stand up to a problem and be on the front line of the war that has taken too many lives and affected even more; the juggernaut called drug and alcohol addiction. But we all showed up as proof that there is help, there is hope, and there is recovery. It truly was “a wonderful event”.
By Rob K.