Be the Sunshine

When I was asked to go to North Carolina to do a painting for their unit, I was so excited. This was the farthest I had ever been on a trip. Wow. Five hours on a plane.

The staff was there to greet me and so accommodating. I have never been so welcomed. One staff even played the piano while I painted – “Linus and Lucy” by David Benoit.

Being able to see how RI works in other states and units engrained more love of the job I do. This unit has a Southern way of doing things. Being a peer myself and seeing the heart of the peer concept right in front of me was a blessing. This reminded me of my roots and I could literally see and feel my purpose in the peer process. I was able to be proud of myself which brought me up. It reinforced how I felt in my own job as a peer.

The subject we picked is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It is unmistakable the stark black and white swirled stripes. Calendars all over the United States have shared its beauty.

While I work in a unit, I try to gather guests to help me paint or design. This unit had folks in and out all day for groups. So, I had people all day to chat with as I painted. The sayings and the literal brush strokes were given to me by those guests and the staff. One of the sayings suggested and that I added to the lighthouse mural is “When you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.”

Lucy Schwartz

Lucy is a Peer Recovery Specialist at RI International and has spread her mural magic in RI International crisis facilities across the United States.