Asking the “Big Questions” in Tempe
By Bobby Beverly
We commemorated Suicide Prevention week at Tempe Group this week with a night devoted to inspiration and the “Big Questions” facing us all. Stacey Jay began group with introductions by the youth and volunteers with our typical declaration of preferred gender pronouns, as well as personal insights into what motivates each one of us on a daily basis. Family, friends, spirituality, and our own Stacey Jay were cited as personal inspirations; the common theme being that each of us has something to tap into as our source of strength. If our motivation was a person, we were challenged to let them know and “pay it forward” so to speak. Additionally, we each took 5 of the “Sources of Strength” cards to keep at the ready so that if anyone we encounter displays signs they may be in danger of harming themselves, that we have an appropriate resource for them.
We were lucky enough to be joined by a guest speaker Brian Kemp-Schlemmer of City Square Church in Phoenix. Invited by regular Tempe volunteer Nora, Brian brought with him a message of the strength that is found in the reality that binds us all: our shared humanity. Why am I here? What is my purpose? What path should I choose? To help find our own answers to these questions, Brian encouraged all of us to heed the voice within but supplement it with a spiritual discipline whether that is Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, or whatever philosophy speaks to us. The importance is, according to Brian, that we recognize the underlying message of all faiths and that is to love everyone, beginning with ourselves. The message was welcomed and received by the youth, who know a thing or two about the importance of cultivating a love for ourselves in spite of a foundation that might not have nurtured it.