That elusive “Window of opportunity”

Working with people in crisis, you will often hear the phrase “window of opportunity” what this means is that every so often that person that you are trying to support has come to accept something needs to change, they are receptive to take a risk and make some changes. 

After working in this field for over 20+ years, every day my peers, colleagues, from drugs, housing services or the voluntary organising offing drop in’s, offering respite from the cold,  or who provide free food, hot drinks, or replenish clothing are there constantly knocking on these peoples windows, trying to engage, hoping that one day, they will open their window and let them in and when that time arises they all will and do go above and beyond to help that person. 

However, the real challenge is once the window is open, it’s keeping it open, and let me be clear, that the person who first opened that window, has to help keep the window open too.

Familiy members, friends, staff or volunteers cannot force the windows from outside, as they have to be opened from within.  There are many reasons why people might decide to bolt their windows shut or refuse to open them, this could be fear, a lifetime of rejection, a cycle of addiction that has become someones comfort blanket what ever the reason, its reason enough for them to lock out the world. 

For those who dare open their windows, it might be they are sick of the cold, they are sick of their addictions, they are sick of causing harm or distress to others, they are sick of prison, or they are just sick of the cycle, the lifestyle that has become their life, what ever the reason, it doesn’t really matter, but what does matters is that they are receptive to taking a risk, trusting the staff but more importantly themselves. 

I feel privileged to be able to work alongside some amazing people, who themselves were locked in their own prisons, but who took the courage to open their windows and keep them open, the same people that are there day in a day out reaching out, knocking on other peoples windows hoping that one day, that person might let them in or to all the others, who want to help, because they simplly care.

Some days are tough when someone’s window that was once opened, has closed and this is a tough pill to swallow for those people trying to help.

To all my peers, colleagues, too all the families who’s mission in life is to help others or a loved one , I just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU for never giving up and never give in.

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