Ron Thompson is a fascinating guy — an artist with a pen, a poet with words. His video, Drawn to Forgiveness, incorporates both of these strengths. It is about his journey from “a dark and angry place” to forgiveness.
Ron and his production partner, Sharon Taylor are from Horizon House in Philadelphia. Horizon House serves adults with psychiatric or developmental disabilities, drug and alcohol addictions, and those that have experienced homelessness.
Ron’s video is part of the collaboration between OC87 Recovery Diaries and public television station WHYY. The partners teamed up with first-time filmmakers to create a new series of videos that tell inspiring journeys of recovery.
I felt that I was angry at everyone. I was so depressed. I felt like I was alone. I was unhappy.
Ron grew up in North Philadelphia with his parents, grandmother and younger sister. When Ron was nine years old, he started to experience a negative relationship with his parents. Anger and frustration took him to a dark place, which left him scared and angry at them.
I didn’t have any friends, I didn’t have any girlfriends back in the past. I didn’t have anyone because I was so alone and angry.
During Ron’s childhood, he discovered art could be a way of healing his anger.
When you do art, it heals your soul, what’s inside your heart. What you’ve been feeling and what you’ve been going through all this time.
It helps me a great deal, what I’ve been going through with my family, and I feel better doing art. It heals me. It’s like God taking away all your pain and all your problems and placing it on Him.
And it makes me feel good and better when I draw and sketch.
I like to draw certain things like trees, nature, that sort of thing. Houses. It’s like drawing a story around you. You see the future of yourself. I see my future – a nice person, that’s what I draw when I see myself. I see myself in that picture. Married, have a couple of kids. You know, house, career. I see myself in that.
In 2014, Ron sought the help of Horizon House to get his life in order.
I feel they help me. They support me every step of the way. And they want to see me succeed on getting me another job, on getting my life in order, and getting my career as a photographer and artist.
After receiving counseling at Horizon House, Ron learned how to deal with depression and anger. During group sessions he has shared his own experience with others.
I think my therapist was right. I must forget about stuff that happened in my life, and learn how to forgive myself through all those troubled times I’ve gone through.
Life is too short for being angry and depressed. Holding that anger inside, not telling anyone. That’s no good.
That’s why I always believe what my grandmother told me when she was alive. She always said, “Learn to forgive people. Don’t hate them. Just learn to forgive and learn to see the good in people.”
Ron, from Philadelphia, lives with a roommate in a supervised home and receives supports from Horizon House that promote his goals of independence. Ron regularly attends a young adult group, visits often with his family, works out at a gym, and is an active member of his church, where he is an usher every Sunday
Ron was recently accepted into the Center for Creative Works (CCW) in Wynnewood, PA., an arts-centric vocational program for adults with intellectual disabilities. At CCW, Ron will learn art making techniques, compile a personal art portfolio, and explore opportunities to exhibit and sell his works.
There are more videos in the OC87 Recovery Diaries and WHYY collaboration series. Watch them all here >>