When something is within your power, do it to the best of your abilities. And, above all things— exhibit compassion.
I received three letters recently asking me for help with gymnastics. I’ve subbed, guest lectured, guest coached, guest judged, and in general been a guest at a lot of gyms since I’ve started. Wonderful experiences in all. But, the one place I didn’t guest coach was in my old gym.
I heard that the boys there needed a substitute for a week. Other subs that really knew and know the boys, who were available on short notice, and have the necessary safety and technique are in short supply. I realized I could help. I’ve helped out at every other gym, why not my old one when they really needed it.
So I am going to be Peace in San Francisco for a week or a month as I am needed.
Personally, it will be the next big test. Be Peace in a town that has only known him as another person. To be there, in SF, only to love on these little boys as much as I could while I could, and to love on a city. A city that formerly was my home.
Now to get there.
This morning Bill treated me to breakfast. He and Paul had the only two seats left in the café. There are only two cafés in Alba, two places to eat period. This one was crowded, and why not, today was the Easter egg hunt in the town park. I stopped in this morning to talk to the Alba Volunteer Fire Fighters.
They, two big burly cowboys with mustaches and hats to match, were nice enough to let me freshen up in their sink…that is all they have. They bust their butt, come home covered in dirt from helping someone, and then they must pile into their own vehicles dirty? From a fire or a rainy night helping someone on the road? These men mean to serve. They still do it, still show up still smile, and still let a Peace Artist use their only bathroom.
So back to Bill. Bill and I were talking, jawing, generally getting into trouble with waitresses, and teasing the little girls dressed all pretty for the egg hunt. Bill told me how the cotton gin worked (which I’ve always wondered) and he spoke with authority, because he has built so many.
Bill paid kindly for my pancakes, though I never asked, that is just the kind of guy he is. You know that kind of guy, the one that will strike up a conversation in a restaurant with a complete stranger because it is kind to do so…even if he looks weird and has a stroller, with no kids, a cowboy hat and shorts. Bill was an amazing person.
Once on the road, I stuck out my thumb, and it only took 10 cars before someone picked me up, I hadn’t run 100 meters. People are good.
The kind folks, who picked me up, asked not to be named. But, they packed me, my giant cart into the back of their sedan, and said they would drive me all the way to Dallas— 97 miles…out of their way. You don’t believe me that people are good????
When I thanked him, a former rodeo bull-ridding (no kidding) cowboy, and his lovely wife and girl friend for 34 years, they said it wasn’t for me that they were doing it, they were doing it for the kids. They were on the way themselves to Wichita Falls. They were on the way to see their daughter.
To see their daughter who only months ago was walking along the road, and was struck by an old man. She is still in the hospital 6 months later, and has just begun to speak again. Do you think it was by coincidence that they pulled over to help me, and they were on the exact stretch of road (only a mile long) that I was on? I was their ability to help someone, help someone just like their daughter. They could see their neighbor as themselves.
They dropped me at an REI, where heartfelt hugs were exchanged, and hands shaken. In the car I tried to draw P., but it was very difficult down scruntched up in the backseat, on a bumpy country road.
At REI, I asked if I could leave my cart and things there, and they said yes. “Really??? Thank you.” I said. They said I could keep it there for a month if needed, and if I needed them to send it, I need only ask. Wow.
So I leave tomorrow. I will work only for love, work till I’m given shelter, and fast till I’m given food. I will continue to do what I have been doing, but in only one spot. And then I will return and continue on with my journey on the TX-LA border. The choice was simple, I could spend the next week(s) walking the open highway, days on end with out seeing a town, and loving on the few people I could meet. Or I could help these boys during this time, for compassion. For the children. And for me…to go to where I can do the greatest good at the moment.