Open, honest and informed, three principles that have become grounding benchmarks to the messages shared during our 365 meetings.
And with so many interviewed thus far, I’m sure we have read entries that strike to the core of our beliefs, as well as experienced emotions of confusion or rejection to the words of some.
Feelings that I empathize with you in owning, for each day I ride an emotional roller coaster as I circulate within the world around me in throwing my acknowledgments to all that I can lock eyes with.
Many opt to not engage with me, turning a head down or verbally shrugging me off. An accepted byproduct of reaching out, but the refreshing part of the experiment is having the opportunity to meet the so many amazingly diverse people who have engaged with us.
Not all have allowed their photos taken or to be interviewed, many have just shared conversation and life perspectives with me. So as painful as the rejections are… I have grown to expect the four to six brush-offs I receive on every outing. They are bearable, only a few times have I felt threatened or unsafe. What is impactful is that over the course of 365, regardless of person, faith, view, or positive or negative outlook, one glimmer of hope is universally pushing through, both from those we have met and from those who have chosen to remain anonymous.
All accept or at least acknowledge, “We Are All In This Thing Together.”
A confession… today I started with a lowness of heart. It’s hot, I’m tired from a long week, my day is packed, I’m overwhelmed by a seemingly endless list of tasks for the week to come, and in thirty minutes I’m teaching a spinning class and have not yet made acquaintance with a new friend. (“OK, Richard, we know you like to ride your bike”).
Lastly, I’ve not spent much time with my family for a while, and looking into their supportive eyes, I can see the 365 countdown happening as we mark the under sixty days to completion of this leg of 365… more surprises to come in 2013.
Even now, as I am writing of this mornings meeting with stranger now friend Vicki, I sit typing on laptop through the sound of my daughter’s laugher as she bakes cakes with friends and my wife. And, as I pause to visualize what I am missing, I self-review the positive changes I have seen in my family over the last 308 days.
I see a daughter who is aware, engaged and concerned for the world’s people, as well as the planet. A wife, that through her felt sacrifice of time with me, is excited by every entry as she too gets closer to the world around her, and a set of friends and colleagues who ceaselessly encourage me to go forward in the journey as they too open their eyes to those around them.
Readers, Vicki, thank you for allowing me this bit of narrative therapy, for in it I realize what is of the greatest importance to us all, that being our family. Dysfunctional, lost, found, adopted or as self-created as it may be. Whatever the place in life or state of emotion, I’m pretty certain that the basic need to belong… to be accepted… and to be loved is the unifying and edifying award we all desire.
And even though 365 has taken four to six hours of daily commitment from me, much of it coming from personal time, I cannot exclude the blessings in has brought into my life, and I hope yours.
“Why do I share this?” you might ask.
Trust me, I’m not grandstanding… I’m listening and observing.
I said in the beginning of 365, “Let’s see what happens!”
Well… we’re deep into the project now, things are sharpening into focus and I want to publish a couple of observations that are worthy of noting: 1) My jitters in approaching strangers has not gone away, at time they are even more powerful than at the beginning of 365; 2) The majority of people speak of the ‘Golden Rule’ of loving thy neighbor as thyself; 3) Many share a dream for a people who respect one another, accepting them for who they are, and 4) The greater majority of people have a relationship with God lingering in the depths of their bosoms, and are resolute in seeking some kind of better world.
So with jitters created by three early morning rejections I approach Vicki in admitting that it’s been a scary and uplifting thing reaching out to the over 1800 people I have approached to date.
“We are in this thing together,” I say.
And in response Vicki bravely opens her heart to what drives her to loving her neighbors in quoting from the Old Testament:
The Second Book Of Chronicles, Chapter 7, Verse 14
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
“…That is my dream,” Vicki expresses.
“We need to pray for our nation… to admit our sin, all of the liberalism, the way our children are fed this sexual freedom, and the words to the music they listen too are so harmful.
We need to recognize that what we are doing is so far from the way God originally meant it. And, at we have to understand that at this point we are not too far gone… if we can reach to him for guidance and forgiveness… in praying to him to heal our nation… And if we all did that… he would.
It’s really scary what President Obama is doing to our country. I truly fear for us… I fear for our children and our grandchildren. We’ve created a place that is not safe for them, and they are not being taught about God… They are not being taught about their creator.
So, I’m afraid we will self-destruct at some point. Where we might be when we self-destruct…? I don’t know.
I’m afraid of this Obama-Care thing. I think it is going to totally devastate our country.
We’ve lost the patriotism we had when my grandparents, my parents and even I enjoyed as a young girl. We are becoming more and more of a melting pot and are loosing our identity. Along the way we will no longer be called the United States, or so to speak. We will just be this huge country that anyone and everyone will be allowed into… no matter what… and we will be so in debt.
It’s just really scary.”
Maybe some of you agree with Vicki, maybe some of you do not. But here is what resonates. Vicki is not speaking of her self. Her outlook is towards the children and their place in the world to come. Sure, she expresses a few tremendous fears and worries for the patriotism of America. But if you were standing with me in meeting her, I’m positive you would agree with the integrity of character that she walks with.
Vicki speaks of society, of helping our youth to look towards a loving God, and in her critique of the culture and government we live in, her message is unifying, that we should listen to the instincts of our hearts and teach our children to walk in the light of a higher power.
Vicki, thank you for the few minutes you shared today. We hear your dream and will do what we can to pass it on.
Sorry if I am sounding too religious, not my intent, but the following closure just seems appropriate in honoring Vicki.
May we all be healed.