Sidewalk Ghosts / Articles: An Open Confession

I’m a little conflicted in thought today. Uplifted in most parts, yet burdened by a sub-emotion that has been nagging at me for the past 24 hours…

…An ache that has crept into my heart pending a few street exchanges yesterday—conversations that have hovered over my soapbox of optimism like a figurative haze of doubt; a doubt not of the growth potential of Operation-365 or of the united community that we are forming, but rather, a ripple to my notion of the sustainable and self-advocated point of view that 365 suggests. Namely, the premise that, no matter who we are, or what our situation, we all have something meaningful to contribute. The very core to my dream in regard to what we can become as individuals.

For three years we have met 100s of strangers. People who have randomly entered into our lives through the stream of content that 365 has offered. You’ve seen photos, read articles, accepted challenges, and have been uplifted (I hope) by the many comments that have been shared. An awakened community has and continues to grow. A people who are willing to look beyond the first impression, and a people who are open to at least ponder the reasons motivating the actions of others.

I did not even know their names– two individuals who from the corner of my eye, and at two distinctively different locations, walked into my life yesterday. I did not solicit any conversation, nor did I profile in any way. I was just in the same space at the same time. Under alcohol rich breath one says, “I like my meat white…” (referring to sexual conquest and the price of paid sex). The other, after calling me the guy with the camera, “I’ve got weed for sale.” Followed per my, “No thank you,” the response was something that sounded pretty close to (and in a derogatory tone), “Then how about you just give me some of your money!”

Article day 445On both occasions, a dark feeling engulfed me. Not one that threatened my physical safety, but one that began an ache that crept into my heart and hazed me in doubt. A pain that was one part fear, one part protective rage (I’m a father and any perverse sexual remark to womanhood is grounds for self-defense of my family) and two parts, get thee away from me ye fiend of evil.

Could it be that there is true Evil about us? Is it plausible that even though we are all of like-wombed birth, and were all at one point equally innocent, that perhaps we can grow to be inherently dark in spirit?

Reflections that break my very heart to explore, but, non-the-less, emotion that would prove me an absolute liar if I dismiss as actual feelings. And even though, in both situations, there was no guile in my intent, I choose to quickly withdraw myself from both exchanges and since the experience I have contemplated the deeper meaning of the interactions.

1000s of people have expressed to me that we are all God’s children. So how is it that I can want to escape from two of them, and now freed, why is it that they still have a hold on my peaceful self? I ponder more and an answer begins to enter my head.

It is not my responsibility to change the world, and there is nothing I can do to correct the two strangers of above note. That is up to them and as children of the same God (if that is your belief), they have the freedom to choose and are accountable for they’re own actions. With this examination, the question becomes quite personal (even painfully so). I must look at myself– the offendee.

No fair, foul! What kind of restitution is that? They hit you and now you have to look within?

Wait! Wait! Don’t get bugged with me. I have a point. I am not condoning the offending actions of two who are not radiating peace. I am simply working toward self-healing. To carry the offense placed upon me would only serve to harden my heart toward the world in general—possibly even crippling me into type-casting all who are similar in outward appearance to the two very two persons who placed this burden on my shoulders.

Now I promise that I am not condoning the words of these two darker perspectives of humanity, nor am I advocating an acceptance of the results of their deeds. That I assure you is not the case. Should I have witnessed, or had place to save anyone from acted out acts of any kind, I would do my part as an active participant in protecting anyone in harm’s way of the aforementioned accounts. But again, to carry a generalized perspective would be equally harmful to society.

This life is paved with a tricky web of decisions; endless choices that are all directed by a complex make up of the experience and chemistry that is the sum whole of each and every individual walking planet Earth. I wish I had a general answer to why we are as we are, but I don’t. None of us really do, and the day you run across anyone who says my way or the highway, I suggest you run for the hills. But one thing the years of 365 has proven is that whatever the interaction may be, one fact is undeniably assured… we all bleed the same red.

With this comes great joy in our safe and happy places. But equally relevant is the contrary—we are still human, even when the light is lost. So to my two offenders, I forgive you, for I must. To not do so would be to contribute to the very devaluation of society that Operation-365 is fighting against—something that I am just not willing to do.

Talk soon my good friends,

Richard

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