Sunday, October 20, 2013

Do something

I’m sitting at a table with four complete strangers. There are beers and old shot glasses on the table. There is a lady to my right. She’s probably mid-40’s, I don’t know. I can’t tell. The chair right across from me is constantly rotating people. First a girl in her 20’s then another guy, then another girl; I didn’t really say much to any of them. To my left is a guy. He's early 20’s, heavy set, dark skin. To my left there is a girl in her 20’s; long, straight brown hair, very long skirt, kind of a hippie. She is on the floor, on her knees looking up at me and crying.
  Let me back up. I’m sure your first question is how did I get here. Well, like these stories often do, it started with a Facebook message. I was just outside Idaho Springs, CO when I got a message on Facebook from a lady named Dawn. She invited me to stay with her and her family for a few days if I needed to. What's her husband’s name? Anyways, we had been messaging and I agreed. Her husband worked at a mine in the mountains. On his way home from work, he stopped by to meet me. I could tell he was a little sketched out for me to go to his house. He wasn’t sure if I was stranger danger or not. He had two little kids and I think he was worried about that. He kept asking me if I had any weapons. He ended up going home to pick up his truck and to talk to his wife. I kept walking because I wasn’t quite to town yet.
He picked me up and asked me again if I had any weapons. I assured him that I didn’t. We went to his house. It was a good time. We BBQ later that night and the husband (why can’t I remember his name?) and I went out to meet some friends of his at a pub downtown. It was a brewery, and they had this thing that they called spent grain. Basically, when they are distilling the beer, it is the grain that is left over minus the bad things for goats. It’s this natural oats and water mixture. They gave me a bag of it, this big ice bag to take to the goat. I haveto tell you, that stuff was awesome! LeeRoy loved it. LOVED IT! It kept him hydrated because it had a lot of water in it and gave him all kinds of crazy energy.
The next day we made plans to go up to the top of Mt. Evans which wasn’t too far. Maybe a half-hour to 45 minute drive away. We drove to the top of Mt. Evens where we could see 100 miles in each direction. It was crazy! I looked over towards Bertha Pass, I could see all the mountain passes I had crossed, I could see all of the miles I had walked. It was just kind of a moment where I realized I had walked a really long way. Haha. You know, when I’m walking I think of it as 10/15 miles a day. It just makes it easier if I think of it in those bite sized chunks. But thinking back that I’ve walked over 2,000 miles makes it kind of outrageous. Like, wow! I still get so much on the day to day walk; I forget how many miles I’ve actually walked. Being on that mountaintop, and being able to see back so many miles, was just like, kind of breathtaking.
As we drove down the mountain I kept looking back towards Bertha Pass, just soaking it up. Soaking it all in. Speechless. We stayed in that night. Just hung around and watched the kids play.
We got up early the next morning and drove out to the place where Dawn’s husband picked me up from and I walked into town. Nothing special, it was pretty dang hot though. That night, Dawn and I drove one of the routes to Denver and realized it wasn’t going to work. We drove back and went to meet some friends at the pub.
The fourth day I got up early and went to Starbucks and was there until about 11. There was supposed to be a big storm so I took the day off. That night Dawn’s husband and I went out to a different pub. That is where this story begins. That is where I meet this girl.
My goal for that night was to sing karaoke. I was ready to sing the classics! Ace of Base, All that she wants is another baby…Shaggy’s bombastic, and Tag Team Whoomp There It Is. You know, the classy jams. So I was waiting for my song to come up and I sat down at this table and was introduced to a bunch of people. I was sitting there talking, telling the story about needle2square and everything. This girl comes over and kneels down and is talking to the lady next to me. They introduce me to her. I just give her the shpeal  of what I’m doing. She gets super engaged. She starts talking about corporate greed and pollution. She starts talking about how she wants to be involved, be something. This is where she starts crying. She says she doesn’t know where to get started, “I’m scared, I don’t know how to do it”. Then she starts crying more and I get a little nervous. In the back of my head I’m thinking someone is going to think that I hit this girl. I look her square in the eye and I say, ”Listen, revolution always starts with just one person… Don’t start with corporate greed, don’t start with trying to feed the hungry all over the world. Start with your community here. Start here”. She brought up how she wanted to start a coat drive. People need coats during the winter here. She said that communities around here could be very poor. They don’t have money for electricity or heat. I told her that’s the perfect place to start a coat drive, start a blanket drive. She said, “I’m just one person.” She went on to tell me that it’s hard to get people involved. It is hard to get others in the community involved in what she is trying to do. I said, “Then you are the one person, the only person in this community that cares, then you take responsibility for this community. You may not be able to help everybody, but you can start with one family, one city block, or one apartment building and help those people. Do something.” She gets up from her knees, hugs me, and walks off to the bar. That was the end of the conversation.
However, that moment was the start of a pattern of the next couple of weeks. Anybody who spent any time with me seemed to start crying. I never did get to sing those songs, and I’ve got to say I’m thoroughly disappointed.
I will continue this story in the next blog, but I want to take this time to talk to you specifically. If you feel like that girl did on her knees, talking to me. If you see things in your community or the world that break your heart, I want to encourage you to do something. Don’t stand on the sidelines. Ya know, I tell people this all the time. I may not be smart like C.S. Lewis, I’m not going to be a great theologian of our time, I’m not a great teacher, but maybe I can be a little like Martin Luther King Jr., be on the frontlines of the fight. That could be you too. You can be in the frontlines making a difference. You don’t have to start an orphanage in Kenya, you don’t have to solve our energy crisis. You can do foster care. You can do a canned food drive with you and your friends. Start small, but do something.

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