The old camp song goes: “It only takes a spark to get the fire going. And soon all those around, can warm up to its glowing.” I’ve been blown away by the number of people who have reported to me the amazing things that this peace pilgrimage has inspired them to do, the amazing kindnesses bestowed upon me because of it, or the weird, quirky, or otherwise odd “coincidences” that keep happening. They have become so common now, I just wait for them to appear each day, so that I may delight in them.

“Don’t mind the underwear”, the parent wrote me. I asked these two boys what they wanted to be when they grew up, “An artist, and a comic book illustrator” one said with no equivocation. As I prepared for this journey, one of the “Tests” was to see if: “Sell all you have to feed the poor” and “Love your neighbor as your self” were actually ways to bring peace and joy to my and others life.

In this case, I wish someone I knew recognized my desire early on to be an artist, and helped me. I gave these two boys the drafting table and the art supplies that they are using. I tell you even if I drew a thousand drawings on that table, none would have given me as much joy as the photo of these to boys. They are my heroes.

Another mother of one of the boys I coached told me how her son was wrestling with the decision I made to leave and was wondering about some of the precepts I said I was going to try to bring about peace, i.e. “It is better to give that receive.” Later that day, the boy had a slice of pizza and a hot dog for his own dinner. (What 8 year-old would want to give up that?) But, this kid gave it to a homeless person. After thinking pensively for a bit exclaimed to his mother, “It really is better to give than receive.”

A former colleague of mine upon hearing of this peace pilgrimage demonstrated to me how peace, love and reconciliation are supposed to be made manifest. I was arrogant and selfish in my relations with her, and yet she wrote me to offer reconciliation and best wishes for this journey. How lucky am I to have a friend now where once an “adversary” once stood???

My father has made an apt analogy about this embarkation; he likens it to a man sailing solo around the world. True, I do have a vessel—my Chariot-Cougar 2. (I wonder if it is called the cougar because there is supposed to be some hot mom running with it?)  I am circumnavigating, but unlike Magellan, I will be using GPS, and hopefully not have to resort eating every last rat aboard.

One of my sailing friends took strength from pilgrimage and challenged himself to his own rite-of-passage, he sailed his 50ft craft solo for the first time after reading about my resolve.

Another friend, told me of how my trust and faith in people and the universe inspired her to trust and have faith with regard to her start up business that seeks to serve the educational needs of students.

I was honored to hear of one family who took one of the paintings I had done of a homeless man, and hung the framed painting in their dinning room. They gave the man a name, and always set a place for him now at the table to recognize that there are those less fortunate, to be grateful for what one has, that their table and their hearts are always open to someone in need.

I saw my friend Larry again the other day, the one that I drew a couple of days ago. I asked him if he needed anything, he simply said some water. When I gave him my stainless steel water bottle he was happy, but when I gave him my water bottle he was ecstatic.

A girl was stranded far from town when I happened upon her. She was upset and the hood of her car was open. I asked if I could help, she said she would love a jump…but seeing as I was running…thanks anyway. I asked her if it was a stick, she got in, I pushed, and we bumped it. As she drove off she yelled. Your my hero! The thing is, I was just available, to sew seeds of love and peace.

It really is that easy friends. It only takes a spark. I am doing what I can for peace. I’m not perfect, but I am doing what I can. What can you do in your own way?

This is the way of the Peace Artist: Love, Help, Make Art & Peace.

 

Advertisements