I trust you. This is the way we prove we are a compassionate people.

Stepping out on this road, I haven’t really had fear. And, I don’t really have fear now. But, I recognize the possibilities of what may go wrong or what may happen. I have prepared mentally for what if someone mugs me, robs me, beats me up, or punches me. If some one hurts me, it is my full intention to say to them: I…LOVE…YOU.

I’ve preplanned it in my mind; I’ve gone over and over and over it in my head a thousand times. If someone does that, if someone hurts me, if someone steals all my stuff, if the worst-case scenario does happen and I die a brutally painful death, what will be my response? What if I go to jail? What if I’m picked up by CIA/FBI/NSA agents and tortured, how will I react? Will I yell and kick and punch and scream? Will I be upset and claim my rights? Will I be indignant; will I glare and give snide remarks? What will be my response?

My plan, and I pray that I am able to do this, but the plan, when the inevitable happens; I say…I love you, and much more—I mean it.

I desire that the last words from my mouth be ones that provide those that hear them with an understanding of peace. Throughout history, people’s dying words have been noted with much interest. It is perhaps in those last moments when we are at deaths door and our lives have flashed before our eyes that we are the most honest and the most perceptive of the truth.

If the worst-case scenario happens, will I say I love you to the car skidding off the road to hit me, whether by accident or on purpose, will I beam them love? Or, will I freak out and be fearful? The desire is to do the other.

Stepping out onto the road for me, and by extension out on this pilgrimage, is about saying to the other people I trust you. I love you. I care for you. I know you will do the right thing when given the opportunity. But most of all I have faith in you as a person. Because I KNOW you are a good person.

Despite what you have done previous to this in your life, despite what I have done, who you are at your deepest core—is good. No matter what anyone has done for you, to you, against you, or because of you, I trust you. No matter what you have done to others, against others, or because of others…I love you.

I trust that when I place myself before you as a person in your path, and say, “Here I am, I’m vulnerable,” I know that you will do the right thing by me.

Homeless people do this all the time.

Most homeless/houseless/homefree people aren’t on the streets by choice. I am on the streets by choice…there is a big difference. But then, that may be a stereotype of mine. I guess I just assume that people don’t voluntarily live on the street with nothing on purpose, but I maybe wrong.

It is perhaps just a guess, but my experience has shown that something happened to get them there, there house burned down, drugs or alcohol, spouse kicked them out, jobless, or money ran out and you can’t camp on someone’s sofa any longer. In other words, something happened that made you so vulnerable enough to be on the street.

Now that you are there, you endeavor to continue to live, and survive you do. Yes there are abuses, hurts, shame, pain, and fearful moments and experiences, but you continue and persevere. Beg or don’t beg, in one-way or another, people take care of you. Whether missions, a shelter, or nature itself—something cares for you and you still care for you. You love you enough that you are still here…you haven’t ended you life.

Previously, I never understood why people would stay in the Tenderloin slum of San Francisco or any other slum. I didn’t understand why people wouldn’t pack up and move into the mountains and survive on the land? Or, if you were going to sleep on the curb why do it in a bad neighborhood?

But I digress.

The point is, by stepping out onto this road, I’m saying to everyone: I want to love you. I want to love you, and I trust that that is your heart’s desire as well. I believe that you really want to love others. However, I make myself vulnerable to either your attack or your love, but I will receive both with open arms. The intention then is to stand with open arms, and no matter what you give me, love or the opposite, I say I love you.

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