When I was first starting this pilgrimage, many questions were hanging in the air. As such, I didn’t have answers for most of them. As impediments began to mount, I began to think that perhaps this just wasn’t going to happen because although the spirit was willing, my flesh was weak.

At the end of the first of my three most difficult physical tests, I was ready to throw in the towel. That night I met Russ and Sandy. Camping next to their fire I prayed, “If I am meant to continue, please heal my body.” The next morning I was “fixed”. This lasted for awhile anyway, and I was able to continue on. But, in addition to that prayer, I was served and loved by my two passing ships in the night, Sandy and Russ. They not only fed me, gave me some food for the road, but they also were the first to give me some pocket money although I refused it and never asked for it, they wouldn’t take no for answer. Their kindness got me through, and helped me to stop focusing on self, but to focus on others.

Sandy is another adopted “mom” and she has been keeping tabs on me hoping for a visit in Yuma. When I was preparing to leave San Diego, I realized there just wasn’t any good way to get to Yuma or to leave it for Phoenix. I wrote Sandy and apologetic letter for letting her down. Her answer gives you a hint at the character of this amazing woman, “You? Let me Down….. Never. This is your Journey…… not mine.”

A day or two later Sandy sent me another message saying, if you feasibly can’t come to Yuma…we’ll come get you. Come they did, they drove 140 miles out of their way to get me, and 140 miles back. In addition, they are willing to drive that 280 mile roundtrip again to drop me off where they picked me up. Their reason? They just didn’t want me to have to spend the Christmas Holiday by myself in the desert. What can you say about people like this but…thank you.

Russ has driven every highway of this country as a truck driver, and has a wealth of road wisdom that I am currently mining. He is the kind of a guy that has always done for himself, and can accomplish almost anything single handedly, but is considerate enough to allow others help. Here is a good way to describe Russ, after I’ve run 2000 miles across the country, he still walked me down to the shower, just to make sure that I didn’t get lost. He was so concerned I wouldn’t be warm enough, he asked for an early Christmas present from Sandy: a space heater. Why? Not for him to use, but so that I would be warm. Again what do you say to this kind people but thank you.

Everywhere they have taken me, Sandy has insisted that I sit in the front so that I can see the sights. Last night they took me out to a “Spook Mountain”, a “phenomenal” of local lore. According to the legends, some sort of lights emanate from the rocky crags of this hunk of rock after dark. How they are made or from where they come is of hot debate, but the fun of being outside is the real reason for fording a cold December night together.  Russ honored me by augmenting their normal diet to accommodate my vegetarian one. As such, he made an amazing vegi-chili from scratch! It was beyond words really, but let me evidence its astonishing delectability by the fact that I consumed 3 heaping bowls of it.

I’ve been very well cared for by family and friends on this journey, but for the most part, Russ and Sandy are complete strangers; ships met while passing in the night. They owe me nothing, and yet this is the way they treat a stranger? They are truly my neighbor. I wish kindness like this for everyone this holiday season.

Love, Art & Peace to all.