“How long do you think this trip is going to take you?” people often ask. My replies have been various, but one thing has remained consistent. I have always replied, “I don’t know, I may quit tomorrow, or it may take me the rest of my life.”

My dad prompted me to watch “Forest Gump” again before I began running. He recommended I watch the part of the movie where he ended his run. Surrounded by the empty roads and the cathedral spires of monument valley, he realized that he was done, and it was time to go home.

In my mind, and perhaps incorrectly, the peace pilgrimage has always been about the circumnavigation of the US. Doing art, loving on people, and recording the stories of people’s compassion as well as my own foibles, failures, triumphs, and success has been my way to serve. But now I see erroneous nature of that mindset.

Mother Teresa began by saying yes to serving in India first. MLK began by choosing to become a preacher. Gandhi began by deciding to write in a newspaper. The catalytic event that leads one into a life of service is only a decision. A decision to serve…in any capacity. But more importantly, it is continuing to make that decision…everyday.

What for me began only as a week of substituting here in San Francisco has morphed into something else. I chose to be of service where I could. Mother Teresa probably never dreamed of washing leper’s feet everyday. Tending to the ill, the sick, and the dying probably wasn’t what she was expecting when first starting out.

But, all these heroes did what they could. They served, as they were able.

I’m not going to lie; I’m a little overwhelmed. Two days of prep and now being completely responsible for NCAA waivers, tape, sugar water, car rentals, hotels, regional championships, uniforms, routine construction, corner transitions, and most of all mental preparation for 14 little and not so little boys is a lot.

Three days ago I was sleeping on the ground in a field of flowers, and my biggest concern was keeping the mosquito netting closed, how long till the next town, and “where can I get some clean water.”

And yet the universe has allowed me to be here, and so I can do what I am able. But, I’m not the only one doing what they are able. My friend Scott took notes, watched, and offered his suggestions just because he cares. He cares for the boys. My friend Michelle asked me, despite all that she has to do herself this weekend, “What can I do for you?”

My friends Nikki, George, Garry, LaSchaunda, and Vince all offered to help me, feed me, or love on me in anyway they could. Patti gave me five hugs and a Starbucks card to keep my pep. Jed, being a judge, refreshed me on the rules. In addition, he took me shopping to get meet appropriate attire, brought a couple guitars so we could sit in his truck and play, and bought me new running shoes so that the journey could continue!!!

Liz, the owner of the gym has gone out of her way to find me temporary housing and accommodate me in anyway should could. Mark, my friend and co-conspirator, has fed and housed me as well as refreshed my spirit. But more than anyone, my friend Susan has shuttled me to practices, fed me, given me toiletries, washed my clothes, and in general has been a sounding board for ideas and shoulder to lean on when I was fatigued.

But most of all the boys gave me joy.

It seems that although I came here to serve, I have been served. I came here to do what I and only I could do…be a substitute for a week. Now, through a series of events, that has morphed into a month. What is astounding to me is not the overwhelming nature of the responsibilities that have suddenly fell upon my shoulders, but the overwhelming love and community of which I am a part.

I said that I came here to serve. It seems, so did everyone else.

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