“What? Your sending in the ‘WOLF’? Man, that is all you had to say.” I like to fix things. Sometimes however, I can become so fixated upon “fixing” something that I become oblivious to what is staring me in the face. Most of us have an idea of what correct is to us, but often the good of all doesn’t fall within our little niche. But when it comes to peace, can you get so dogmatic about what peace looks like that in an attempt to promote it, you rob others of it?

My friend Liz has been so good to me. She allowed me to come and do the best that could by the boys here. She has basically given me carte blanche in regards to training them for nationals, and preparing them for their next coach. She has bent over backwards to make sure that my week (turned to month) here is comfortable. So far everything has been going splendidly. It really is a testament to how kind people really are.

My friend Jen offered me to live in her (very nice) In-Law apartment for FREE in order to serve the boys. My friend Susan has been running me all over town, provided me with dishes, towels, and any other amenity that I might need.  Jan and Jim who also have an apartment 7 mins from the gym, have allowed me to stay in their In-Law, and provided for my every need even though I do not ask. Thomas, has allowed me to use his bicycle for a month. My friend LaSchaunda even called to make sure I had enough clothes to coach in. Patti and Jacob offered me Starbucks cards. My mom, fed-ex’d a box to the meet even to make sure that I lacked for nothing. Even the universe has provided me with a giant park one half mile from the apartment filled with trails to run on that remind me of those of the Mt. Tabor park of my youth.

The other coaches at the gym have been very understanding and accommodating, although many changes have happened in the last couple months here at the gym, they were patient with me as I added disorder and chaos to their placid days. My friend Mark has been exceptionally kind to me, providing me with meals, a couch to sleep on, and making sure that I was well stocked in tea. Andrew took the time to explain how things are running at the gym, and although I must have seemed a bull in a china shop, he was ever so patient with me.

The boys are in an uncomfortable position. They are happy to have me back, but I make them work hard, and they must continually mop their brows at practice. They know though that I will leave again, someone new will come in, and all the drills and skills that they are learning now might be for naught. The fun that we do have is tainted by the knowledge that it will too pass.

And yet with all this kindness to me, my mission of peace was compromised twice…by me. I was not peaceful. Everyone else was kind to me, but I was so fixated on solving a problem, that I hurt the very ones that I hoped to help. My dad often tells the story of the bear who asked the rabbit to keep the flies off him while he slept. When the flies came, the rabbit hurled a huge rock at the fly that hand landed on the bear’s head, and killing both the fly and the bear.

Perhaps some would say that I am being too hard on myself. Maybe? But for me, what is more valuable than compassion? What goal is more important than kindness? What prize is more treasured than love? If anyone leaves my presence and feels anything other than happy and well loved, what have I accomplished? In a way wearing the blue tunic forces me to remember that I am to be “Peace” and to be peace. Not wearing it, in a town that is so familiar, in an occupation so familiar, and with boys so familiar…no wonder I have fallen short.

Five days ago, I was on a different planet. The cold slap of a life, of a reality, and a daily routine that I’ve not known and not cared for has come screeching back at a harrowing rate. An existence of groceries, of clothes, an apartment, a “job”, and all the other trappings that come with a “real” life have found my peaceful approach solid, but my application lacking. Last night, I found my self not at peace. So I went back to the beginning, on my run this morning I remembered the phrase that has defined my entire pilgrimage, and to the concepts that have given me solace time and again.

And this is the way of the Peace Artist, it all begins with Gratitude: Love, Help, Make Art & Peace.

Everything else is just an chance for application.