My friend Garry was kind enough to host a BBQ and invited several friends and I to attend. It was a great gathering where ideas and hugs were exchanged as the currency of compassion.

The group was a mixed bag. We the group were comprised of some older some younger, some men some women, and some gay some straight. But all those who surrounded the table had kindness in their minds and love on their lips. I was able to invite a number of people who have been very important to me, and who have been following along with my journey.

My friend Scott and Nikki came, George, Susan, Garry and his partner Peter have all taken part in this pilgrimage in one way or another. It was delightful for me to have all these wonderful people whom I love so dearly all assembled together. It was even more wonderful to watch them become friends with each other.

Garry and Peter as I wrote of before, make two trips a year to Laos. There they build schools, administer immunizations, treat diseases, and love the communities that host them. They offer scholarships to Buddhist monks, and put tribal leaders into school so that they can learn nursing, agriculture, or another discipline to serve the community. They do this all out of their house. They do it all on their own dime. They do it all for love…because they can.

Susan, although her son no longer does gymnastics, still does everything she can to help the program. She takes care of the coaches, the parents, the children, and the owner as best she can. She has also (as of late) become my own personal taxi. She bakes cookies for all her co-workers just to make their day better…why not? She can, so she does.

Scott and Nikki love on gymnasts everyday. When I came back, Scott was one of the first people to call and give me a heads up on what I needed to do to be ready to help the boys most. At the meet, he would be completely across the gym, and would (in his loud voice) encourage my boys to do their best, and be the loudest voice of congratulations when they finished. The boys all know him and his voice, and told me that his adulation and admonishments made them do better.

Nikki has provided me with encouragement as well, and always let me know when a particular post inspires her, saying, “Once I wipe away the tears, your posts inspire me for the rest of the day.”

My dear friend George is on the verge. He is a star about to go supernova. He doesn’t know exactly how best to serve others in a “BIG” way yet, but it is coming. I can see the wheels turning in his head, and I’m so excited to see what he comes up with. No matter what it is…it is gonna be good.

In addition to the wonderful people that I already knew, I got to meet nurses and schoolteachers, travel agents, construction workers, and salesman. I got to draw Jerry, Anne, Scotty, and Rob. Probably, they thought this guy in a cowboy hat and blue tunic a bit weird at first, but being able to capture their true humanity in a drawing seems to make everyone realize it is about this moment right here—right now that is important.

As the sun waned and the candles illuminated the warm San Jose night, the group got smaller and perhaps down to business. We all have our own little niche ways in which we are trying desperately to love on our fellow human beings. It was nice to hear others ideas, approaches, and strategies to implement. It was nice to know that all these people are each doing what they and only they can do for peace.

Who am I not to do likewise?