I talk stats til my voice is gone. Every day, four, five and six times a day, I tell people that in America there are 3,500,000 people without homes, that we know of. The numbers are probably much higher.
My throat burns because ten times a day, I tell people that 39% of that staggering number are children under the age of 18. Can you imagine your child or grandchild living in the back of a car or on a park bench. What about a 13 year old prostituting herself so she can have her first meal in days. It happens every day. You may not see it but it does.
There are 200,000 plus men and women who put their life on the line to protect their country, that are sleeping in tents, in the woods, under bridges. I talk about domestic violence; drug addiction, alcoholism. I talk about the faces that have names; that have stories that will rip at your heart; I talk about the hope that can only come from someone reaching out a hand to those who need it most.
During these last 278 miles, I walk with shoulders slumped at the end of each day, wondering if I really believe this walk of mine will make a difference. Am I doing any good. I begin to think I am crazy for taking one more step. I talk about how I hope to change the lives of others. So I call on God and trust that there will be angels taking care us
I was interviewed this morning on KOIN news here in Portland. It was at 5:40 in the morning and most of the people I knew were not up that early in the morning, but it's all good. (watch it here) When they post it on line we can post it on the website or here on the blog. I was to be back at 6:40 for a second live interview. I thought about what I didn't say on the first interview that I knew I had to say the second time around.
I never got the chance. There was breaking news and I was bumped. Again, it's all good. Disappointing, but when they post it so can I. I go the place where I am to meet a few of the men from the Portland Rescue Mission. They want to walk with me and show their support. I expected a car full at most. There were 15 men. I think I smiled the whole way, taking time to talk to as many men as I possibly can, mesmerized by their stories.
We walk 3.2 miles and at the Rose Garden we are met by about another 25 people from the mission, my family and a few friends. So now we are roughly 50 strong. We cross over the steel bridge and take a break at the Rescue Mission. There I am blessed by an almost standing ovation from about 100 people, a prayer is said in my honor and I and my family are treated to lunch. I cry, for in these faces of recovery I find my angels.
There is a bit of commotion out the window of the dining hall and we wonder what is going on. What is this all about, but it's time to go. We leave the mission for the second part of the days walk. Down the stairs, under the Burnside bridge, towards the waterfront. As we get closer there is a sea of colorful wings, gaily decorated antennae, painted faces and smiles everywhere.
The earlier commotion is now a sea of wings in brightly colored glitter and jewels, gaily colored antannae, painted faces and smiles everywhere. One by one these new angels hug me tightly and thank me for all I am doing. I thank them for all they have done for me, which is more than they will ever know. I look closely at their brilliant faces and think of all the time and effort that went into this incredible surprise. Painted on their handmade wings are the words change for life; homeless awareness; walk for change.
My call for angels became 100 strong and with these winged gifts from God by my side, we walk for homes for all.
I cannot tell you if I am making a difference in any ones life with this walk, but I can tell you everyone is making a difference in mine.
"but if you could...do you think you would trade it in?
all the pain and suffering?
ah, but then you'd miss
the beauty of the light upon this earth
and the sweetness of the leaving."