I always wanted to be famous, but I thought my 15 minutes would come from my writing, not this. Of course the fame that I am receiving has nothing to do with seeing my name up on the big screen as I have wanted since my Radio City Hall days. It doesn't have a whole lot to do with the media either since we haven't received all that much attention.
It does have to do with the grape vine of homeless shelters. Some of them seem to know we are coming. I don't see how since plans have changed tremendously. It never dawned on me in the planning of this trip how much we would change as well.
I get about 5-6 hours sleep per night. Patrick requires much more. He is not a morning person, I definitely am. The moment my feet hit the ground in the morning, I am on the move. It takes him about half an hour before he can think coherently. He is very slow moving, very methodical and exact. I on the other hand am ADHD and ALWAYS on the go. I hate sitting unless I am doing something. I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal. I take chances. ALL the time.
Some of the changes weren't all that bad. Difficult to get used to, a little unhealthy but nothing major, like not being able to cook. The rest areas don't allow it, we surely can't cook in a Safeway parking lot so the idea of healthy affordable meals kind of went out the window. We eat fast food a lot. I know we can do salads at most fast food places, but salads aren't affordable. We are on a very limited budget so we only eat from the cheapskate menu. Nothing much healthy there.
One of the biggest changes for me on this trip was sleeping arrangements. I thought we would be able to have separate tents. Didn't turn out that way. I wimped out and decided I could not just pitch a tent on the side of the road. Rest areas don't allow it and at $35 per night, campgrounds are not in the budget. But God has a sense of humor.
I always thought the next time I would share my sleeping quarters with a man, it would #1 be with my husband and #2, it would be in a bed, not the front seat of a mini van. Sleeping just about literally nose to nose with a virtual stranger is a little unsettling. How can that be I ask myself? I have known him for such a long time.
Patrick and I have been friends for over 25 years. But for more than half of that, our friendship has been via phone. We see each other for about two weeks every other year, but that's it. So this is taking our relationship to an all new level, and as I said, plans change.
Not being able to put our feet up. That's a big one for me. My feet are swollen all the time now, and sometimes so much so that I can not put on my sneakers. But I keep going because that is what God has asked me to do.
Not being able to stay at rest stops anymore. That is the newest change. Not knowing where we are going to sleep on any given night is more than a bit scary. I probably don't get more than 4 hours sleep a night now. I remember keeping my ears tuned into everything before. Old habits are hard to get rid of out here, and now I can just about hear an ant crawl across the dashboard, so every little thing sets me off and I am at full alert with the falling of a leaf. But these are simple changes compared to what has changed with the plan itself.
I committed to walking from Canada to Mexico. After about the second day, I realized not only was Google maps sending me on false roads, or just plain old out of the way time after time, when I was walking in the rural areas, it seemed all I was doing was enjoying the view and communing with nature and the flora and fauna. Well that's all well and good, but I wasn't out here for a vacation.
So I listened to my gut, and plans did change, and the use of the van became more than just a place to rest our weary feet. We began driving past much of the rural area, waving to the cows and bunnies along the way, and spending our much needed time walking through the cities.
Instead of walking step by literal step, where once we would have only spent 4 hours walking through Seattle, we spent three days talking with people we are trying to help. Where once we would have spent 5 hours going through Portland, we spent 3 days talking with the people we were trying to help. Where once we would have spent 4 hours walking through Sacramento we sinstead pent three days talking with the people we are trying to help.
This trip isn't about me. It's about them. It isn't about what I am doing. It's about what can be done. It isn't about the notoriety. It's about speaking up when attention needs to be paid. It's not about being courageous. It's about doing what God has called me to do. It's about helping those who can't or don't know how to help themselves. I have no doubt that these plans from my gut, were plans from God.
Now my gut is telling me something else. "Keep going" it says. Keep going. Don't stop at the border of Mexico. Keep going to every homeless shelter, in every major city, in every state of the US. It is so badly needed.
Is this from God? I don't know. I didn't know if the Canada to Mexico trip was from God but I went anyway. Can I physically do it? I don't know, but I didn't think I could physically do this trip either and although I ache all the time, I am doing it. Can we afford it? I can tell you that if it is from God, he will provide everything we need to continue just as he has. The manna trickles in most of the time but it's always there. Sometimes he comes through at the eleventh hour, sometimes it's twelve 'o' one, but He always comes through.
If it's not from God? Well, He will make that perfectly clear as well and He will give me my next assignment. The grapevine will continue to grow as the word passes from city to city, shelter to shelter, person to person. And as that growth takes place, more and more people that want to do the right thing will join in this campaign. So maybe it supposed to happen, but maybe someone else is supposed to take over where I left off. Who knows?
God does. That's who. I have faith in that. Know why? Because my God is HUGE and He can do mighty things with those vines.