Take A Look At Strider

802. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

He was formidable walking down the hill toward the waterfront. Wrapped in a grey blanket that made him look like a Jedi knight he took bold confident strides. He was a paradox: homeless and determined, aimless and intentional. People parted and opened a path for him even before they could see him. They felt him coming. He was a force.

For a moment I felt as if I was watching two worlds overlap. His grey blanket-cape swirling through a crowd of reserved business-casual wear. He was the most alive person on the street and the most fearsome. He was striding beyond the rules. He didn’t care if he was hit by a car or ran over a tourist. He didn’t care and the freedom of not caring was dangerous. I could see the message in his pace: no one cared for him so why should he care for anyone. He was experiencing the worst punishment a tribe can deliver: he was cast out. He did not belong.

I knew he had no destination because I recognized the force that drove him. He wanted his life to be different. He wanted a break, an opportunity, anything that looked like hope. And there was none in sight. He was pissed at his life choices. All he could do in this moment was walk and walk fast, hard, and determined and burn off the fury. It would either make him feel the vibrancy of his life or exhaust him and either way he would emerge from his walk in another mindset. He would find hope or fatigue and sleep. He would live another day.

As I watched him descend the hill, knowing that he would simply turn and walk right back up again only to descend one more time – a modern day Sisyphus – I also realized that the folks in business-casual were probably doing the same thing only with less awareness but with a modicum of hope. Someone cared about their actions. Someone cared that they showed up. They had a place to go. The strider did not.

Last night, I had yet another conversation about the need to create community and connectivity – this time with a maker of software. My fascination with this conversation began nearly 15 years ago in school with the ongoing ever-present conversation about creating community. I hear it in one form or another almost everyday. Here in a metro area of almost 2 million people we feel the need to create community and that can only be true because we do not experience it beyond the superficial. A community cares for the health and well being of all of its members. A community does not place the interests of the few above the values of the whole.

I have been walking since January AND I have places to go. If I do not show up at Carol’s before midnight I get a text. Judy checks in with me. Horatio and Arnie want to know how I am doing. Megan reminds me to eat and throughout the day tugs on the lifeline to see if I will tug back. I am loved. I have been meditating on this thing called home that has evaded me or that I have avoided (I don’t know which) and the strider shook my meditation like a snow globe. I think I will find home because I am determined to create it. I wonder if any of us will ever really know a greater community? The man in the cape swirled down the hill and people parted, they glanced but mostly did not give him a second look. Outcasts are ordinary. Not belonging to something bigger is an everyday occurrence. Do you feel it?

5 Responses

  1. Ascension often times leaves a feeling of aloneness (is that a word?)…the hope lies in the wait for the ‘enlightened’ to arrive and create yet more community. Make it a GOOD WAIT…we are on our way…[big smile].

  2. When I lived in San Francisco in the early seventies, I stumbled upon a man hidden in the weeds madly turning a magazine. Page after page, as quickly as he could. He didn’t see me. I watched for the longest time and felt the loneliness of not belonging. I cannot explain how deeply I felt it – he was the essence of loneliness. I quietly backed away, because he too was scary, fierce. I do know that feeling of being in the middle of a crowd, but lost from your own tribe. The ones who genuinely know you and love you. Who SEE you. Maybe there’s always only a few people for each of us who can do that – the rest will walk around us – and we will need to find peace with that.

  3. Wow. David. Powerful observation and story. Like ‘bugs in a bowl’ we are, and I think you’re right — ‘exactly the same only very different’. If only we could see how same we are and each open our world a bit more.

  4. Thank you, Megan!

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