“I woke up this morning and I wrote down this blog”. Here I am, spinning the words on Taylor’s classic song, Fire and Rain. The track is an autobiographical of a time when he dealt with addiction, depression and the loss of friend.
In the Fall of 2014 I shared openly how I had been trying to manage my life while dealing with the symptoms of depression. Fortunately, those feelings of hopelessness didn’t carry on for very long. But for several months it was all I could do just to make it through another day.
Earlier in that year my own mother had candidly expressed to me what I needed to hear the most. She said “I see you loving everyone else except yourself”. I rejected her proclamation for a day or two, and then came to realize the truth in her statement. Acceptance.
But before I could love myself, I first had to figure out how. I had to learn about self-love. First, I began by letting go of what wasn’t serving me well, exploring my Faith, and practicing the things I believe I’m good at. I quit comparing myself to others. I became mindful about how I was spending my time and soon I found myself back in my happy place. I’m here right now.
Yesterday I woke up in El Paso. The day was as warm and bright as the mood that I had chosen to embrace. While having my morning coffee I ran my laundry through at the Motel 6, then packed my bags and rolled my bicycle up to front door of McDonalds. I was met there by a news anchor that helped me shine a light on the vision I’ve been given for Operation Elf Box; ‘free toy stores’ all across America. Then he broadcasted the message to thousands on the evening news.
From the front seat of their sedans, folks watched Shoeless Jo and I pedal east through town. We made a few stops, one at The Bicycle Company where I met Chris. Chris and his cycling comrades welcomed Jo and I into their shop, offering a generous discount on a few necessities.
After paralleling the U.S./Mexico border for close to forty miles I found myself in a small town, Fabens Texas. I ordered my dinner at the gas station and proceeded to the fire department.
Making a pass on foot around the building I discovered it was empty. A small concrete slab out back, hidden from the intense flood light appeared to be the most inviting place to rest for the evening.
My down bag was laid out, my dinner spread out, and my hands were pressed together. That’s when Tony Reyes, Deputy Chief pulled into the station returning from a call.
We greeted each other in the parking lot. I asked his permission to sleep behind the building. Mr Reyes offered me even better; to make my temporary home inside the plush fire department.
I learned that this entire station is made up of an all volunteer crew. I know a thing or two about volunteering, but these guys, they make a huge sacrifice of themselves and their time to serve not only the people of their town but also the neighboring communities. I could tell by the flamed tattoos and the words that they spoke that they were a passionate bunch; a band of brothers. They love doing their jobs.
And what an honor it was to be invited to join them on a call, a report of a car crash. We quickly jumped in a red truck, being followed by several other red trucks, and reported to the scene. Apparently whomever had mildly creased their car was not injured or involved with another and so we returned to our headquarters.
My herding dog, Shoeless Jo, was as content as a toddler with a popsicle as we all gathered together in a circle. The commanding officer and the others in uniform reiterated how I was welcome to stay with them for long as I’d like.
I’m completely brimming with gratitude, rejuvenated by these extremely generous acts of kindness. My heart is open and full of contentment as I welcome this brand new day.
Sharing some of the last lyrics that James Taylor had sang in his song, “there’s a few things coming my way this time around”. I’m choosing to believe that this is true for me; good things, even more great things are coming. And if you’ll believe it, then it’s true for you too.