Three summers ago, I was standing at the end of a friends driveway in Bend, discussing all things good in life. After our exchange of goodbyes, I would then hop in my van and spend the next two months on the road, traveling a bulk of the western states, making music and working on love projects.
My primary mission then, was to aid the relief efforts in the aftermath of one of our nations most horrific natural disasters, an EF5 tornado, one that fiercely leveled a city and claimed over 150 precious lives.
I could see through the drape-less window of his home as he stood there facing me, one of his children sliding in socked feet across the bamboo floors. Another was throwing a tantrum; a toy that was taken away. His wife was placing the last setting at the table, cloth napkins, I suppose.
He looked at me, and asked this question in a somber tone, “don’t you ever get lonely?”
I considered his words for a moment, jogging through the memories in my mind of my life and travels. As I cranked the ignition on my vintage Dodge Caravan, preparing to pull out of his driveway, I looked back at him, saying, “I’m never alone”.
Today I travel with my best friend, Shoeless Jo. He is always by my side. But when this wasn’t the case, still, I was never alone. I find the comfort of family through those I meet along the way, and in the absence of humans, I tap into my spiritual reservoir.
Behind me, I closed the door to John and Josh’s peaceful east-side Austin house. They both were sleeping in as I was beginning to make my way out of the city by bike. With my head still in a fog, having been burdened by allergies and now a sinus infection, I only rode a few blocks to a cafe before stopping.
John and Josh had opened their home to Jo and I, providing a place for me to rest and heal this last week. While we were their guests, they fed me, took me to the doctors, invited me out to the movies, took interest in my journey and introduced me to their friends. They treated me like family.
In the city, and everywhere else I go, I continue to meet folks who are equally loving.
Mandy is a skilled massage therapist working at Austin Ashiatsu. She tends to my aching body, walking on me for an hour.
Jo makes two and four legged friends everywhere he goes.
Amy and her husband, Glenn, they are on their way to Dallas to enjoy a weekend with friends, attending a concert, listening to their favorite country music artists. She texted me more than once, reassuring me that if I need anything while I’m in Austin, or anywhere along my journey, that I should call them, that they would be there for me. They too are treating Jo and I like family. And there are countless others that I’m grateful for.
I have my blood family, my Dad writing to me in text messages, encouraging me, letting me know he’s proud.
My mother writes, sharing her concern about my symptoms, suggesting I might want to see a doctor before I move on.
My sister does the same, being the magnifacent soul that she is. She writes to let me know she is with me in spirit and that she loves me.
And another person looking out for me, one whom I’ve never met, drops me a line to warn me of the weather ahead.
I choose to believe that each one of these relationships, these encounters with my fellow humans, are divinely inspired, and cause me to embrace my Faith a little tighter.
All of this beauty, this community, it is rooted in love. These kind and selfless acts constantly confirmimg what I already know, that this is not a lonely life, that it is in fact, a beautiful, rich and full life that I’m grateful to be living.
The world is my family, I’m never alone.