I’m inspired to write again. I’m changed, in many ways I know not yet. What I learned cannot be taken back. Where I went cannot be driven out. What I did will forever be a filter, waxing and waning, covering and uncovering. I’m still me, as my sister told me. She said, “You’re still the same idiot you always were (lovingly, idiot in that weird, pull your shorts up around your upper thighs and walk around like a dinosaur type of idiot).” She said, “You’re just more of that idiot now.” And I am. But there’s a filter, waxing and waning. One day I’m an American, and all I want is to work and buy and work and buy and then the stress catches up with me and I’m a Kenyan. All I want to do is relax. I’m a Kenyan and all I want is for there to be nothing to buy except onions, tomatoes, cooking fat, eggs and maize flour. I want my only pleasure to be conversation with friends, half not understood, roasted goat, a few Guinesses and a football match. But I walk into the supermarket and have to look at 30 types of bread, and I know what to do, because I’ve done this all before, and I now know this isn’t necessary.
This is the patience path. I’m going to start writing again. I asked God what I’m supposed to do now, and all He said was, “Be Patient.”
Someone in the restaurant, after asking me, “Sir, would you bring me another soda?” proceeded to comment, with a witty smirk on his face, that, “You’ve probably never been called ‘sir’ before have you?”
I told him, “You have no idea.” Because he didn’t.
Seventy-six students in one classroom called me ‘sir’ everyday, sir. Another fifty-seven, forty-five and forty-seven in other classrooms also called me ‘sir’, sir. You have no idea.
If you don’t believe in God, start praying, then do the opposite of what that little inkling tells you to do, and when you have to scrape yourself off the floor, you’ll know you’ve butt heads with a living God. If you don’t get it, I understand. Had I never experienced what I have, I’d be with you. I’m going to talk about God a little bit in this blog, if you don’t believe, I understand, I’ve been there, just stick with me for a second. I did enough cocaine to kill myself one night, I finally slept, I finally woke up and I realized $2,000 a month for the past four months was gone in my lungs and up my nose. I moved home with my parents. I started slowly turning around. I have been given an incredible dose of faith, and I’m finally willing to talk about it. Stick with me. There will be a little about God in this, a little about life, and to start, a story about a man who does something really nice for other people.
There’s a man named Mark who lives in my town. Mark must be sixty-somthing. Mark told me, with tears in his eyes, that he knows he’s got some mental handicaps. He told me one time, after giving a woman whose loved one had passed away a card, she hugged him with joy and he almost started crying and he knew what he was doing was worth it. It’s something he can do. It’s his piece of the puzzle. If one small piece of the universe gets fixed, maybe the whole thing starts to fix itself.
Mark is mentally handicapped. It’s apparent, mostly, in how he talks, walks and interacts with people. When someone in our small town passes away, Mark goes, on his own accord, to the store to buy a sympathy card. Mark walks through town, to every business, and collects signatures. What results is a card, filled front to back in tiny scrawls, notes of sympathy from an entire town. People see Mark and ask if they can sign whatever card he may have, others see Mark and feel uncomfortable. They think it odd, they look at the card and say, “I don’t know them, I’m not going to sign it.”
But that’s not what this is about. Mark doesn’t care whether you know the family or not. A tiny thread that’s stretching to pull a little town together. Mark sees us all connected. He doesn’t understand that we don’t know the people on the cards, but the people may know us. The people who get them see a card filled with their town, and they know they’re not alone. A thread as precious as Mark, pulling us all together, and in talking to him I know he feels like he’s alone sometimes. I take extra time, extra patience, to talk to Mark, no matter the conversation. He fills those cards for unity every single day, he buys them with his own money, but will never fit in completely. He has patience that I can’t imagine.
I’m going to have patience to learn what I can before I’m gone again.