The week on the streets was one of the most incredible adventures I have ever been on, largely thanks to my brother Rob who accompanied me on the journey and helped keep us safe and peaceful. If it was not for his camaraderie throughout the experience, it is impossible to tell what might have happened. Thankfully, we are both alive and continuing along our paths of service.
There are many things to share from the Street Retreat, as it was one of the most illuminating, liberating, and joyous events of my life. So… look forward to a book!
In the meantime, Einstein really hit life on the head when he shared his wisdom,
“There are only two ways to live your life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle.”
Throughout the week on the streets, my brother and I, like most people, wanted to be happy. In some ways, we undertook the journey to experience the plight of homelessness, but at the same time we were not going to suffer without putting up a fight for happiness. Upon leaving our sister’s apartment to commence the retreat, one of the very first things that hit us, literally, was a raindrop.
Tut tut, looks like rain. But, hey – we’re homeless! So why worry about the rain? Instead of moping about the cloudiness and potential agony trying to sleep in such weather, we embraced the rain for the miracle that it is. We played in it like children for hours, running our hands through streams to watch the specific reaction the water had to the placement of our fingers. Then we took time to watch individual raindrops explode like atomic bombs, each drop reenacting its own version of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We took the time to observe the details of each raindrop, realizing the miracles all around us and how much we do not know.
Each moment is miraculous. Sometimes we just don’t take the time to see, touch, taste, smell, feel, and be the miracles. Taking the time to slow down and really look at something can be a great joy. Go ahead and feel the table. Listen to the computer hum. Or better yet listen to the birds! At any given time, we intake hundreds if not thousands and millions of stimuli from our environment. The joy, as my brother and I found out, comes when we take time to appreciate each little thing, like a single leaf on a tree, or even a single vein of that leaf. The world is, by all standards, beautiful, and when we take time to bask in the miracles all around us then maybe we will not be so consumed by material possessions that don’t really do anything other than make us want more of them.
Our week on the streets was filled with people, nature, and a greater awareness of God’s glorious creation. We did not need anything to be happy; we simply enjoyed the miracles of the moment. Go slow.