I brought this up for awareness with my pastor, Rev. Mary Blessing at St. Luke's Cupertino, and with others in my life. I just need a clear full hour to sit down with my thoughts about how to garner formal support for the event. I am walking a few miles every day, and I am walking more and more each day. It feels great.
I saw a shooting star last night under the feet of Orion. I made a wish!
Feel free to make one too.
This helps save the lives of others. Of course, it is always the individual's choice whether they wish to live or not. Each day they feel hope in their own heart, faith in their own lives, they will choose life over death. Sometimes the memory of one really good day keeps people alive for a century.
This Overnight is also good for my own heart. I am 41. I may see 82, and possibly 123 if I am so lucky.
I see each spirit with great possibilities. So many young men and women lose hope and faith in themselves and the world. Many of them are looking for reassurance. It is true: life can be better. Life can always be better. What we each want is to live life as best as we can. And to take comfort and find joy in whatever life we have.
I'd like to invite you all to also walk under the stars. Every night that the spirit so moves you. Under the beautiful canopy of heaven. It's free. To point out Orion and Ursa Majoris and the planets and each constellation as it rises. To celebrate the music of Urania. Or under the sun. Take a walk on a sunny Sunday morning. Perhaps to celebrate the ways of Socrates, or to take the quite sensible implicit advice of C.S. Lewis in the Screwtape Letters. Or any other thinker of the past. Or be your own great thinker.
I remember taking my first 10 mile hike on Staten Island with the Boy Scouts a long time ago. I was amazed that I could walk 10 miles, but it wasn't so bad at all. In fact, it was good. I liked it. It wasn't as far as I thought it would be. I remember walking over a hill and coming down to a residential intersection. It wasn't a "hike" as if it was off in the wilderness. It was basically just walking through neighborhoods. Oh. Alright. I can do that.
Here's a shout-out to the Boy Scouts of Rockaway Beach, past and present, and future, and everywhere. Girl Scouts too. Church groups. Community groups. Parents and uncles and aunts and grandparents. All the people that get kids out under the stars, out in the sun, into the wilds and neighborhoods of the world. If we did more walking we'd know more about our neighborhoods and our neighbors. We might fear them less and love our communities even more.
I once marched 20 miles over 2 days with a full suit of Roman armor in the summer sun. It was quite a hike. It was with a full 50-pound pack of wooden pilum — stakes (I had to set up the stakes to protect the camp). It was a few years ago with a group called Legio Deci Fretensis (Legion X Fretensis, LXF, or the 10th Legion). His son, Anthony, I believe, also marched with us that summer.
We came across a vineyard and there were grapes growing in the summer sunshine. Like a flock of birds our little column of marchers swooped in. We were gentle and took only a few, but those were the best grapes I ever had in my life! We had marched in the sun all day and those grapes were magnificent!
The watermelon we had carried was just as good. You could really taste the fruit, through all the dust of the California central valley. The taste put aside all the smell of the sweat and the leather and oil residue of our gear. That was a good hike. It was a march. I even got paid in an ancient Roman coin at the end. Robert Garbisch does these sorts of things. He's Captain of Company G, the 20th Maine. I just missed their Fort Point event. I'm quite interested in what else Robert's been up to since the last time I took the march with him.
He once made an entire scale model of the Forum of ancient Rome. This guy knows his stuff. If you are ever fortunate enough to meet him, you'll remember him forever.
I also did the New Year's walk/run a few years ago in San Francisco with a friend and her dog. It was a way to get my spirits up after I broke up with a girlfriend. It was drizzly all night. I loved that walk. We even jogged a bit of it.
If we are blessed this year, we'll have clear skies. Even if it rains and thunders, I am hoping to do my walking. Just as we were in the rain that night on New Year's with the dog and the llama and the people of all walks of life. I'll bring an umbrella.
This is the first time I am walking for others. As a service. I am a life member of Alpha Phi Omega, national service fraternity. I pledged to it in the year following the death of my friend Molly at Carnegie Mellon. Though once I was considering doing work on the national organization, for years I fell away from the A-Phi-O way, except for some friends who were also in Kappa chapter at CMU.
I reaffirmed my pledge to those ideals — leadership, friendship, and service — at Saint Timothy's in Mountain View this Sunday. Leadership. Friendship. And Service above all.
I am looking forward to this walk. Even if something happens to me and I come up lame. Whatever happens. I'll do what I can to be there. I remember when my mother sprained her leg at my graduation day. She still showed up for me.
For Molly, I will be showing up for the Overnight, and for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). You're invited to help contribute to my personal participation goal, or, if you feel so moved, join us for one night in your life you'll always remember.