SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 136: “It Will Make Us All More Healthy”

A night stroll, dinner with a close friend, and an in-route meeting with a new 365 stranger. Pretty much sums up my day’s close.

The air is a little chilly and the street is very dark as we close in on the entrance to our friend’s apartment. The sidewalk is empty and my prospects of meeting a friend are at a low. It’s been a highly emotional day; a few family highs, a few family lows, and I’ll admit, my mind is a little scattered and feeling a bit blue.

I’ve occasionally spoken of the 365 voice; defining it as a calm that often inspires or accompanies me in meeting my new friends. It comes and goes, at times directing me in powerful ways beyond my explanation, while at others it seems a distant self-imposed mind trip. But none-the-less, as surreal as it may seem, it exists. Here and there we’ve discussed it over the last four months. Some of you agree with its premise and others have looked at me with crossed eyes for my belief in it.

Yet, in every instance of my interviews with the strangers (that have come to be my friends on a variety of levels) its influence has been profound in somehow putting me in the right place at the right time, creating a linked web of wonderful messages that have been expressed by an extremely diverse group of people.

I call them through-lines, undeniable links to a variety of stories, themes and perspectives that all come together as threads in the weaving of a web of understanding, and hopefully, a web of acceptance. A web of consciousness that traps us in a greater understanding of our fellow humans, and threads of acceptance that tell us, “We are not alone in our life experiences.”

With this I exclaim, “Cheers to all who have spun their silk into the 365 web!”

We are not near the end of our travels, and who knows what is ahead, but for now, as told to me by several of our 365 friends, we will stay in the moment; moving forward day-by-day in reaching out to those around us. I’m committed to the fact that one handshake, a simple smile or other kind acknowledgement can make a difference to somebody, and at day 136, this sentiment comes to fruition with the meeting of today’s friend, Sigal. And not trying to sound too selfish, the receiving end this evening is… my family and myself.

As I mentioned earlier, “I’m a little blue.” The street is dark, empty and cold. We are only fifty meters from the gate of our friend’s apartment and I am loosing hope in meeting a friend. My perspective is a bit numb, “It’s been a highly emotional day.”

I submit to the fact that I will be out late tonight to resume my 365 quest; after all, it would be rude to be late for dinner or to leave early.

Funny thing, the absolute instant this thought enters my head, I realize that we are not alone. Emerging from the shadows of the dark I see a single stranger approaching as she walks her dog, and even though I am feeling somewhat reserved and introspective, I extend a hand of friendship (good to get out of my own head).

She accepts my invitation to 365. Here is what is wonderful: the moment she accepts, the haze in my head dissipates. Even the stress in my family dissolves.

365 has done its magic, and tonight it hit home stronger than ever. And as I talk briefly with Sigal, it becomes apparent why.

Sigal’s first words when I ask her of her council, with a very reserved and humble tone she asks, “Do you speak Hebrew?”

Even though I had a traditional Bar Mitzvah, I have retained nothing, so I answer with, Un poquito (A little).” We both laugh, the walls are broken, and we are able to converse clearly and to the point.

Sigal is a very self-comfortable person. I apologize for keeping her in the cold, “No problem at all. May I sit?” she asks.

We sit and she introduces me to her dog, “Blue.”

Blue. Could not have met a Golden Retriever with a more appropriate name for the way I was feeling just moments before. Brings me to pause for a brief smile as I give my thanks to Blue with a pat on the head.

Sigal’s word of council, delivered in her sweet and unassuming way, “Peace.”

I ask her, “How can we start?”

Again, with a very reserved and humble tone, “Be neighbors, nice to each other. Not thinking about fights all the time.”

I do not know of Sigal’s place of birth, her origins, her politics, religion or anything about her history, and I make no assumptions. But one thing I can claim, there is something wise about Sigal and I know she is a giver. A giver of the very thing she desires for the world. That gift is apparent in her countenance, and that gift is purely this… peace.

Her wishes for the earth, “A greener planet.”

Challenging us: “Recycle… more people should do it.”

In summarizing her outlook on peace and taking care of the planet, Sigal finishes with this wish, “It will make us all more healthy.”

Sigal, I don’t think you know it, but you have brought peace to my family this evening, thanks for the wish!

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