September 6

Did 19 miles today and I’m in my tent behind oil storage tanks. A man pulled his 18 wheeler over in front of me and when I got beside his passenger window he reached down a ten to me and said in a heavy Mexican accent, “Thank you! Love life, God Bless.” I was fighting a fierce wind in 99 degree heat about 3:30 PM when a young Mexican couple with two children pulled over. The pretty lady, who spoke no English, walked up to me and handed me a 32 oz. blue Slurpee and a twenty dollar bill. I thanked her several times, and she just smiled a most beautiful smile, turned and walked back to her car.

Here is a story from my 2011 “Joel Kody Walk”:

Walking across the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, not far from the Four Corners Memorial, in 2011. A young Navajo man slammed on his brakes when he saw me. Gordon told me that he certainly did not love life now and couldn’t see anything worth living for anymore. Just four days before on Christmas day, he caught his wife of five years in bed with another man. Just months before, he lost his little brother to alcohol and just two weeks before, his brother’s one-year-old daughter accidently choked to death. I told him that my son’s suicide started my walks; I told him that stopping to talk to me couldn’t be just a coincidence. We talked about his uniqueness in the universe, about the absolute honor of his being born a Navajo and his beautiful ancestral ways. We talked of his loved ones, and how he would crush their hearts and destroy their lives if he took his. We talked of the beauty of the gift of life; he told of the joy he got from riding his two horses. We talked of how we have to push on and Love our gift of Life no matter what and how a Love Life attitude gives us an individual power from within. A power that gives us the strength to resist, and to not allow anyone else’s actions to control our emotions or our reactions. We talked for a long time. Gordon promised me that he would go to be with his family, he promised he would concentrate on chasing away all negative thoughts and to concentrate instead on how wonderful his gift of Life truly is. He thanked me and as we shook hands I capped my other hand over his, I told him that I love him. He had a surprised look on his face after I told him I loved him. “You’re wondering how a stranger is capable of loving you,” I said. He nodded yes. And so I explained to him that I no longer have my two children to give my love to and so I have an overflow of love that I can give to the children of other parents in emergencies when they are unable to be there. Still holding on to his very rough and calloused hand, I made him promise to me as a proud Navajo man and give me his Navajo oath to never again entertain thoughts of taking his own life. He said, “I promise. You have helped me. Thank you. You be safe out there, friend.” Later, after I related this story to someone and they asked, “Is there such a thing as the Navajo Oath?” I said, “I don’t know, guess there is now.” LOVE LIFE with all your heart my friends, our fellow human beings need it to feel love.

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