I remember the first hero-story that resonated with me. There is a guy named Stephen Foust who, when I was ten, walked thirty-six hundred miles, across the the United States. He started in Indiana and, for nine months, talked to people all over the country, doing a phone-in radio show about the people he’d meet and the places he’d go. I wanted to be just like him.
But without all the walking.
And that’s not strictly true. I had daydreams of walking across the continent, making meandering my livelihood with a giant dog, a dane or mastiff at my side as companion and guard. What I loved about the idea of it, more than anything else, was the idea that somewhere, sometime during the journey, there would be a falling away of my self and I’d be brought into union with something I couldn’t understand.
I was ten. Or eleven.
Feet slapping gravel, splashing in puddles, stepping, stepping, stepping, the sun beating down, the rain beating down, stepping, stepping, stepping, stopping to sleep and eat and to feed the dog.
The second hero-story that made an impact on me was hearing about Mother Theresa of Calcutta. I was in sixth or seventh grade and the teacher of my social studies class showed a short film that detailed the founding of her charities and her work amongst the poorest of the poor.
My heart broke open with love but, as children do, I quite forgot about her during recess and it wasn’t until quite a few years later that I would return to her story.

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Posted on December 28, 2011, in Tree. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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