Heroes

Posted: May 2, 2007 in Compassion, Goals, Homelessness, Hopes, Morality

For several weeks now I have been looking forward to writing this post. I knew the day was coming – although I didn’t know exactly when – so the anticipation and excitement have been building. And, now it has finally arrived.

What am I so excited about?  

Well, for one, this posting is been written on my new laptop. Okay, so it’s not absolutely brand new – it’s used. But that doesn’t really matter to me. It’s been a while since I’ve had a computer of my own – and since my work background is in the design and development of software and web sites – having a computer of my own affords me the opportunity to pick up the pieces of my life and begin the long task of rebuilding my life.

The second thing I’m excited about is that today I actually get to work. Yes, that’s right – I get to work. In fact, I have two projects that I’m going to be working on over the next several days.

I didn’t get to this point in my life on my own, however. I had help – and quite a lot of help. So grab a cup of coffee or a soft drink and sit back while I tell you about it. It may take some time.

On March 11th, I met John Kelly, a young man from Newport Beach, CA who just happened to be present at the encore showing of "Suckerfish." After the showing he and I began talking outside of the theatre and it turns out that he and I have something in common – we both have backgrounds in software and web design.

He asked me how he could help me get my life back. I told him that what was holding me back was the lack of "tools" to work with – namely a laptop that had wireless Internet access. In response he said that he had a laptop at home that wasn’t working but that he would have it "shipped up" and he would make a gift of it to me and help me get it fixed. And on that Friday – March 16th – he placed the laptop in my hands. Unfortunately, the AC Adapter had gone missing in action since the laptop had been lying around unused for quite sometime.

Having been around computers for quite a large part of my life I said that before we took it into a computer repair shop that we should try powering it up so that I could take a look at it and see what might be wrong with it. Perhaps it was something simple that I could fix. Since John had his laptop with him and his AC Adapter was compatible with the laptop he had just given me, we went off in search of a power outlet. As it turned out it needed a hard drive so that became the goal: a hard drive and an AC Adapter.

Being homeless means being on a very limited budget, so I had to figure out how to get a hold of an AC Adapter at a price I could afford. I tried various places, including thrift stores – where a person can find some really nice bargains – but to no avail. The prices of a new adapter were way out of my price range. But, then another blessing popped up out of nowhere.

Mary Garcia-Lemus, the producer of Suckerfish, called to see how I was doing and I mentioned that I had been going around trying to find an adapter. She told me that she knew of a computer tech that might have one or know where we could track one down (hopefully at a price I could afford).

The computer tech didn’t have one. So she called her brother Andy, who lives in Clovis, CA and asked him about the adapter. To make a long story short, between the both of them, the acquired an AC Adapter for me on the Internet – at quite a bit less than the prices I had been quoted – and, Voila! – A few days later Mary presented me with a brand new AC Adapter.

At just around that time, I met Jack Tuttle, a young man here in SLO, who had seen Suckerfish. He had taken the time to talk to me and see how things were going with me. Needless to say, I was pretty excited about everything that had been going on in my life and I gave him a quick run down of it all. When he left the spot where I had been standing I didn’t expect in that less than 40 minutes he would be returning with a gift – and what it gift it was.

As he pulled up that second time, he parked about 20 feet from where I was and I could tell that he wanted to talk to me about something. I walked over to his vehicle and he asked me if I had a wireless modem for the laptop. I told him I didn’t. With that, he reached into the back seat of his car and pulled out a laptop shoulder bag. Opening the bag, he drew out a wireless modem and told me that his new computer had the Wi-Fi modem already integrated into the system so he didn’t need his old modem. He also gave me the laptop bag, an umbrella (because it was scheduled to rain within the next day or so) and a very nice hooded sweatshirt with a nice fleece lining. About a week or so later, he also provided me with some much-needed software.

There was Jennifer and her son, Eric of Los Osos, CA, who provided me with some additional software. Daniel Ruis of San Luis Obispo, CA, who also gave me some software. Then there is Chris Harai, a young student at Cal Poly University who I met in early April.

Chris is an architect major who decided to design a "Transitional Homeless Center" as part of his academic project. He and I met one morning for coffee and to discuss his project. He knew that there was a certain internal electronic part that I needed for the laptop and that morning as he and I said goodbye, he made a "donation" toward the purchase of that part.

16th century poet/philosopher John Donne wrote:

"No man is an island unto itself…"

In my lifetime I have met quite a number of people whom, in order to soothe their own egos, go out of their way to tell others – and themselves – that they are completely self-sufficient. They don’t need anyone else’s help; they can do it all on their own. Thank you very much.

More’s the pity.

Me? I most definitely needed help to get to this point in my life. And I’m glad about that. Had I not needed help, I would have missed out on meeting some really wonderful people – people who were going about their own business but still took the time to reach out to me in aid and compassion.

I’m sure that someone somewhere will say that I was lucky.

Absolutely. I’ve been blessed and I know it. It makes my gratitude all the greater.

Some others might say that the help I received was a crutch.

I’ll be the first one to agree that it definitely was a crutch. But, you know what? When you’ve fallen down and have broken a leg, a crutch is a pretty good thing to have while your leg is on the mend and you’re looking forward to the time when you stand on your own two feet again.

To most people, heroism is an act of courage or bravery. I’ve discovered that heroism is an act of character.

Each of the people who have helped me along the way are certainly persons of strong moral character. Without the thought of anything in return for themselves, they reached out and helped to restore this life of mine. Their acts of compassion and giving have provided a means with which I can begin to rebuild my life.

I know that whatever failures I have throughout my life will certainly be my own. But from this day forward, whatever successes I enjoy will be shared victories. They will be successes built upon a foundation that is reinforced with the compassionate, generous and giving attitudes of other people.

To them I dedicate this posting…

…They are the heroes of this tiny life.

Anyway, I have to go. I have to get to work now. Yippie!

P.S. – There is one other person left to thank… but I’ll do that in the next posting.

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