|A pause in his journey|
Somewhere in Georgia
Suddenly I realize I'm not alone, and I look up to see a man saying hello. To be honest, it freaks me out. This isn't Canada, where we tend to be somewhat more chill about pretty much everything and anything. I'd be lying if I said I didn't love that moment when we cross into our home and native land. Don't get me wrong: We love everything the U.S. is, and everything it stands for. But is it just a little scarier to us than Canada is? Sorry, folks, but yes, it is. So when a complete stranger walks up to me and starts chatting me up, my first thought is to be suspicious.
Before long, I realize he isn't a) going to mug me, or b) hit me up for a donation to his cause or even c) ask me for anything. He just wants to tell me he's on a journey of redemption, and sharing his story with others is part of his recovery. Not long ago, he tells me, his life was ruled by drugs and sin. But he managed to rid himself of his demons - his words - one step at a time. As my blood pressure eases a bit, we chat for a few minutes before he agrees to let me take his picture, then continues on his endless walk in search of more strangers to connect with.
Aside from wishing him safe travels, I also find myself wishing we didn't have to live in a world where our first inclination to a friendly overture was something more akin to fear. Maybe the world needs more like him to begin to change the narrative.
Your turn: Do you talk to strangers?