In 2009-2010, I spent 12 months touring North America with a conscious music band – 6 men (and one guitarist’s wife for a few of those months) – in an SUV vehicle which I’m certain shrank over time. During that entire year, we spent less than 10 nights in hotel rooms. The other 355 days we spent weaving in and out of the lives and living spaces, the living rooms and bedrooms and kitchens and dens and barns and trailers and basements and RVs and porches and tents and offices and closets and anywhere else one could possibly lay down, of essentially complete strangers.
I’m sharing this now because I just watched the deeply touching movie, “Craigslist Joe”, about a young man who travels across the country for 31 days with naught but the wildly random winds of Craiglist fortune to carry him along. This sweet, adventurous young Joe uses only Craigslist to find free rides, free places to sleep, free food, free things to do, and all variety of fascinating people to meet, for 31 days. He goes ‘round the country, from LA to Seattle, over to New York then down to Tallahassee and back to LA, on one improbably inspiring adventure after another. At the poignant end of his journey, we find Joe back in his living room, overwhelmed by the unfathomable generosity he discovered living inside countless hearts across America, each one completely thrilled to delight and care for another.
I lived this experience for an entire year, moving smoothly – mostly – on the winds of pure grace and generosity, from one set of helpful, loving hands into the eager, open palms of another.
I never thought to use Craigslist, but I was traveling with an incredibly talented spiritual pop music band, Here II Here, which was just as useful.
There were a few nights we showed up at our own concerts with no place to stay afterwards and someone in the audience would invariably take us all home. At our first concert in California, after a month spent touring across the country, there were 16 people in a meager audience. There were 6 of us. I assure you it’s a tall order to consistently find free places to sleep for 6 people traveling in one truck. Nonetheless, before the concert was even half over, we had multiple wide-smile offers of comfortable places for us all to stay. In fact, one of my sweetest, most cherished stories from the road offered its impossible miracle that same evening (read about it here).
In those 12 adventurous months, just like Craigslist Joe, I witnessed firsthand the immense generosity stirring inside every human being we encountered. Yes, we also met some crazed and confused people ignorant to their wounds who were somewhat challenging to be around – and surely each of us in the band WAS one of those people at one time or another (except Edwin, that man is freakishly imperturbable).
Still, I witnessed profound love and concern pouring out of people who had never even met us in person until we were walking through their front doors, sometimes even during the darkest, bewitching hours of night. Even in the few chaotic, discordant homes we entered, I saw humankind’s immense and deep-rooted desire to be of service to another.
I know on the surface this world is an ugly place sometimes.
But go a little deeper, peer just beneath the psychic armor we use to protect ourselves from the imaginary boogeymen we think lurk under every bed, and you quickly discover vast treasures of delicious goodness inside the human heart.
If you doubt that even a tiny bit, watch “Craigslist Joe” immediately.
MY CHOSEN INSPIRING QUOTE
“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke, (Letters to a Young Poet)
A VIDEO WITH A FAN DURING OUR 2009 TOUR IN DALLAS