I am kind of bummed today. I have been using a large SLR camera to take pictures for my Website. Sometimes though it is not convenient to carry such a large item around and my back has been having some issues with carrying around all of this gear everywhere I go. How do parents do it?!
Anyway, I own a small digital camera, a Canon PowerShot SD400, however, I haven’t been using it because the battery wasn’t staying charged for more than a minute or two. So, I broke down and bought the $40 battery (a good one so it wouldn’t die in a few months). It arrived yesterday and I took it with me last evening to try it out. It worked fine. Today I took the camera out to use it and the display is all messed up. It’s as if I dropped it or got water in it, but I didn’t. It’s really weird. If anyone knows what might be wrong with it, I would love to hear from you. I shouldn’t let it get to me, I don’t really need it anyway.
I think today’s recipient would probably agree with that statement. He goes by the name Start Loving.
Those of you who have been to Washington, DC have probably visited this place right?
But how many of you have visited this place?
Well it’s right in front of the White House. The Anti Nuclear Peace Vigil was started in 1981 by Concepción and Thomas. Sadly Thomas passed away last year and now Start has taken his place. It’s hard for me to fully comprehend that when Concepción and Thomas started the vigil I was only seven!
As I approached Start he greeted me, “Hello friend!” He was seated in a low chair with a laptop literally on his lap with a WiFi card plugged in giving him Internet access. I plopped down on the sidewalk next to him and we talked for about an hour. I asked him why he was doing this and he cleverly responded, “Because I’m too greedy to do anything else.” I told Start that I did not get too involved with political issues. Start shared an analogy for why I should be more active that went something like this. “Imagine you come home to find your house engulfed in flames and your loved ones and your worldly possessions trapped inside. Wouldn’t you do everything in your power to save your loved ones and put that fire out? Well our planet is on fire!”
Check out this video of me talking to Start. I think you will be shocked to learn about the life Start left behind to follow his heart.
You might disagree with some of his views, but what is unquestionable is his conviction and passion.
In case you are wondering, yes the tattoos on his face are real. Did you try to stop the video and enlarge it to read what they said? Well, I will save you the work. From left to right on his forehea are: “STOP STARVING” ‘START LOVING” “STOP KILLING.” Below that it reads “WAGE LOVE OR DIE.”
Here is something that I took from his page:
MY RELIGION (same as Jesus, King, Gandhi, Teresa, Romero, Eleanor, Obamas…): Universal Love.
PEACE: is the presence of Universal Love.
WAR: HOSTILITY is the presence of Conditional Love.
MY FAMILY (same as Jesus, King, Gandhi, Teresa, Romero, Eleanor…): All people born and unborn.
QUOTE: “The greatest madness of all is to see things as they are, and not as they should be.” Cervantes, Man of La Mancha.
It was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak with him. “Millions of people visit the White House every year, but only a few come over here to visit,” Start tells me. I encourage everyone to stop by and talk to Start. If you are near the White House between 6am-10:30am and most evenings from 7pm-10pm (sometimes he is not there in the evening when he delivers bread to local shelters) stop by and talk with Start. Concepción, who I didn’t meet, is usually at the vigil other times. Sometimes when neither can be there a friend will man the vigil.
Start is going to give the $10 to a hero of humanity. Maybe someone doing a hunger strike. I asked him if I could help him with anything on the Lend a Hand page. He said he couldn’t think of anything, not even a new pair of shoes to replace his sandals that are held together with tape. He later did think of something. He said that Concepción needs a working laptop to use for email and Internet browsing. If someone has a computer please reach out to me or Start.
I asked Start if he would do this for the rest of his life. “I will, unless I find something that benefits humanity more than this.” He gave me a big hug and we shook hands and I walked home.
UPDATE: May 17, 2010
Start shared his experience giving my $10 away on his blog today!