Tuesday, 30 June 2009
03:40:01 PM (GMT)
This is a real story and Draco Verum's own life experience.
Last August I did what I've been planning on doing for weeks: printed out a sign,
pasted it to a box and stood at a busy intersection holding it up for everyone to
It was a simple message, but one that the stony expressions on many of the faces I'd
seen all around me seemed to cry out for:
YOU ARE LOVED
I stood there for 4 hours, trying to show as many people as I could that there was
indeed someone out here...a stranger..a brother...who loves them.
The response was touching. More often than not, the blank expressions turned to
smiles. Even the "too cool" among them couldn't help but shift the corners of their
mouths a bit. Some waved, others threw up peace signs..some rolled down their windows
and yelled "YOU ARE TOO!"
Perhaps the most touching of all was a woman who, while stopped at the light, made a
gesture as if to hug me. Not romantic, but familiar...sisterly. And I sent a hug back
her way..unabashed, unashamed..moved. Here we were at a safe distance..both providing
a sort of validation to the other..that perhaps the world isn't as full of cold,
apathetic robots or villainous psychopaths as we might be inclined to believe.
There were a few dubious shouts of "WHO LOVES ME?" as if they were waiting for me to
respond "Jesus loves you!" Instead, I'd say "I DO! I LOVE YOU ALL VERY MUCH!" Then
they'd smile and throw a thumbs up.."THAT'S COOL" one said.
And some broke out their cameras and snapped a shot. One even stopped and asked me to
pose. How could I not oblige?
And the cops drove by 3 times. I waved and pointed to the sign. "YOU ARE LOVED" Then
I'd move over by a group of Election signs stuck in the ground nearby..in case one
thought perhaps I was creating a distraction for drivers with my own.
And there was the car full of nuns that honked and waved. And the jogger with his
son. And the crazy teen with the flower painted on her cheek that stuck her head out
of the window and shouted a loong drawn out.."I Loovvee YOOUU TOOOO!!!"
And a skater showed up and joined in. "Hey! We love you!" he yelled at the passing
cars, while I just held up my sign and grinned. "YOu are LOVED! It's TRUE! We Love
you!" he continued.
When his ride came, I told him to keep it real..and they honked their horn and
smiled. "I'll be making a sign and going over to (street name)", he said, "that was
fun!" And who knows? Maybe he will.
The old Army Vet showed up and tried to press me about Jesus and Heaven.
"Do you know if you're going to heaven when you die?"
"Well, gee chief..I'm too busy enjoying life to worry about dying."
"But do you know? Do you know who made heaven possible for you?", he evangelized.
"Do tell me brother, I'm happy to learn what you know.." was my response.
And he went on to explain Jesus and all manner of things I'd heard before, then
pressed some booklets in my hand, for which I thanked him.
And I wished him a beautiful day. And told him once again, how much I loved him and
appreciated him stopping by.
And he smiled. Very satisfied to have shared what was important to him. It didn't
matter that I was completely focused on the moment, not the message.
"What church are you from?" the limo driver asked. (The previous limo's occupant had
stuck his head out of the sunroof to tell me to keep it up...and that he loved me
"No church at all! Just the church of Brotherly Love! I want everyone to know how
much I love them." was my reply. And he nodded and smiled. Then gave me a thumbs up.
The day drew on. And through the weariness of the workday, they still found their
smiles. And they still found enough energy to toot the horn or risk a wave at a
stranger. And I'd wave back, or throw them a peace sign..and smile.
Lots of smiles.
Of all of the people that passed me that day there was only ONE negative response.
Some kids making a left turn yelled "And YOU are a ****!"
I just threw them a peace sign and turned my attention elsewhere.
There was no need to worry. They were outnumbered by the young and the eldery, the
black, white, asian and latino. They were outnumbered by the well-to-do and the poor
alike. They were outnumbered by the truckers and the bikers and the gangstas and the
yuppies who all seemed to appreciate the fact that someone out there loved them, and
had taken the time to say so.
I've been doing this every week fairly regularly since then.
Some offer money, I don't accept it. (Although I do accept a free bottle of cold
water on a hot day.)
The pizza place down the street gave me a free pizza..insisted on it.
The guy at the 7-11 8 blocks away recognized me and offered my girl and I free
drinks. We thanked him and paid anyway.
All in all, this has been a positive experience..one that has helped restore my faith
in the fact that we are NOT alone in this world..surrounded by robots..it just seems
like it some days. And I believe, from what I've seen, that most of us wish society
wasn't so cold..and that we weren't so distant from one another.
I learned that being a brave, tough, courageous person means facing your
fears...whatever they are...not just the kind that might get your faced kicked in.
(Withdrawing from an argument when our brains are screaming at us to say something
back could just be the bravest thing some of us have ever done.)
Being brave might mean showing your feelings when you're afraid to, because you've
learned to hide them or because you're afraid of what others might say.
It might mean standing at an intersection with a strange message with thousands of
complete strangers driving by, judging you (for good or for bad) when it would be
much easier not to stand there.
Being brave could very well mean caring for others, sincerely..whether or not we're
shown any concern in return.
It might even mean giving a stranger a hug or a kind word..or a smile..because they
need one..and because we're all in this mad experiment called society together.
So here's what I'd like to say to each and every one of you:
I may not agree with you, but that's ok. I love you.
I may not like the things you do to yourself and to others, but that's ok. I love
When you're with friends and happy as can be..I love you.
When you're alone, sad, frustrated..feeling left out of life..I love you.
When you've been praised, honored and put on a pedestal on your best days..I love
When you've been teased, taunted, dumped on, beat up, cheated on, taken advantage
of..it's ok..we'll get through it together..because I love you.
And in the end, you may think I'm completely out of my mind for saying so..but I love
you. I really do. Thanks for being here and sharing this world and the moments we
have in it with me.
Feel free to post ANY thoughts or comments you might have.
Shout-outs to friends, family and loved ones are also appreciated.
Bumps, of course are always welcome.
And I'll be bumping the thread myself here and there just to remind you that, like it
or not, you ARE loved.
And I mean it for REAL..for real. Thanks for taking the time.