As soon as I said my name it was like she realized she was looking at a demon for the 7th level of hell. She exclaimed, "No!"
She quickly shut and locked the door.
I've had some people not appreciate my presence on their doorstep as I knock on what is now over 1000 voters' doors as I make my bid to be the next Ward 8 City Council person here in Akron.
But this level of rebuke was pretty special.
I wasn't so much hurt by it as I was curious as to which part of me she detested so much.
There are just so many valid reasons a person would hate me. It was all I could do not to knock and ask her what part of me she hated the most. But she seemed so disturbed by my presence, I thought I'd just leave her in peace.
I know how she feels. I have to live with myself constantly. I gave up drinking 19 years ago. So there is no escape from me for me. Even my dreams are often filled with anxiety and worry about my actions.
I can't tell you how embarrassed I am about my antics.
It's like there is "Hell-Raising Sage" and there is "Embarrassed Sage. They both live within me and they really don't like each other.
I was just reading this article about my attorneys at the Institute for Justice and I making one last stand at the U.S. Supreme Court to hear our case to let me shelter ANYONE who desperately needs it on my land.
All these years I've just been yelling into the wind in any way I can think to get someone's attention that there are living, breathing human beings freezing to death on our streets and all I want to do is shelter them. Shoot, just let me shelter ONE of them. There answer is always "No!"
The article does an excellent job at highlighting all my failures:
Within those 3 bullet points were countless meetings with city council members, organizing hundreds of supporters to speak at city council. Meetings with lawyers. Meetings with city officials.
All I have gotten out of it is that I am now being sued by the City of Akron personally. If I so much as put a single tent on my personal property, for any reason, I face fines and jail time.
Not only am I loud and crude, I'm also the biggest loser you probably have ever met. I lose over and over and over again.
So, that lady's reaction to me knocking on her door is probably the only really rational response to seeing me coming. Just run and hide.
This is the part of the story where things get weird.
I believe God wants me to keep fighting. And before you roll your eyes at this please know that no one thinks this is kookier than me.
It was 40 degrees and raining today. I knocked on about 60 doors.
I like to be out in bad weather because it makes me feel a little closer to my homeless friends who are undoubtedly out in the rain somewhere in Akron. Being in bad weather just makes me feel closer to them.
So, feeling the deep cold of wet clothes as I continued to ponder this lady's disgust at my existence was all very satisfyingly humbling and painful.
Just then, 3 men yell over to me. They want to see my electric bike. It turns out they were homeless. I don't know if Ward 8 realizes they have homeless people living in their midst but they do.
They were living in cars and some camper somewhere.
One man told me that he had all his belongings stolen. I didn't want to get into the story. The pain of just admitting this truth was already enough for him. He said that he now rides his bike to do job quotes. He rides 30-40 miles a day to do quotes. I didn't ask him what kind of work he did.
I mentioned that I do some work with our homeless population.
One of the guys asked to ride my bike. Of course I let him. He loved it.
And the other 2 just kept asking me about what kind of work I did for homeless people.
They asked about our tent community. They asked about our transitional house.
And then, of course, they profusely thanked me for standing up for their homeless brothers and sisters. They said what they always say: "No one cares about us."
I felt like it was God saying this to me. "No one cares about us."
How many billions of people right now on planet Earth feel that way? I'm afraid to even guess.
And that's why I do it.
That's why I get mad.
That's why I keep knocking on these doors even when people hate me to their core.
That's why I don't quit.
How can you quit when one human being says to you "No one cares about us."
Of course that's not true. There are quite a few groups that care. But for many homeless people living in cars and in backyards hiding from the police and the nuisance inspector, they don't know anyone is out there trying to make things better for them.
They just feel alone and hated for losing everything.
I'll lose and lose and lose till the day I die if I can make one more person think that someone, anyone, cares a little about them.
P.S. I'm sorry about me. I hope you can forgive me. I'm trying to be better.