What it’s actually like living with Sage Lewis

Can you imagine the conversations at the King house after they were fire bombed?

The Montgomery bus boycott started December 1, 1955. On January 30, 1956 segregationists fire bombed Martin Luther King Jr.’s house with his wife and 10 week old baby living in it.

I think about what those family “talks” must have been like.

He didn’t start the bus boycotts. He was asked to come to Montgomery to be their spokesperson. He was asked to be the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA).

The Kings are in Montgomery not 2 months and they blow up his house.

The reality of activism is a lot different than the idealism of activism.

Fortunately, my house hasn’t been blown up. But the trouble I’ve caused my family is not insignificant.

The problem is: I’ve always been this way. I’m just becoming more me.

My wife will admit she knew what she was getting into when she married me.

I was the living embodiment of Dean Moriarty from the book “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac. Carefree. Adventurous. A free spirited maverick. A person who is “tremendously excited with life.”

I was a cellist turned literature major at an expensive liberal arts college on a full ride. (Come to think of it, they probably wanted me there as a form of oddity and curiosity so upper middle class students could see what a poor kid from the other side of the tracks with a burning passion for life looked like.)

The problem with Dean Moriarty is that everybody eventually gets sick of him. This reviewer sums it up by saying “He [Dean] is the most magnetic character in the book, but everybody in the book gets sick of him at one point or another.”

I get it. No one is more sick of me than me.

I hate looking at myself. I hate hearing myself. I hate thinking about all the over the top things I do. I’m the front row audience member of the Sage show that would love to just walk out of the theater.

But the problem is: this is me. This is who I am. I am not at peace with myself. I am never content. I can’t turn off the passion. I am just a storm. A constant storm.

Loose canon. Bull in a china shop. These are common descriptors of me.

I’ve learned to control manifestations of this cyclone. I quit drinking 16 years ago. Same with smoking and drinking coffee. I’ve run 3 marathons in an attempt to control my mind. I’ve run businesses. And now I’m an activist for homeless people.

These are all just coping mechanisms to try to tame this undying, raging fire that is Sage Lewis.

The super hero I most identify with is Incredible Hulk. I’m just always trying to manage this raging beast inside of me.

Ironically, my newest manifestation of an outlet (homeless activist) is probably the most troublesome to my family of them all.

Activism doesn’t make sense to those nearest the activist.

Ask the church next to me how they felt about having an activist with 50 homeless people in his back yard. “Sure. It’s good to help the needy and all. But let’s get real. We can’t have all these homeless people around our church. It’s bad for business.”

Ask the Food Bank or the Health Department when they immediately stopped allowing me to give out food or needles or Narcan after they read an article in the local newspaper they we were shut down. I mean, neither of them bothered to talk to me about what that meant. They just read something and that was good enough for them to abandon ship.

“We aren’t here to actually fix real problems. We are just the people that put Band Aids on problems.”

When the Incredible Hulk comes to town to fix problems everybody gets a little uneasy. “Whoa Sage. We don’t just fix problems around here. We have a process we all follow. You clearly didn’t get the memo.”

“You’re doing it wrong, Sage.”

That’s the underlying message I hear across the board.

You are supposed to drop off some old clothes somewhere. Or maybe make a donation to an approved charity somewhere.

But actually sheltering people that have nowhere else to sleep. That’s just madness.

They always like to tell people “I have a big heart” before they launch into an endless diatribe about how I’m not doing things right and how they are the experts.

The closer you get to the epicenter of the Sage storm the more problematic it becomes.

This is probably why Jesus told his followers not to have a family.

Let the dead bury their own dead (Luke 9:60). He commanded his disciples: Leave parents, siblings, spouse even hate them and follow me.

That’s just the activist in him talking. Jesus was a hard core extremist.

He clearly understood that family was just going to get in the way of pushing for serious change.

And that’s where I draw the line.

I get exactly what he’s saying. I know where he’s coming from.

But my wife and kid are the only thing that ties me to Earth. They are the string on my balloon. I have no desire to just float off into the sky becoming a wild tornado with no structure or real connection to the earth.

I feel bad for them. Of all the people that experience the Sage Lewis storm, these two people live in a 2 bedroom apartment with it.

It’s messy. It’s loud. It’s a 6 foot 2 inch 240 pound spinning cyclone sitting at their dining room table in a recliner. I can’t even imagine what that must be like. I try to soften it by being amusing. I don’t yell. I am kind. I try to help out around that house (poorly). But I’m sure that only goes so far.

I am fearless. I am passion incarnate. I am serious. I am driven.

I am terrifying.

I am the kind of guy that will wake up with a new “brilliant” idea and just do it.

The biggest problem I’m causing my family these days is financial.

While we are fine financially, my wife has grown tired of being my primary financial backer. She runs our agency, SageRock. From doing the work, to paying the bills, to invoicing clients. She does it all.

I had a path that was working to get her off the hook as that sole financial provider for the family. Then the city shut everything down at our building. Our charity simply no longer had a need to use our building so it stopped renting space from us.

Rightfully so, she is over it.

Life is a chess game. If you don’t want to lose certain pieces then it limits the number of moves you can make.

I am not losing my family. That’s my hard stop. So, it dictates the moves I have left to make.

The clearest move to make is to sell 15 Broad Street.

It is a financial drain on our family mostly because we just don’t have a need for it any more.

We don’t need it for our marketing agency. We can’t use it for our charity. So it has become an anchor that is slowing me down and weighing on my wife.

Selling 15 Broad Street is the most straight forward move to take financial stress off my wife while also letting me be free to continue to help homeless people and change the unbelievable policies of a government that thinks it’s acceptable to torture homeless people.

Possibly you saw the Akron Beacon Journal this past Friday talking about our sale:

Property that once housed homeless camp in Akron is up for sale – News – Akron Beacon Journal – Akron, OH

The full listing is here:

15 Broad St, Akron, OH, 44305 – Office Property For Sale | LoopNet.com

My wife just told me, “It’s not easy being married to me. But it has it’s upsides.”

It’s hard enough to live day to day with a guy like me. But dragging us down financially is more than any one human should have to deal with.

We all know the incredible speaking capabilities of Martin Luther King Jr., but his negotiation skills he must have pulled off with his wife to stay with him in Montgomery Alabama after that fire bombing must have been legendary and other worldly. That’s the speech I want to hear.

I just need to make sure my family is comfortable. I signed up for that way before I signed up for anything else. They will always be what matters to me most. Selling 15 Broad Street is the quickest and easiest way to take some of the heat off them.






One response to “What it’s actually like living with Sage Lewis”

  1. Great insight, Sage. Keep doing what you’re doing!