My fellow Quest Companions.
I’ve Titled this thread Exploits in Salem and I will post here about my efforts to start a mentorship program in the chivalric arts. I will post in installments and you are welcome to comment.
For those who may not know, a year ago I set for myself the mission of spawning neighborhood mentorship programs patterned after the concepts set forth in the 12 Trusts of ChivalryNow. My vision is that in each neighborhood there could be found those relatively rare individuals of knightly qualities who could form circles to quite purposely mentor the young in the Chivalric Arts and ceremoniously commemorate their coming of age and initiation into Authentic Adulthood.
Now, a year later, I am, this week, about to submit a Business Plan for making and selling hats. This business, called Lids by LeRoy, will obtain financing through grant money through a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization because the profits from the sale of the caps will be dedicated to opening and financing a volunteer center. The volunteer center will serve the community by focusing on the needs of displaced workers and families and the homeless and needy. The volunteers will be invited to form circles to establish the mentoring programs.
All this has resonated with a number of people in Salem (Oregon) who have been looking for ways to coordinate the efforts of their various organizations, and as it has happened I’ve found my proposal for a volunteer center to be the kind of answer they have been looking for and they are becoming willing to help me get it off the ground.
The business, Lids by LeRoy, will provide financing for the volunteer center. The volunteer center, in addition to aiding the needy, will institute what I will call The WhiteStones Academy of Knighthood and the Chivalric Arts.
And it is a long story that begins with my selling my RV that I was living in and moving onto the streets as a homeless man with two dogs and an electric tricycle and a trailer.
I suppose I should open by telling you that I began with a prayer that acknowledged the Intelligence that brought all, including me, into existence and voiced my desire to know and be sure that the vision I was given was true and a thing outside of myself, a thing not just of my own imaginations. I voiced the need for personnel of the caliber to accomplish the mission; for property on which to locate and operate; and for provisions to accomplish it all.
And then I set up my solar panels in the park to charge my batteries. It was early summer and there were lots of sunny days and I was fairly mobile. But I spent a lot of time just enjoying the sun and the company of friendly people in the park, many of whom were attracted by the novelty of my electric tricycle set up.
Picture me in long leather coat and flat brimmed Akubra. I carry a worm scarred walking stick and my hair and beard are long and often unkempt. Sometimes I’m even grimy from campfires and camp living.
Over the summer there were many “homeless” people I met and had conversations with. They came to know me as the preacher in the park. I admit to preaching in the sense they meant it. You see, in the course of conversation, if I discover that a person will not listen to a word of wisdom, then the conversation is over for me. I’ll continue to listen and be polite, but I move on. But if I discover a person is seeking an answer to a problem that can be solved by a balance being restored and maintained in their character, attitude, personality, and spirit, and I have the words to articulate the answer to them, I do so. And there were and are those who began to seek my advice and understanding. And since I don’t let my friends get away with harmful foolishness, there were a number of lectures that earned me the label preacher in the park.
But I’m not a credentialed preacher with any religion or organization. I’m on my own and any way, I see myself more as an aspiring prophet. Here’s why: “The words of the prophet are like a hammer that breaks stone or like lightening that suddenly lights up the darkness.” And when an apt word is spoken, it is a healing balm to a wound.
As I told Mark, himself a credentialed preacher with “Church in the Park”, I see my job as easy. I listen. People will reveal their real needs if you listen closely. When I see or hear a need that someone has and I have it in my hand to fill that need, I do. And man’s needs, physically, are food, clothing, and shelter. Spiritually man needs purpose, understanding, wisdom, and balance. For that I apply a basic formula that extrapolates to all of man’s problems of character, attitude, personality, and spirit.
There’s the hammer.
There’s the lightning.
When a desperate man suddenly finds relief, the soul is elated, bursts into tears, or gets a goose bump chill, or gasps in inspiration.
And when I’m “preaching” to someone and that happens… I take it as a clear sign … something outside myself … For I see the transformative power of the understanding of Love.
And so over the summer I met many people and talked a lot about the needs of the homeless and the resources in the community and about the things yet lacking, like the need for a “dignity village”.
Then one day I found out that a building owned by the local Jaycees might be available for the cost of the utilities and I calculated that I could foot the bill.
Gotta go. More later.
Love is all Give ... lust is all get.