After a lengthy delay, followed by a sudden bout of exhaustion (again!), this entry will serve as the penultimate log before the long awaited conclusion of this adventure.
I have sought, before and after my arrival into New York, a means to enter the Statue of Liberty. Despite my best efforts, the results point to a forlorn conclusion — all this time, despite the distance I have gone, my efforts inevitably prove to be in vain.
There is no one else to blame in this instance. The matter is out of my hands. For the city and park board, the story proves too far fetched, the people involved too controversial, and their priorities far exceeding that of my own. I would not fault them for that.
My thoughts return to the months prior, bordering close to regret, though oddly enough I do not feel anything remotely related to that. What if I did my research more thoroughly, would I have booked a ticket in time? What if I had more strength to press on, would I have interacted with the many people I have met all the same?
The final lesson, out of many that I have learned, proves to be the most important – this journey, by itself, exceeds worth greater than that of the final destination. By now if you have been following this odyssey, perhaps you know then that given the choice, what would a handful of stairs, a body of water, and a closed gate do to prevent me from my goal?
It proves to be a bittersweet realization. The questions that occupy my thoughts are no longer about the immediate, rather driven by the clarity of my actions. They seem extraordinary to the eyes of everyone I have spoken them to. Dozens, if not hundreds, I have encountered – driven by these meager exploits, inspired by them – call out from the darkness that same message I carried.
You are not alone.
You have a story.
You have a voice.
Don’t give up.
All of them, from everyone, from everywhere, calling out time and time again:
Because of you, I didn’t give up.
I never did. I kept my eyes on the road, answered its call, and carried a light of hope of my own. That same light took me from one corner of a single continent, like that of so many individuals before me, to wherever it was that I needed to go. I tried my best to uphold the virtues of the good and just folk that came before me, my inspirations, my heroes – I tried, above all else, all for that simple belief of spreading it around.
All there was to it was holding – no, clinging – onto that belief. Almost six months, approximately 300-500 miles walking the city blocks, and over 3000 miles on bus and train, all that there is to accomplishing anything is a stubborn belief.
It can push you far beyond anything you thought you are capable of.
Most importantly I tried to do that in a world that focuses towards self-preservation, at an age where ordinary men and women no longer make that or any type of effort. Could that truly be so selfish an ambition? Could it truly be so harmful, despite all the cynicism within modern thought, to help others?
It seems ironic that a sadomasochist would be the one to speak of such things.
Am I then a hypocrite, based upon my practices, to voice these matters aloud? Am I a stranger to my own culture that I would toil and labor to extend that love beyond? Or have we truly become so confused in the matters of brotherly love, that in our own hardships we forsake them over petty differences?
I do not know.
I do know that from the mutual generosity and compassion shown to me by my brothers and sisters, by strangers I never knew, that it does exist. I know that it is increasingly difficult everyday to show support to strangers, that it is easier to find excuses to ignore or disregard them. Such reasons are entirely legitimate – different merely by perspective – yet at times it is important to ignore them. I know only that love, despite how distant the thought may be, still exists even in the most peculiar of ways.
At last it seems that I have come to understand the legend of the Statue of Liberty herself. She was built not by the efforts of a single man but those who also shared that man’s vision. It would not have been feasible to build her by a handful of laborers. Instead the many countless men and women, from all backgrounds, each with a story, built her as a monument of hope. That torch has endured, forever, never extinguished.
For the people that share this earth, separated by infinite variations, the capacity for goodness to triumph, the mutual love for one another, remains all the same. Each of the generations born in every country has a story to tell, a journey that began long ago, and as equals beneath her immortal gaze – by their labors, by their dedication, those wishes came true in time.
Each of the folks that came before me flew a flag of their own, marking the country of their origin. In their silent or spoken prayers, they sent their love to those that shared or helped their journey. They were not selfish wishes but a tribute, for those that came before, for those that they have met along the way. I have finally understood it.
Now, separated only through circumstance, I will fly the flag before her visage from across the bay. In the eyes of a passerby it would seem like a trivial moment. I do not think many would know of the truth behind this journey itself, its meaning, and its importance. Though I could not reach her, though I could not climb her steps, I believe in my heart of hearts she would still hear my wish.
I believe that while the intent is strong, the possibility of it coming true is stronger, and that it would not go unheard like those that came before me.
All that matters now is one final push: