I Love You, From Flip

The other day, I was just hanging out in Willits, CA and thinking about how I need to have more courage to approach strangers to see if they’ll let me talk to them and record our conversation. As I was thinking about this, a homeless man said hello to me as I walked into a store. He followed in shortly after and we both crossed paths at the checkout line. I waited for him outside and asked if we could chat. We went around the corner to get out of the rain and he started to open up his world to me.

In the clips from this clip-isode, you hear a lot about Flip’s desire to love and be loved. We were just talking about various subjects and like a lightning strike of a revelation, he stopped and said, “I’ve got something to say to the world, ‘I love you, from Flip.'” And what better message is there? I love you! Here’s this homeless man, and that’s his message.

I’ve noted in writing about other conversations, that it would be really easy to reduce people to a singular narrative or idea, but reality is always complex. In talking with Flip, I felt like I was being invited into someone’s dreamland. The beauty of a desire to love and be loved was painted as we talked, but vivid nightmarish experiences were talked about as well. Flip spoke of places no person should ever see, of being around tormented souls. He spoke of seeing his own death. I could easily dismiss his stories and wonder what is real, as he sat there drinking, but this was his reality. This is the life, mind, and heart of Flip.

Through the subjects that he didn’t want to talk about and the dark corners of his life that he wouldn’t wish on anyone else, love emerged as his theme. His complexity was honored, but love is what he desires. What was so striking is his acknowledgement of the fact that he’s not perfect and that there would be barriers to having that love, yet in the face of that reality, love is still the desire.

Here’s to hoping that we each give that love. Sometimes those that need it are the last ones we would think to give it to, but how simple it is to show. Love was demonstrated as we sat together and a passerby handed a can of mango juice to Flip without saying a word. He felt connected in that moment. I could see it and feel it as he contemplated the action for a brief moment. Love.