July 4th, 2009
Love Park, Philadelphia, PA
hey everyone, it’s me, shyam, ftx #1!
i have to apologize that it’s taken me this long (a month!) to get the word on the street about our ftx love extravaganza that took place on the fourth of july in philadelphia!!
philly, the city i was born in, is more of a mystery to me than it should be. even though i grew up only 15 minutes away from it in south jersey i pretty much only came over the delaware river on the walt whitman bridge as a young boy to go to museums and see the liberty bell and later to see concerts as i discovered my lifelong inspiration in music.
i was always proud to tell people i was from philly. to me it stood as a grand american city full of history – both old and new.
plus rocky! i mean come on, some of the greatest films ever made. at least 1, 2, 3 & 6!!!!
but i didn’t know the people and they didn’t know me.
this past 4th of july that has begun to change.
since starting ftx i’ve learned a lot of things. things about myself and about people and hopefully a thing or two on how to make french toast! i’ve also learned about faith. if you’ve ever read about or been to any of the previous ftxs you would know that more often than not the weather leading up to the event is usually rain. not just a simple rain but torrents of rain pounding down hard and exhausting.
and then the sun appears.
not just any old sun, but the kind of sun that only comes out after the rain storm has blown itself hoarse. the kind of sun that turns the drops into jewels and the puddles into glistening mirrors. the same was no different this 4th of july.
that’s a kind of faith i guess. to trust in what you can’t see but you somehow know. i’ve been thru it so many times that even a controlling person like myself has to accept that things will work out the way they are supposed to and to let go. even when we did ftx santa monica and i had to push a week on account of rain it didn’t seem like a mistake. it seemed like it was what was meant to happen. and for anyone who was there that day in february ‘07, i’m sure they will agree. it was the perfect day.
the other kind of faith for me is in the people around me that fill my life. the people i call friends and the strangers i meet along my way.
to understand what i’m trying to explain here’s a bit of my history for you….
i came from a place growing up where i didn’t see much worth in myself.
that place was deep inside me and i kept it safe and protected for 30 some years.
now that’s not my parents fault because i was blessed to have two of the best.
and it’s not the friends i had at the time because they were always there for me.
it’s just the way it was.
it’s just the way i was.
and then something happened.
one night in 2002 i sat and looked at the amazing group of friends i had seated beside me.
people capable of creating the most beautiful art i have ever seen.
people who’s word meant something. people who you could depend on.
and in that moment, in all the strengths of these assembled friends, i could see a glimmer of me like a distant star.
i think in that moment i was beginning to realize i was part of a gang.
since then i have discovered that all the pain i had that i thought was so unique was actually not.
that all of us want to be loved. that we want to be part of something.
it was so simple really.
in time i was able to see my faults as well as my strengths in my friends. and in doing so i was able to love myself and others more honestly. and not only with my friends. but with everyone. i see myself in everyone.
so when i came to love park the morning of the 4th i had an army of friends.
friends from los angeles
friends from new jersey & new york
friends from philly
even friends from as far off as australia and india!
but i also had friends i hadn’t even met yet. hundreds of them.
the strangers who came up and raised their hands in joy as they stood in line (for a really long time!) to get some french toast and hugs.
the cop who asked if we were going to be there long, not because of the fact that we didn’t have a permit but because he wanted to invite his pals!
the man with the American flag and the group who welcomed me and #36 in with them as brothers.
the visitors from so many countries who fell into place like they had traveled all this way just to see us.
and to the ones i knew:
regina & john & kate & joe in husum washington throwing their very own ftx with homemade challah bred & homemade maple syrup!
jimmy #17 with ftx shaved into the side of his head by his mom jamie #15!
there was my mom and both sisters, all of us together for the first ftx time!
even my doctor flew in from los angeles to be a part of it (AND probably to see why my cholesterol is so high!)
so i thank you.
on this day of independence i felt connected.
and in this city of brotherly love i felt welcomed home.
to listen to the ftx love streaming soundtrack click here:
FTX Love Soundtrack
to see the local philly chestnut hill newspaper article on it click here:
FTX Chestnut Hill Newspaper Article