2010 Mid March of 2010, we found out why Lisa was getting sicker and realized she was dying from a terminal and incurable cancer. I made friends with Ray before the year ended and he said ‘don’t worry about money, we’ll flip motorcycles!’… over the past 8 years we’ve bought and sold almost 30 bikes together and paid off nearly $50k in medical expenses that insurance won’t cover. Thank you Lord and thank you Mayday.
And another thing, it turns out, all of my closest friends… you guys… liked riding motorcycles. I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried. Each and every one of you in one way or another helped me during a terrifying time to raise money for the protocol that’s saved Lisa’s life so far (not discounting the Lord of course). You donated money, helped me find ways to make money, helped set up gigs for the John Mark stuff; the overwhelming challenge of paying for the protocol was conquered and I became forever in your debt.
The terror passed, Lisa regained strength and hope.
And I had a secret motorcycle gang that would meet with me at least once a year. Sorta.
I remember standing in my backyard when Greg told me about Joel Landi. I’d met Joel and Julie in Manhattan for lunch back in 2003. They’d moved to the Hamptons to start a church just as my New York life was disintegrating. We didn’t really know each other well, but sometime in 2009, I think, I gave Joel a call and we hit it off on the phone. So well, in fact, he flew up on his own dime just to spend a couple of days with me in Portland. We drove around mostly, went out to PIR where some kind of NASCAR event was prepping and Joel just wanted me to hear the roar of the engines. And we talked about him wanting to get a motorcycle and race on the track.
That sounded pretty outrageous to me at the time. I took Joel up to get a good view of Portland, from the perch where OHSU sits. A tram ride takes you there and it’s one of the cooler things in our little town…
… and I asked Joel if he’d like to ride a bike. I had my Thruxton and a buddy had an older T-bird and Joel and I hit some back roads heading over to the coast. I remember it as a warm Fall day, maybe Joel can help with the exact dates. But I’m putting it at the end of 2008 because I’d start track riding about a year later, and Joel and I were already in cahoots by then. He was still in the ministry and when we found out Lisa was sick a year and a half later, Joel was the first person at a church in the U.S. to ask me if he could help. He organized a John Mark event in Long Beach, and three other spots in the LA church. That was later, in the Spring of 2011. I did four shows in one day thx to Joel Landi and it began 4 years of traveling to churches around the world doing my one man show and raising over $30k a year for Lisa’s protocol. That day in LA, to get to all 4 spots was really a tight schedule and only possible if you split lanes…
That Daytona went up and down the I5 between Portland and Chuckwalla and Joel’s house a couple of times. But forget about the bike.
Here’s the thing: from the first time Joel came up to see me I was taken aback by his love and concern for Lisa and me. Then over the next few years, I’d fly down to LA and Joel would pick me up at the airport, bikes already loaded in the back of the truck; rooms already booked out in the desert near Chuckwalla, one of my favorite spots on Earth.
My impression is most folks see the surface of this man, and to my daughter, at least, who has an almost creepy crush on this guy, his surface is very beautiful. His athletiscm and looks and analytical genius don’t tell the story, though. Joel has a huge heart when you let him in. Just last year I had this gig doing John Mark up in a church an hour or more north of Ventura County. I looked up and Joel and his whole family had driven up just to give me a hug…
(continued in next email)
Thank you Steve for the love and the friendship and privilege of being a part of all off this.
There are times when someone steps up to the podium during a contribution message and reminds us of how grateful we should be for the “gift of giving”. Much to my shame, that message has fallen on a hardened soil too often.
But your words are reviving and a reminder that it is indeed a grace to give – and God’s words are always proven right. Joel (man without a name)