Yesterday I was tired due to having spent the majority of the night before interceding over the world. I was not apathetic just physically and mentally tired. The sun was shining and it was so pretty out I told Dave let’s just walk the beach, I don’t care if we do the street. The weekends in Santa Barbara are slammed and there are usually events going on up and down State St. I really didn’t want to fight the crowds and usually the homeless are not so evident. Dave had read about food tasting and wanted to check out what was happening so I told him, cool but if we do State I want to ride the tram. We strolled the beach and watched the waves, there was a lot of action going on, some surfing lessons and other planned activities but we avoided the most of it and just strolled. Dave had said since I was tired we didn’t have to do the street but when we got to the pier the tram was there so we jumped on. There were a couple of people on already and as we sat a guy got on and sat across from us. He said hi first, telling Dave he liked his dolphin necklace. Three things tend to get comments on a regular basis, Dave’s dolphin necklace, his cane and Gabe; this trifecta tends to open conversations for us. Dave told him where he’d bought it and the conversation was on. Jason, pointed to his leather straps around his neck and said that he had been wearing a Celtic cross and had lost it somewhere in his walking. He then opened his hand and showed us a cross that he’d found when he’d stopped to help someone else. This began a conversation which would be mostly dominated by Jason. He is a native of the area and after asking what we were doing here he proceeded to tell us about the sights. He shared how a Hemp clothing store was the only one on the strip still owned by a local. That this gentleman did so much good for the community that the owners of the building had not gone up on his rent when the things here boomed and most of the original shops were closed to make way for the corporations to set up their stores. He told of how the owner had an autistic child and a famous person (I hadn’t heard of) had come into the store and heard of how much good the owner had done for the community and had an autistic son and so he bought over two hundred shirts to wear on his tour for that next year and wore it in honor of this man’s son. Jason shared about singers who hold workshops for local kids to give back to the community. It was enlightening to say the least. He shared about his girl friend having been homeless at one time and the guy who had protected her on the streets had just died and he was attending his memorial the next day. He talked of his mom, of his ex wife…Basically Jason shared a large portion of his life with us there on the tram. You might ask how is this a grace point? Well besides saying he was on heart medication and us telling him we would and have prayed for him, sometimes people just need to connect with others. I’m sure his heart was heavy about a friend passing, I know he wants to do good and be of use to the community, it is evident that he needed a listening ear. How often are we that for someone? Dave and mostly listened just allowing him to speak. When Dave mentioned how long we had been married, Jason looked at me and said, “Thank you for being good to a good man”. I could see that he wanted to be appreciated as a good man. someone who was worth being good to. If walking the streets has taught me anything, it has taught me that people are lonely, people want and need to tell their stories, people need to be called by their names. When Jason introduced himself to us he removed his sun glasses and said, “I believe you need to look people in the eye”. I took mine off as well and got a complement on my eyes being so blue. I hope he saw more than blue there, I pray he saw someone interested in his life and someone with compassion. When was the last time someone really listened to you, showed such intense interest that you could tell practically your whole story? If you have ever been privileged to have such an experience and they are rare, how did it make you feel? Reminds me again of the woman at the well, Yeshua showed interest in her life, so much so that her witness to the men in town; “come and see a man who told me all that I’ve done in my life”. In other words, “come see a man who took the time to see me, the real me (dirt and all) and extend love like I’ve never seen before”. This was enough to bring the guys to Him. I wonder if anyone decided they didn’t want to see someone who could see all they had done, who they were, what they had been up to? I think if someone did feel a bit reticent that they overcame it because the need was/is so strong to be seen, known and loved.
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