Over 16 million people in the greater Los Angeles area. Personalities, faiths and experiences too infinite for me to even comprehend. Every day we go through life crossing paths with strangers with very little opportunity to interact. What is interesting, though, and perhaps you have experienced this yourself, there always seems to be strange glimpses of light within the shadows of humanity.
Wow! Nice poetic statement, Mr. Radstone. What do you mean by it?
I can answer that with the experience I had today.
As I have challenged us lately, I too have been taking heed to the counsel of “look, listen and feel.” So today, when I find myself on a coastal outing with my daughter, we take time to stop for an early dinner at a popular local dining haunt: The Malibu Fish Co. It’s a cool little gathering space for fresh seafood. You name it, they have it; from lobster tails to fish and chips. It’s really quite a funky place. Walk up to the counter, order your catch of the day just the way you like it, stand outside with other fish hungry customers and wait for your number to be called, en route to an outdoor table.
Being a self-proclaimed observationalist, I keep my chin up to take in all the personalities that surround me, and in doing so, one man standing quietly in a flat cap, somehow speaks to me as he quietly waits for his number to be called. At that moment I feel an impulse to invite him into 365, and as I close in on him his order is called, causing him to step out of my path.
Now, I promised myself to never approach someone while they are eating, so now, with my unknown friend readying himself to break bread with his wife, I decide to redirect my 365 efforts.
My daughter and I sit at our table to enjoy our meal with friends – whom by-the-way, we bump into as we are placing our order. It’s really a weird day. This place is way far away from where we and our friends live, and to run into them at this particular time at this particular place is rather odd.
Back to the flat cap man: I sit eating with my family and friends and at the table across from us he sits with his wife, enjoying their fish and chips. I’m telling you, I just can’t take my eyes off of them and am compelled to interrupt their meal and introduce myself. This is a huge hurdle for me to break one of my own rules, but the feeling is too powerful to ignore.
I sit directly across from them at a neighboring table and excusing myself for interrupting them, lean toward them and explain 365. Their eyes light up. We exchange handshakes, and Alan, the man from afar, along with his wife, LaDonna, warmly open up to me.
I tell Alan about the impression I had when I first saw him and he expresses back to me that he received a similar impression to speak to me as well.
I find it absolutely remarkable that in a crowded dining area that people come together for reasons beyond that of logic.
Alan tells me of his life in offering us counsel.
“I was born-again from alcoholism 30 years ago. I remember it clearly. One night when I was driving in my car drinking beer, I had an experience where I met Jesus, and he gave me a life worth living. We all have to look beyond the physical and the scientific and seek a higher power.
“I’ve spent the last 30 years experiencing this and using it to help others in other parts of the world. I’ve done Missionary work in England, Pakistan, and Haiti.”
Alan is the real deal and by his works he puts his life in perspective to what he proclaims. And proclaim he does by running a small ministry with is wife, LaDonna.
LaDonna shares a few words in regard to how we should treat each other: “In our world we have lost the ability to honor each other regardless of who we or they are.”
In a world where many view organized religion as controlling, it is quite enlightening to meet someone at the head of a ministry who proclaims the freedom for all to worship and live according to their will.
LaDonna quotes: “Peace comes through freedom and truth is truth.”
And what is the truth and peace and freedom that Alan and LaDonna promote? They answer us in their wishes for the future. Alan speaks for both of them, “I know a lot of people talk of world peace, and here is my perspective of it. World peace would be nice, but not a world peace that would dominate people and not allow them to have the freedom to express themselves in the way they see fit.”
Bottom line, as I see it, Alan and LaDonna are doing their part in making the planet a better place for us all. They speak of selfless acts and allowing those they associate with to have the freedoms they so richly deserve.
As per selfless acts, I am wholly impressed to learn of Alan’s planned journey only one month away. In a time where many of us look at our away time as an opportunity to vacation at resorts or destinations that refill our well, Alan has chosen to help refill the well of others. His journey? Back to Haiti to do his part in helping build an orphanage.
And here’s one other little point of interest in today’s 365 outing. As I depart from my meeting with Alan and LaDonna, a voice from a table reaches out to me, “I’m number 33!” It catches me off-guard at first. For a second I wonder why someone is telling me their order number, but as quickly as that thought enters my mind, I recognize my friend, Mario of 365, Day 33 (Get Off Your Butt and Exercise). A man who I met over four months ago and 30 miles away. Man, it really is a small world!