SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 125: “One of The Chosen”

He says, “You can share anything I have to say, I just don’t want my picture taken.”

There is a jovial confidence in his eyes, a confidence that first grabs my attention as I drive through a Ralphs Supermarket parking lot.

10:30pm, the night air is getting cold, and with four-hours of 365 travels behind me this evening, I am feeling a little humbled. Hours that have been filled with many great conversations and disappointing rejections, and still, I have yet to find a person who will allow me to photograph them.

The eve is growing late, and I’m getting close to a state of exhaustion. I’ve missed dinner, time with my family, and now am at risk of a very late night.

So when, from a distance, and in the safety of my warm car, I see a joyfully confident friend, Roy, as he is parking lot talking with two friends. I cannot stop myself from stopping to approach him.

Not wanting to skid up like an undercover detective, I quietly pull into a parking slip six cars away from Roy and his friends are stationed.

I walk up and tell them about 365. Roy is quickly on board to share his words, yet does not want to be photographed. And funny enough, after a long night of, “I don’t want to be photographed” responses, it seems poetically fitting to feature him as an unidentified 365 contributor. Like I’ve said, “I have no idea of where 365 is going,” I’m just following it and reporting it’s message.

To set the scene, here are the players; you’ve briefly met Roy, now say hello to his friends, Mark and Daughter, Cristina.

As I’ve mentioned, it is cold, Cristina is even shivering. And Mark, being a good father, offers her his coat. Very interested in our conversation, she declines with a captured, “I’m OK,” as she dances from left to right in keeping warm.

We talk for almost an hour, with a subject wholly focused on one major topic, God.

I never draw any pre-conclusions when I approach my friends, but the point of the conversation is something that I did not expect to have on this particular evening, standing in a cold Ralph’s parking lot at 11pm.

Mark steps up, “You can photograph me, I’ll stand proxy for Roy, he has more than me to say anyway.” We all smile, and Roy becomes a director in making Mark grin a bit, after all, I need photos to base this entry.

They are all very unassuming, and I find out they are neighbors who have coincidently run into each other while shopping.

What is interesting? At the end of our time together Roy says to Christina, “I bet you’ve never heard me talk like this before, have you?”

With warmth you would not expect to see from a summer dressed girl on a cold January night she responds, “I’m glad I’m here.”

I don’t know? I don’t want to proclaim any great hidden reason for our all meeting at this particular time, or boldly say that my path of rejections has led me here, to hear what Roy has to share with his stumbled upon friends and myself. But, what if?

Roy is very intentional in his testimony.

Testimony: The only word that comes to mind in describing Roy’s conviction to his beliefs.

Right out of the starting blocks, Roy exhorts with softness and compassion, “In all things remember God, and give thanks, apart from him there is nothing.”

“I am saddened to see the world going in a different direction. Too many are distracted, they forget God, or reject him completely. I do not want to impose my will on anybody, and everyone has the right to do so, but they will miss out on receiving the blessings they are entitled to, and that is heartbreaking to me.”

One way of getting Roy in the photo. From left to right, Mark, Christina, Roy.

As he is telling us this, I am watching Mark and Christina, there is no looking away, no dispute or any rejection, just listening ears.

Roy has us all captivated.

A have to ask, “Are you in the ministry?”

Roy’s a big guy with a big personality, he chuckles, “Not at all, think of me more as a teacher of theology.”

“Like I said, I do not want to impose my will on anybody. What matters to me is loving and caring about my neighbors, and if I can help anyone who is seeking healing, I’m there, but at the end of the day, it’s their choice.”

Roy’s desires for what’s to come:

“For myself, a greater knowledge of God, and stronger personal faith.”

“And I’d like to see the world healed, even though theologically it’s not going to happen.”

It is written, “Many are called, but few are chosen.”

Roy, thanks for sharing who you are with us. Perhaps, you are one of the chosen.