SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 317: “A Frank Discussion”

Yesterday I confessed of being stressed and rushed in my day. And in calming me, I credited Ken, the guy I met at the hot dog stand outside of the Lowes Hardware that I was doing business with. What I did not tell you was the spirit of the mentioned lunch stop.

Arno is his name, and after making sure our food was fresh and our drinks cold, he sat with us as we chatted. There was something captivating about Arno, and I knew that he needed to be included in 365. So, at the end of my time spent with Ken, I prearranged a follow-up meeting with Arno for a formal 365 interview. My hunches were right. Arno is the embodiment the peace that Ken talked of. And today his words anchor yesterday’s discussion with a few action points.

“Love each other…very simple… no more… no less…” Arno grounds his thoughts…

“Everything is in love. If you love someone… you respect them… you take care of them… you feel them… and you understand them.

What else can I say… just love each other, that’s all.”

Arno outlines an account of his history: “I’m Armenian, Born in Tehran, then moved to Austria as a refugee (He was persecuted for his political and Christian views), then to United States with his whole family.”

He talks of his life in Iran. “It was a nice place when I was growing up. My father had a business for twenty-five years. Then, when the Arabian government came in and the then president of the United States, it got bad. There is a terrible recession now and it’s all based around oil. But there are good people there.”

What Arno does not fully reveal, other than, “We were refugees to Austria,” is what he went through in being persecuted for his faith and political views. I can only imagine the fear and uncertainty his parents and family must have felt in seeing all that they worked to build be torn away from them.

I’ll keep it brief, for you have bore enough of my rants. But I’ll say this, shame on the selfish minds of the religiously ignorant and the money driven greed mongers. I’m done… on to warmer topics.

Arno shows no signs of bitterness, no air of entitlement and no chip on his shoulder in any way or form. He is kind, outgoing and extremely optimistic.

“God is the first important person in my life, Jesus Christ…” Arno reveals the base of his priorities, “…then my family… then my friends.”

I’m not setting Arno up as a religious zealot, per his words, “’I’m Christian, but I’m not that religious. But I do accept the fact that all of us sin, and in the love our God has to forgive us. No one is perfect. There are times that it is hard. Sometimes I feel that if I help someone… they should help me. If I respect someone… then everyone should respect me. I do my best to be good. But sometimes I have to ask myself, ‘Why? Sometimes when I do good… when I respect someone… they don’t respect me?’ And I’m a little bit sad about that.’”

He sites what he calls a “life changing moment” in referring to a message he read on a Facebook posting. “It really affected my life. It said something like this, ‘I’m God, and I’m talking to you, and what is my message to you… My Son?

Don’t look around… because you will be impressed. Don’t look down… because you will be depressed. Keep your head up and look at me… and you will be blessed.’

This is my message for the people, my friends and to the whole world.

Don’t look around for people to do something for you. Just do your best and be positive…

People… they will come to you… And they will help you… if you just love them.’”

I get it, that is the magic of Arno’s presence, and the pull that stopped me to eat, sitting outside in three-digit weather. It’s obvious that Arno cares about me and of the world around me. When he invited me to sit, he did so to make my life more comfortable, not to make a sale. Evident by the others that he has invited to sit and eat with us at we chat.

Yep… we are not alone. Several others have joined us in a rather deep spiritual discussion. One that in respect to the wishes for privacy of our undocumented friends, further resolves my opinion of Arno… He is a giver.

We talk about balance in life and in work. “People… they become like robots…” Arno reports, “…Day by day they forget about moral seeds…

Money… money… money! I know a lot of people that have a beautiful life without much money… trust me. They enjoy their life… every moment of it.

Maybe money gives you a comfortable life… a good house… a nice car… a wife who married you for money and nothing else… right. But does money give you happiness? Money fills a temporary void.

But happiness is something from inside you and it cannot be bought.

We have to keep our balance. We have to have our fun… our joy… and our family.”

“How?” I ask.

“First you have to build up your family. It’s very, very important.” Arno accounts. “If you want to focus on yourself… alright, go for it. But, you may not find happiness. You broke the rules of life.

You have to work… right. You have to make money… right. But you have to have your family also… to love people… to think positively about life. It’s all balance… right.

Technology is going so fast… I guess. And people are becoming a robot society, forgetting about each other… I guess. I want to think positive, but in reality, everything is going worse day by day… nothing going good.

People right now… we have more population than every before. People need food. There are a lot of very sad things going on with war. People are killed daily, by war, by Tsunami. You can watch the news, every day a lot of people die for every reason.”

Sounds dark at first, and coming from a man who has such a positive outlook towards loving people and of balance, it catches me a bit off guard, so I listen carefully to his next set of words.

“But, the future should be good…” Arno expands, “…it up to the people, if people would try to change something as they look towards the future; their life balance… their work balance. And, use technology for humanity.”

Good council, yet once again, Arno supports his claim with a dose of reality. “But when there are nuclear weapons and chemical stuff and other things disturb our world and our countries. We have to work harder.

This is my vision. We have to keep our balance in order to make a better world. With that, the future can be good.”

Arno… thanks for the frank talk. Or is it the talk over Franks? Whatever it may be, I’m glad I slowed down again.

Talk tomorrow, my friends.