SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 34: Live, Life, Laughter

Tonight I spend the evening with my daughter. We decide to take a 365 drive, not thinking of any route, just seeing who we run into.

We stop here and there to chat with a few people. Great conversations of community and purpose, but none are willing to step in front of the camera. Still, they express their interest in the project and give my the high-five to keep going. Encouragement is always welcome, so readers, please comment.

With over a month of 365 behind me, I’ve met some very interesting people. Yet, with eleven months to go, I’m not even close to completion.

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Tonight we have been driving endlessly, looping through the Valley. Feeling a little road weary, we settle to rest at Woodland Hills Park.

As my daughter and I stroll through the park, I notice she is starting to buy into the spirit of 365. It’s really sweet being by her side, and her influence is guiding me at this point of the day.

She contributes with comments like, “Daddy, I’m not feeling that we should shoot the soccer players, how about trying to meet the people in the office?” Very in-tune and observant ideas for an 8-year old. I really love this kid. She is my hero.

I’m not going to lie to you. Even with the passion I have for 365, at times I do get stressed with it, and I’m feeling it this night. We’ve been roaming for over two hours, searching for approachable friends.

I can’t help but to think to myself, “what damage am I putting on my family, spending so much of our personal time with this project?”

Luckily, I have their blessing. Plus, I have to say, this project truly is maturing my family. I’m sure we’ll touch more on that topic as the year progresses.

So here I am, daughter in hand, wandering through Woodland Hills Park. I’m tired and getting a bit blurry eyed, when she sights a family sitting at a barely lit table, dimmed by lights blocked by surrounding trees.

Remember, her first words this evening as we entered the park are primarily a do not list. So when she turns to me and says, “I’ve got a good feeling, how about taking pictures of them?” I have to listen.

I confess, my first instinct is to not bother them. Something creepy about walking up out of the darkness of the trees, asking, “can I take your photo?” But there is no way I’m going to burst my daughters bubble. She is really wanting to contribute.

Respectfully I approach them, daughter by my side, hoping my first impression will be appreciated as the non-confrontational family man that I am. We begin a light conversation, and it’s then that I discover just how stressed I am from 33 days of 365 pressure, and just how in tune my lovely daughter is.

The second I extend the 365 invite to our new friends; Hope, June and their children, all eyes light up with enthusiasm… mixed with a touch of embarrassment. I assure them of my intent, give them an iPad tour of past blog entries and we are on the same page.

What we encounter is a most pleasant neighborly visit with two of the most down to earth people. It’s like family time at the park with new friends. My daughter is happily playing with their four children; Hope’s daughter (age 7) and son (age 9) and June’s daughter (age 7) and son (age 9). My kid fits right in at age 8.

I am overwhelmed by their grace and hospitality, even to the point of June buying me a bottle of water. Not something many of us would consider doing for an absolute stranger. It is at that moment I realize the reason I’m supposed to be here. I’m needing to give myself permission to back of a touch and smell the roses. Not only in relaxing my 365 intensity, but in life.

They speak with an appreciate the simple things of life perspective. Hearing it prompts me to consider my attitude in all that I do.

It is so easy to get so caught up in our successes, and even our failures, that we stop considering the most basic priorities. June and Hope radiate a quality of peaceful optimism. And the simple gesture of cold water to my daughter and I solidify our respect for their example.

We discuss work histories, stresses to successes, concluding that the glass is always at least half full. Looking at the smiles on their faces as we talk. I’m sure both of these special ladies hold this point-of-view close in their hearts.

Family first and friendship is the undertone I pick up as Hope tells me of her family dreams and support of June’s talents.

I’m told that June is a high honors college graduate with incredible artistic talent. June blushes as we go on to talk about her specialty, ceramics. I extend the offer to publish her artwork on this blog and look forward to her taking me up on the offer. Her dream being to one day have a gallery exhibition. If any of you out there are interested in seeing her ceramics, let me know?  I’m sure would love the affirmation.

They leave us with this advice.

“Don’t stress on wanting too much. Life is not about accumulating material possessions. It’s more about being grateful for what you have”

It’s almost midnight, time to stop writing and decompress.

Until Tomorrow.