SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 84: Look, Listen, Do

“There is no step by step way to life, All I know is you are supposed to help people.”

After two hours of driving tonight, Santa Ana winds howling at my car, the air stills long enough for me to find Lawrence, who shares the above quote on life.

Yet it is more than still skies that draw me to him. I feel it is destined to happen. Like I said, two hours of driving, during which I loop past the Chatsworth train station three times. Each time with a feeling growing that I must stop.

Finally I relent to that feeling and pull into the station parking lot. It’s a rather quite station, except for the occasional roar of gusting wind. Gust is an understatement, more like a jet blast. The platform is mostly still, a person here and a person there. And with a very long day behind me, my brain is beginning to fail, leaving me to question my reasoning for being here.

I’ll admit, so far the greatest motivator tonight is my lovely wife. I’m Ashamed to say, I came inches from throwing in the 365 towel only hours before. But Terri would not let me, “Quit being a panty waist, get your camera, get out of here and go find somebody. Remember what you said, ‘No matter rain or shine, sickness or health,’ this is nothing today, so you’re a little tired, now go, get in the car and get out!'”

And right she is. Tonight turns out to be an amazing experience. Not by my own power, but by that of Lawrence. At first he allows me only ten minutes, not sure why, but I jump right in, taking a quick set of photos while asking a few questions. There is something about him that is wonderfully peaceful, so a rush conflicts me a little.

I soon find out why we are rushing. No big deal, seems Lawrence has a bus to catch. A short commute to a nearby connection station to connect with a commuter bus. His connecting stop is on route to my home. I offer him a ride and the pressure is off.

With the race for time now off our shoulders we settle into a pleasant conversation in the comfort of our four-wheeled wind shelter.

At thirty-one years wise, Lawrence has the wisdom of ages. “Walk through life to live and learn. Take time to listen to everyone.” Council that he credits to the love of his grandparents, of whom he spent much of his early years eagerly engaged with. “I spent so much time with them, they practically raised me.”

That alone impresses me. How many of us spent the bulk of our youth learning from our grandparents. “They have experienced so much of life, and what they taught me is the basis for my life,” Lawrence implies.

Lawrence comes from a big family, really big. I’m not going to list its scale, best to leave that alone. Doing so would most definitely max out my word count, and there are more poignant points to make in describing my meeting with Lawrence. But what is important here is his love of family.

The basis of his life outlook, his family heritage as set forth by past generations, “Life is about humility, listening to your mind and then having the courage to act on your thoughts. Whatever your mind tells you, you can accomplish. Just be yourself, put it out there, and don’t be afraid.”

And afraid Lawrence is not, He tells me of times of living in treacherous areas and never feeling in danger. “No one bothered me and many helped me out.” I never judged and looked for the good in all people. That alone kept me safe.”

As we commute our dialogue is open, soulful and unified in our desire to know the world around us. Topics like, the importance of not placing judgement, accountability, sin, forgiveness and death. All of which are condensed into one conclusion as described by Lawrence, “If you only look at someone as they are on the outside, you will never hear their story.”

We arrive at our destination, and with conversation still alive, decide to park to continue talking. The topic deepens a little, we share of the loss of our loved ones and, again, link it to the lessons learned from the experience. We agree that there is nothing to fear in death. The only thing to fear is not using life for the right reasons. In the words of Lawrence, “There are so many things you can do, and there is just not enough time to take it in.”

I know, in his statement of fear, he is not referring to the materialistic when he tells me, “You don’t have to have a lot of money, all you need to do is open your eyes, set your mind and relax. There is no need to stress, you’ll figure it out. Stress will kill you and divide you from the world and the people around you.”

Something tells me to ask a new question. After so many days of my own thoughts of why I meet the people I find. I decide to turn the card in asking Lawrence this question: “Why do you think we met this evening?”

He pauses, “Meetings like this should constantly happen. The problem is that not enough people think about the right things. Life is not about ego or power, it’s about humility, listening and honest actions. If more people would think about each other, We would all experience meetings like this.”

What Lawrence is talking about is what he calls, “Atmosphere” Meaning, “What you put out is what returns to you.”

He is talking about what I call, “The Voice.”

We’ve explored it heavily in 365. Many agree with its title, others have their own vernacular for it. But one aspect is common. Like attracts like, and there is a higher power guiding us all. And those who listen are ultimately rewarded. Not necessarily in riches, in health or in status, but in peace.

Lawrence’s future is bright.
“I’m engaged, have a baby on the way, and one day will be helping kids with my own children’s center. I’ve got a lot of life to share and the experience to help children make the right choices.”

He leaves us this quote: “Listen, We are blessed in this world.”

Lawrence, Keep listening!