Saturday morning I was on my way to a day of team building with my fellow Women's Ministry ladies.
I had offered to bring some french bread to have with the chowder my friend that was hosting was making. I pulled in the parking lot, worried about the time I hurried toward the store. My pace slowed when I heard the sound of music. For those who know me well, I love music of just about every genre. It is something I could never imagine my life without.
When I looked up my eyes first saw a sleeping bag very neatly rolled ( I was a Scout, I notice those things) and this gentleman standing next to it playing his guitar. His eyes slightly closed as if he too were part of his own audience. A gentle smile rested on his face as though it was put on that way and never changed. I thought to myself, this man may be without a home, I mean why else the sleeping bag? I stopped in my tracks pulled out my check book where I thought I had stashed a dollar the day prior. What I first saw was a ten, I knew without question it was to be given to him, I knew he needed it more than I.
Now I don't generally tell how much money I have given or to who....nothing ruins the act of giving a gift more than a big boast to someone of what you gave. I tell you because though I knew I was to give it, I also heard, are you crazy? You just did the bills and you know you better give the dollar. I gave with the same faith that has always taken care of me in the past and reminded myself that God has always and will always meet my needs.
I handed this gentleman the money and said God bless you, which caused him to literally jump for joy, with a smile that was bigger than I thought his thin face could handle. He said very loudly, "oh my, thank you for such a generous gift, thank you so much!" As I turned to walk away these two large high school football like teens were walking toward him with money in hand. I knew they had seen him on the way into the store and purposed to bring some money back to this guitar playing gentleman. They too had the biggest smiles as they heard him thanking me and knowing themselves they were about to add to his joy.
Can I tell you what it meant to me to see this young boys enjoying the act of giving? It made me think a little better of this world I live in, being reminded there are still good people out there. I thought as I shopped, about the extreme joy so little gave this guitar playing man. I then thought about what he gave me so early on this Saturday morning with his gift of music. As I walked in a parking lot his gift put a smile on my face. He was touching lives with his music. I was reminded that despite his current living conditions he had a smile on his face. What could I possible frown about on any given day?
I arrived at my meeting wanting to share with the gals my early morning experience. I was still so moved by it I chose not to share it as I didn't want to get emotional. Fat chance of that not happening if you know me, none the less I chose to forgo the story telling. I poured myself some coffee, as we all took a seat out on my friends patio with a beautiful breakfast she had prepared for us. Someone immediately made note of the beautiful view we had on this very warm January morning and how lucky we are to have it. I took a look around at the five women I was sitting with and again filled with emotion as I told myself how very lucky I am to have women such as these in my life. Yet another smile.....
Saturday evening when I returned home my husband and I had dinner and watched the movie "The Soloist" quite by accident on this particular day. Its a true story about a very talented man living on the streets who was an accomplished musician and had in fact had dropped out of Julliard due to schizophrenia. It tells of a reporter who became his friend unintentionally while writing his story. His name was Nathaniel Ayers and still today is living on the streets of Los Angeles, still playing his cello for those around him to enjoy. After the show I shared with Bob about my guitar man that morning and how possibly I had stumbled upon my very own Nathaniel and just as in the movie, we brought each other joy that morning.
Sunday morning our Pastor spoke to us about money and how we are to use it.....one way was to use it as a tool to help others. I'm thinking I was really suppose to be reminded of the responsibility we have in helping others and the complete joy you experience when you do.
This is what echos in my heart today as I am reminded of my guitar playing gentleman..... :-)