For few short days in October 2015, I spent some time overlooking the eclectic scenery that is the Boardwalk Venice Beach, California. The soulful strains of “rock meet RnB” drifting effortlessly through the open window got me to thinking about the connection to others. I wondered how a man strumming his guitar could so endear me to him and to this place?
When I think of Venice, I think of John.
John is a talented and generous homeless (or should I say home free) guy who takes up his position most mornings around 5:00 am and stays put minding his patch of sand beside the Boardwalk till around 10:00 pm. When I asked John how long he’d been there he smiled and said “quite a while I think”. You see John is a free spirit of unknown age. He has a twinkle in his eye, a shy disposition until he starts to sing or gets talking about quantum physics, past lives or God.
On my last day, I passed some time with John chatting about this and that; the gems of conversation were many. The man who at first seemed reserved became animated and interested in his various trains of thought. As we talked and I listened it was a joy to see the human being emerge from the stereotypical image of a homeless person with a cart filled with possessions waiting patiently for whatever’s next.
After a while John picked up his electric guitar (he has his own battery in the cart), announced that God is limitless and infinite in the lives of all and then started to sing. After a while I left and returned to my window position while down below John picked out his next tune.
Through curiosity and a love of mankind I ponder often what brings people to places like this? What has them continue to create music, enjoy meandering conversation or simply pass the time watching life’s parade?
We all have gifts to give away along with hopes and dreams and aspirations which make us human. Freedom, faith and music are limitless if I allow them in. Thinking about these three enriching elements that contribute to my life I understand that I will always have freedom to travel, faith that life is kind and richly rewarding and the music of my appreciation for the contributing lives that carry on around me.
Will I see John again? Likely not. You see John was hoping to move into a room. Maybe the beach would be left behind for the supposed comfort of a few walls, a roof and a front door. Who knows.
This life of connection with others around me lets me know that it’s unique, it’s rewarding, it’s a life worth listening to.