This election season is turning out to be a very interesting time in our lives. As you all know, we moved to California nearly two years ago after losing our house, a condo, and most of our stuff in Colorado. We were broke, jobless, and homeless. We moved here to move in with my (then) 83 year old mother to help take care of her. Since that time, we have been incredibly blessed. First, we found a new church home: Hope Chapel Hermosa Beach. Hope is a place that was founded by surfers, drug addicts, bikers and young people during “The Jesus Movement” of the 1970’s. Something good came out of all that rebellious expression of the 1960’s you might say.
So, here we come in 2011 with our troubles and our burdens, and we plugged in, got to work, started right away trying to get involved, and of course, we’re trying to stay that way. The Lord’s blessing’s started right away too, as I met a fellow who asked me to write an iPhone app for his business. Soon after that project, I went to work for them full time, and I’m still there! Very soon after that, we got involved in politics, something completely new and different, and strange and utterly bewildering to us. But, like us, we found many others getting involved because they were looking around and coming to the realization that America is on a very wrong path.
We met Craig Huey last year as well. We have been involved with his campaign off and on, this time around more so, and we have been very blessed. Craig is not a politician, he’s a local businessman who’s been in business in the South Bay for over 30 years. Through involvement with Craig and politics in general we are meeting all kinds of folks, getting an opportunity to talk with people we never dreamed we would meet, or who would not “Normally” be in our circle of friendship. But those are incredible opportunities! Not just to meet and talk with folks, but to get to know them! We are out there every day now, building community! That’s what we realized the other day when we talked with one fellow for a long time. We had spent the better part of a Saturday going door to door, looking for folks who were interested to hear about the election and our local candidate for State Assembly (Craig Huey).
While we did not have doors slammed in our faces, we did get many replies through the Apartment building intercoms of “Not interested.” or “No thanks, I don’t vote anymore.” Those poor (spiritually poor!) folks have given up! Then we met Gregory (not his real name). It was a chance meeting, but one that has impacted us in a profound way. Here we were in an older neighborhood in Redondo Beach, another old apartment building. We walked up the stairs to the 2nd floor and found two people smoking on the terrace. One was smoking something that was decidedly not tobacco, Cheryl smelled it and had the urge to leave, but something told her to stay. We can only surmise it was the Holy Spirit, because she stayed and we talked and we listened as this man, an old Hippie is the only way you can describe him, told us about his life, and about his struggles, his oppression, his shattered dreams, his hope, his lost love.
We realized right in the middle of that conversation that we were engaging in something that has been lost in America: Community. We didn’t try to convert him, or even talk about Jesus. Of course, I had my Hope Chapel T-Shirt on (and I told him quite frankly that we were Jesus Freaks), along with my Craig Huey volunteer badge, and we had our lists, and our signs, and all kinds of stuff. We are who we are, eh? But, “Greg” listened to us as well. He realized something about us, or felt safe with us, and opened his life for us to share. He did more than that actually. He took us in to his home and showed us his artwork. He read his poetry to us, shared some of the most intimate parts of his life with us. We were BLOWN AWAY. He hadn’t voted in over 30 years. He’s still registered he said, which meant that he’s probably lived in that same place for the past 30 years!
When we left, his son had just gotten back. His son looked at us skeptically, even suspiciously perhaps. But, we shared with him our candidate’s information and asked him if he’d consider voting for Craig. The oddest thing of all happened when we left. “Greg” was encouraged by our visit, and he announced that he was going to vote! Hallelujah! We were so lifted up! Praise the Lord! I think Cheryl said it out loud, I don’t remember what I said. Of course we said it many times after we left and in the days since. We can’t stop thinking about him. This unique old hippie, living his life alone much of the time, taking care of his kids, seeing them all grown up and on their own, with struggles of their own. He’s just been living his life the best he can and with what little he has to offer people. He’s an artist after all, and a “Pure” one at that. He told us he never had an art lesson, never took a class. His style was all his own, and it was unique! We were amazed at his artwork, something so unique – I cannot even describe it to you. If I did, of course, that would tell some folks who this was, because actually, his art work is well known – in some circles.
So, I won’t give his identity away. I will say that we were blessed. We are blessed today, nearly a week later, and we haven’t stopped thinking about him. We both want to go back and see him again, we want to share Jesus’ love with him too, but we don’t want him to feel like we are trying to change him, especially make him something he’s not. Even those who live in darkness may have something “Pure” and simple about them, that makes them unique, and I don’t think either one of us (Cheryl or myself) would ever want to do anything to change those unique qualities. He didn’t ask for us to come visiting, but we believe God arranged it. We shared as much of Jesus’ love as we could. We listened, we shared, we encouraged, we heard his pain.
We wish more of America could be like that. We need community again. We need Revival, but what we really need is for Jesus’ love to infect us all so that we truly care about each other and will take time to sit down and just talk, and listen. God bless you Greg! If the Spirit is willing, we will come back and hang out again together. Won’t you too consider today that you might just stop and “Hang out” with somebody? Ask them “How are you?” and just see where the conversation goes. That’s not anything more than the Golden Rule really, just treat that other person as if they matter to you, since in reality, they do matter! That’s what community is. Revival is mass repentance, realizing our need for a Savior. Community is sharing His love.
May God richly bless you today too.