Sitting curbside

This is an ongoing series about the book Love Does by Bob Goff. I am exploring each chapter and sharing a few of my thoughts.

Chapter 27 – The Story

“I used to think I needed to record stories, but now I think I just need to engage them.”

Last Friday night was a dramedy of sorts.

Elle and I headed out to the Paseo Arts District for some food, fun, and to work on our children’s book project. A great evening with a best friend.

We finally found a place to park (kind of sort of illegally, but I think it was okay to park where we did – no parking ticket!) and headed out to our favorite eatery. But as it is with us, we found an awesome backdrop to take photos – an incredible pink wall in a semi-alley. I took to pose atop a cinder block and once we finished, I stepped down. Into wet clay. In TOMS. And fell from here to kingdom come. It was a slow fall though. I’m guessing I looked pretty graceful and I had to protect my satchel full of gadgets and words. I ended up on all fours. Laughing hysterically. Elle couldn’t stop laughing. There I was the bottom half of me covered in a muddy clay mix. I dusted my self off, stood up, and headed toward the restaurant. I was muddy, hungry, and still laughing. Our conversation went every which direction and landed on this book, Love Does. We talked about that deep desire to connect, to engage, to be fully involved with whatever we do.

I wanted to dwell on my failures in this engagement area:

  • how I met a young lady who had been rescued from sex trafficking and I didn’t know what to say or do
  • how I met a guy at the tire store and didn’t get his number so I could listen to more of his story
  • how I watched a mother and her two daughters struggling to find a place to stay because their electricity and water had been cut off

But as is with true friends, they speak truth into your lives. Elle spoke about being available and trusting God’s Holy Spirit. I smiled and I said I hoped I would be more open and aware.

We left the restaurant, peeked into a few art studios, meandered down the street. I like this part of town. It has character. Character out of its wazoo. Elle and I found ourselves sitting curbside people watching. I was chatting away. I told her I had a scene just like this with a character in a book I’m writing and I hoped it would provide inspiration.

And then we saw him.

A likeable but very dirty & most likely very high guitar player.

He leaned up against the fence and was taking in the scene.

His guitar wrapped in black electrical tape.

We made polite conversation about the weather, about music (he was disgusted with my love of all things Lil’ Wayne), and found out he was from Texas.

Elle suggested he get a tip jar and go play on the corner. He laughed and fiddled around with the strings on his guitar. He said his tip jar had been stolen by an evil woman.

Then he let out a soft chuckle and added: “Evil. Or genius.”

I said well isn’t that two sides of the same coin?

He didn’t respond. I think he was surprised we were still sitting on the curb talking with him.

It was a moment outside of myself. On the curb. With my best friend. And a stranger.

He didn’t really want to get into why he was in Oklahoma, why he was hanging out in the arts district. I won’t forget Ty anytime soon. I won’t forget that he sat down and was a gentleman. I won’t forget that he didn’t comment once on me being covered in mud. I won’t forget that he seemed a little lost, but he seemed okay embracing that part of his life.

But we did talk about not selling out. We talked about Grateful Dead and real music. We talked about how a guitar can be in poor condition but can still make music.

And it all happened because we got out the way, sat on the curb, and listened to a young man.

I think I can get into this whole engaging thing.

To read an excerpt check out Bob’s guest post for Donald Miller here.

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4 comments

  1. That is such an awesome story. My night would have ended the moment I landed in mud. And think of all the life I would have missed!

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