Friday, March 21, 2014


From a distance as I entered the Dog Park I saw three homeless men I recognized waving to me, one of them was A.J.with his pit bull Back-up. I acknowledged them but continued onto a different part of the park as I was with a friend whom I wanted to catch up with. Moments later A.J. came over and sat across from me and with an anxious look asked, "How do you handle stress?" Wow, I was not expecting that greeting!

I have known A.J. for two years from the dog park. He is a young man whose street name is Books. He acquired that name as he is a voracious reader. He is also a talented musician who composes and records using his simple equipment, a laptop and a microphone.

I shared with A.J. my practice of daily meditation, breathing, bringing these concerns to our Creator and one by one asking for the grace to let go. In the process taking the necessary steps one by one to resolve them if possible.

A.J. listened but in reality wanted to be heard. He shared his anxiety regarding a project he was working on as a musician and "It has to be perfect!" "I'm under a lot of pressure from my friends on the street to make it, I need to prove myself and I have a deadline of April 1st. I want to share my love and bring unity to the streets. There is another dude who I feel like I am competing with. He has flashy clothes, the look and all the high tech equipment available to him. I feel overwhelmed by this."

There is a pause.

A.J., do you believe you are gifted, that you are creative?"

"Yes, I do."

"Where does that gift and creativity come from?, I inquired.

"It is from God", he answered without hesitation.

"Could you be being invited to letting go of your own strength and ability and exercising your faith?"

"Yes, yes, I believe I am."

"You are gifted and creative A.J., I have heard your music, it is beautiful and you know what else? You are unconditionally loved by your Creator who loves and accepts you for simply you."

These were not just words of assurance but the words of life.

"Would you like me to pray for you A.J."

"Oh yes, yes I would."

We prayed but you know what? As I touched his head the prayer turned into a blessing for who he was, his gifting and that he would experience the love of God and he too would not only arrange and play instruments but be an instrument of that love.

That love was palpable.

A.J. tightly gripped my hands, let go and then threw his arms around eme and said, "I love you."

"I love you too, A.J."

As he was leaving with his friends an old song began to play within me,
"There is a Balm in Gilead for you.........and for me."

I am humbled.

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