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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed... Day's 80, 81, 82, & 83

It is 5am and as I sit here typing this, and for the first time since last Saturday, I do not hear the rain outside... does that mean the sunshine may return today??  I hope so!  I have become so spoiled living in Santa Barbara that anytime I go more than a few days with out seeing the sun and blue sky I start to feel like I have been dropped into the twilight zone.  It is a stark contrast from where I grew up and spent the first 18 years of my life, a small town called Fortuna in northern California.  It rained a lot and was cloudy and overcast a lot as well.  The nice days were nice, but few and far between compared to what I have grown accustomed too.  I probably sound spoiled, like I am whining about having to "go more than a few days without seeing the sun," but I really am not.  Rather I am trying, in a round about way, to tell you all how excited I am about the prospect of sunshine today!!! HURRAY!!!

Since I am telling you about my sun-less, rain-soaked days "problems," I might as well tell you one other problem that I have been having.  The 1000 Challenge has me on the computer a decent amount, definitely more than I am used to.  As a result I have been getting a lot of tightness/stiffness in my neck (yes, personal trainers... Nazi's of posture, do in fact slouch, scrunch, and slump over the computer screen just like everyone else).  So to try and rectify this "problem," I have taken my desk chair and set it up over my legs and have my laptop up on the chair so I am sitting almost at eye level with my screen.  Note:  I am sitting on the floor as I type this.  So far it seems to be helping... I'll keep you posted :)

When I start typing a blog out, I really have no expectations of what I am going to write about.  I have ideas, but no real clear line of thought.  Ideas I had going into this blog were: about how excited I was to break over 2000 "Likes" on Facebook this last week!!  Thank you everyone who is posting a link to the Facebook page on their wall and passing it along to their friends.  I can't tell you enough how much it means to me... it means a lot! I thought about talking about how excited I was to see that there is now 110+ of you all following my blog.  I feel humbled that you find my blog, my journey, interesting enough to follow; thank you and welcome new friends.

So as I'm sitting here pondering what to write about, going over the last 4 days of experiences, one of my best friends just sent me a text message.  The guy she has been dating has done something to really hurt her and it has left her feeling not special.  Those of us who have had those "not feeling special moments," know exactly what it feels like.  In fact, I bet many of you just physically felt it reading the last two sentences.  That "not feeling special feeling," is that feeling where your heart starts to beat faster and you feel sick to your stomach.  Not only do you start to feel physically ill, but mentally you begin to think something is very wrong with you, like your broken, not good enough, not ______ you can fill in the blank.

I have realized over the years we humans give ourselves to much credit, we really are much simpler creatures than we think.  For all our complexities, technology; at the core of who we are we all desire really a few basic "things", universally across the human race.  Amongst those "things," we have a deep desire to feel special AKA to feel loved.

Love/specialness comes in many many different forms as you all know.  Romantic, friendship, kinship, respect, etc... they all present different forms and different opportunities to love.  The great thing about love is it is the most abundant natural resource we have on this planet, and arguably the most precious.  The problem is that for all the love that is available we are not taking full opportunity to harvest/share it.

Last night, the 1000 Challenge took me to a Baptist Church service.  The service began at 7pm and I was torn about going.  The rain had finally stopped and the sun had come out, I could tell it was going to be a beautiful sunset, but I "HAD" to go to this service to keep the 1000 Challenge going.  Yes, I "HAD" to go, that was the attitude I had when faced with sunset vs. church.  The excitement I had earlier about the experience of the service had been replaced by morning the loss of the pink and orange colors I would miss the clouds turn.  Poor me!

So the church I had chosen to attend is in one of the poorer parts of town.  I have attended two other church services prior to yesterday.  One a Catholic at the immaculately well kept, well preserved Santa Barbara mission, and a Christian one at a seemingly well funded church.  The Baptist church from last night was not in the same category as the other two in terms of it's immaculateness and wealth.  It was very simply and very un-assuming, blending in with the houses in the neighborhood that it is located in.

I make peace about the loss of my sunset and go inside.  There are only nine other people inside, two of them are kids and one is the person who is leading the service (I do not know if the Baptist refers to him as a reverend, father, priest etc... and I do not want to offend anyone by my ignorance so I have chosen to use the phrase "person who is leading the service").  So the person who is leading the service sees me walk in and immediately comes over to me to tell me that the English service is around the corner - I am in a Spanish only service!

What an experience this will be.  In my broken Spanish I tell him I would like to stay and that I am trying to learn more Spanish.  I sit down in the very back thinking my 6 foot 3 inch 220 pound frame will be well hidden there.  Suddenly everyone gets up and comes back to me to introduce themselves, in Spanish.  I can understand this much, until everyone starts talking to fast.  They insist that I come and sit at the front with them.  So I do.

The service begins and I am surprisingly following along well.  It helps when trying to learn a language to be in a learning environment where you have an idea of what they will be talking about.  The street "slang" is removed and more formal speech, like the type you learn in school, is utilized.  About 45 minutes into the service I am asked if I would like to read from my Spanish Bible.  "Ummm, hmm ok."  I apologized first for my poor Spanish and then read, I finish and get... applause.  Two minutes is then devoted to complimenting me on: one, my willingness to try, and two that I read the passage very well, in Spanish.  I felt special.

After the service everyone came up and introduced themselves to me again, smiling warmly, and telling me how much they appreciated me coming and doing the Spanish service.  They all encouraged me to come back on Sunday, Wednesday, for this event and that event... it was really cool, I felt special.

One of the people I met talked with me for a few minutes in English and told me he was trying to learn English and gave me his phone number, proposing for us to be conversation partners.  YES!  I have wanted someone to be a conversation partner, to practice with forever!  It was so cool he didn't even hesitate and offered that to me, I felt special.

The service leader took me upstairs to the small education office after the service and was showing me the selection of elementary level books they had.  He started showing me children's books, educational books, biblical books (at this point I have been listening intently in Spanish for over an hour so my brain is starting to get a little tired translating); then he started handing them to me. I asked him in "Spanglish" (a combination of English and Spanish) when I needed to return the books back to the church, "No, no take them, they are a gift," was his reply.  I have bought enough books to know that each of these books I was holding was probably at least $25-30 dollars.  And now, this seemingly very poor church was giving me, someone whom they had just met, who speaks at about a third grade level of Spanish, now they were giving me all these books so that I could better learn Spanish.  They do not know me, they do not know if they will ever see me again, and yet they were so eager to help me in my desire to learn.  I felt special.

The church, as a physical structure, seemed very poor in terms of money.  What I found on the inside was it was very wealthy with that precious natural resource I talked about earlier, it was wealthy with love.

Humans, for all our technology, complexities, for all our hopes, fears, wants, desires, we really are very simple creatures.  We all want to be loved and to be made to feel special.

Want to make today memorable, make someone feel special.  Want to make a difference in someone's life today, do something to make them feel special.  The smallest of acts like congratulating someone on their reading, agreeing to be a conversation partner, offering up books to study with... the smallest of acts, the tiniest of gestures can move mountains and make someone feel special. 

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,

Jesse



8 comments:

  1. My blog is brand new, and one is a saved work in progress, but I am appreciating writing my thoughts down. I enjoy reading yours, because even though you never know where you are going with it, you end up writing meaningful, thoughtful sentences that people can relate to. Nice job.

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  2. I'm Baptist and we call "the one who leads" our Pastor or Preacher. ;) But its funny just this morning my Mother in Law -(new at the church I grew up in) told me she asked about a book the Preacher was reading from and he said come with me after church and you can have my copy. She lives on a fixed income and was overly thrilled that she was new in this church as was he and he offered this book to her. It's amazing you felt the same thing she did this morning. She was so excited to tell me about the kindness he had shared. :)

    I'm sorry for your friend....tell her there are good guys out there...ones that will never make you feel un-special ... and to keep smiling

    Now we need to get you to 3000 fans... off to post on FB ;)

    Kirsten

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  3. I love this entry of yours Jesse...I would like to share my incident with you this morning as I was making my commute from Newhall to Burbank, CA this morning.

    As you can imagine there is a bunch of regulars who commute to go to work. And I have a regular recent new friend to commute with from taking the BUS to the Metrolink and on the Metrolink from Newhall, CA to Downtown Burbank.

    this morning my new friend was in such a hurry this morning that he forgot his wallet at home. our regular bus driver let him ride the bus free today...by the time I got on the bus he was on the phone with his wife notifying her of his mishap this morning and asked if she can bring his wallet to the train station. this couple has 2 kids age 5 and 7 months old.

    As we made our way to the metrolink station I had told him I dont mind paying your roundtrip metrolink station ticket so that his wife doesnt need to get the kids up. He looked at me and said..."you dont even know me, but you will do that?" i told him i dont mind at all...by the time we got to the cafe we get coffee at every morning before getting on the train...he had thought about it and declined my offer...I told him "ok but the plan B has been placed"...he smiled and said "thank you" and as we made way to get our coffee his cell phone rang and it was his wife on the way to drop his wallet off...

    what got to me this morning is that...the world we live in sometimes fails to forget is that the smallest act of kindness can last a lifetime...

    we live in a world that isnt so nice to each other...but the pure gratification i get to make someone's day when its going bad...makes me feel loved and appreciated not just by myself...but just knowing i have made the slightest difference in someone's life by the smallest gestures...

    ok i'm rambling now....have a good day jesse...i look forward to reading more of your blogs...

    1 Corinthians 13:1-13

    1 If I speak in the tonguest of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,t but do not have love, I gain nothing.

    4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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  4. You are so very right, thank you so much for sharing.
    We are very simply creatures in deed but we let our darker emotions get the best of us sometimes, like jealousy, bitterness, anger and regrets. Letting go of those and allowing love to lead is the key! Loving others, taking care of others and meeting other people’s needs is paramount in my life (it truly is what I live for) it feeds my soul and fires me up, but to receive it in return and to feel loved and special is something we all long for because it fills our hearts.
    To give is better than to receive, but receiving love in return is like sitting on the beach taking a relaxing deep breath while watching the sunset; it warms your heart and puts the biggest smile on your lips. Or it could be like that school kid crush feeling, the shy, silly, nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach whenever you thought about that person. Life is all about relationship with others, that is what truly matters. Whether it is, being a dependable, trustworthy and caring friend, a nurturing affectionate consistent parent, or a loving devoted and committed spouse, the one thing that matters most is the health of our relationships.
    Someone once said, “The most important thing in life is that the people you care most about are happy and healthy, everything else is just extra sprinkles on your Sundae”. I love this quote because it is soooo true, and the great thing is those “extra sprinkles” are the relationships we get to enjoy because we get to do life together.

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  5. What nice thoughts and feelings you have. You
    really need to share that with a special women.
    You seem like a very sensitive man, hard to find.

    Over the years I have been in many different kinds of churchs and even a synagogue. Usually people you meet in church are kind, whether it's a poor parish or a rich one. I am glad you had a good experience visiting that church.

    As for the friend with the broken heart, I wish
    I could tell you that everything will be fine in
    her love life and she will meet a better person
    for her but I can't. I find that in a lot of relationships, people expect too much from each
    other, they live in a fairy tale, and that is just not what real life is. As usual thanks for
    sharing.

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  6. Thank you JESSE for sharing his experiences that always are enriquesedoras, I learned for many years the human beings only we want to love and to be loved, it is simple but simultaneously so complex (it is difficult to us to deliver and to entrust us so much), in the personal thing I am very distrusted by personal experiences, but I try to have gestures of love with the strangers (to give the seat to an elder, to greet the chauffeur of the bus, etc.), I try to do a change it is one of my personal challenges, to cooperate with a granite of sand (love) for this human "sea". (I wait my spanglish is understood).

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  8. Wow Jesse. I can't even explain how perfect this blog was for me to read tonight. What an awesome thing for you to experience, and how correct you are about the simple needs of people. We all just want to love and be loved. How powerful for you to be embraced by complete strangers...I just love your story. I also love you, and appreciate what a wonderful person and friend you are. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing...and of course, please grace Bakersfield with your presence soon :)

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