It’s movie night under the stars at California State University, Northridge and I’m here with close family friend Kris (not pictured). I’ve known Kris for many years, and with her being a lifetime friend of my wife, to hang out with her is like spending time with a family member. Plus, she is one of the most avid readers of 365. And for this reason, I am conducting an experiment by submitting to the both of them for the direction of my 365 path this evening. Kris has agreed to drive and facilitate our travels and Terri has stepped up in suggesting our destination, the above mentioned movie night and one of Kris’s favorite flicks of all time, “The Wizard Of Oz.”
The crowd is thin and with the 2012 graduation ceremonies over, the grounds are open. Still, the diversity is rich and the temptation to profile for the wisdom of youth pulls hard. Although Kris and I share our hellos with every passer-by, I purposefully hold my 365 introduction, waiting of Kris’ inspiration. We talk to a couple of people, stand, talk to a few more, stand again, and repeat the same motions several times. Yet in doing so, neither of us feel any strong impressions about who to ask to join us in sharing their council.
We simply find ourselves standing, blind-minded zombie, staring into the slowly expanding audience, when Kris turns to me with what I view as a spark of enlightenment. “What about the Lemonade stand?” she gestures.
Funny how it’s so easy to get sidetracked by the motion of people that we can find ourselves overlooking those sitting in plain view.
Over to the lemonade stand we stroll and on approach we are welcomed by Dan, cold beverage superstar and proprietor of DC Lemonade.
Dan, hailing from Israel (relocated to the United States in 1984) speaks to us with a combination of warmth and subdued wisdom.
“We all need to get along… it is one world for all of us, and with less fighting we are all going to get better. And coming from a country where we always fought for our land, I know it is important to forget about the little stuff and think about the future for our kids. They are going to live in a free world. Where there is no war or stuff like that.”
Dan speaks with optimism about the ability of our children to evoke positive change as they mature. With this he directs us to do what we can to instill whatever seeds we can in the way we teach, parent and advise them.
“I just wish that we are going to work on all the problems that we have now and eliminate all the extremists all over the world. That they are not going to put so much in religion and just let everyone do what they feel like as long as we all get together.”
Respect, tolerance and forgiveness are the key attributes I take away from speaking with Dan.
He is just another hard-working man, doing his best to support his family and in passing along whatever good words and works he can.
He does speak radically of eliminating the extremists. But in his verbal tone it is apparent that he is not referring to a killing spree. I am certain that would be against his value system. What I hear is a man focused on acceptance.
“Just let everyone do what they feel like as long as we all get together.” Dan platforms.
His voice does not ring with the color of a drug induced 60s festival (no harm meant with the reference). Nor does it sting with overly zealous or radical religious reform. It just settles as a heart’s hope from a caring father.
I’m with you Dan – It is important to forget about the little stuff, and to think about the future for our kids.
And I share in your dream my friend. I hope, too, that as you say, “They are going to live in a free world, where there is no war or stuff like that.”
A dream that can start in our hearts, as per referencing a line from tonight’s film.
“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard…”
Shall that backyard be our communities and our view of the diversity of the world?
Back to Dan, “We all need to get along… it is one world for all of us.”