angels on the streets
one of the most beautiful divine characters I ever encountered was while feeding home-baked muffins to the homeless people on the streets of Santa Cruz, CA.
our meditation group just walks around and hands food out to the guys and women who're living on the streets -- many are strung out on drugs or mentally ill and can't make it to the homeless shelters for a decent meal.
many of these folks just slip through the cracks, and it breaks my heart.
the photo with this entry is what our rag-tag Church of Baba's Kitchen looks like -- loading muffins out of the back of a car! -- into baskets and boxes, and carrying them around looking for hungry people. (you don't have to look far, either, on the streets of Santa Cruz.) the muffins go over big with the people who often don't have teeth enough, or in good enough shape, to handle crunchy foods like apples.
this is me and Marselino, one of our church members (-- despite his gorgeous shades, he's NOT the guy in the story, below) ....
one day as we were feeding people and carting our basket of muffins around, my husband Jonathan and I came across an elegant, humbly but cleanly dressed, VERY hungry-looking man on the street, he was red-headed, slightly grizzled, seemingly part-black, part-white, slim and leaning on a cane. he wore dark shades.
we gave him a couple muffins, & he seemed pretty blown away by the gesture.
he thanked us for the muffins, for this kindness, in a tender, melodious voice and asked us what HE could do for US! it was very sacred-feeling.
we replied, 'nothing, we just want your love, your blessing.'
he said, 'oh, you definitely have my blessing!' and went on to say, "my daddy always taught me to respect everyone you meet as yourself, because they ARE your self."
Jonathan: "that's deep."
the man: "that's DEEPER than deep."
(at this point my hair is standing up and I know this is no ordinary character.)
he told us a bit about his life, he had traveled the world, was a Vietnam war vet who'd lost 2 brothers in the war and his mother had died of a heart attack from the shock of her 2 sons' deaths.... it was very moving.
as we were about to leave him (so he could eat his muffins), I asked him his name.
he replied: "my friends call me Red....."
and then he ripped off the sunglasses, revealing, and I'm not exaggerating, the MOST piercing, intense blue eyes I've ever seen on another human being -- completely off this world, like sapphires with sunlight behind them --
and continued in an other-worldly, deep, resonant voice that still rings in my head when I think about him:
"... but my name is GABRIEL!!!!!!!!!!!!"
well, okay then!
we stumbled away, shaken to the core, message received.
I didn't look back to see if he was still standing there or had disappeared into thin air (wouldn't have surprised me a bit)!
what an unexpected grace, to receive a darshan like that!