The weblog of Darren Friesen

Friday, November 19, 2004

From Jann Arden's Desk

Got this from Jann Arden's site today. It's a bit long, but beautiful.

When Vancouver gets cold, the weary stumble out onto the streets. I walked home last night after having had dinner with Russ, Nikki (baby Ike of course) and her friend Cara, weaving my way through at least a dozen young people squatting on blankets with bedraggled dogs seated loyally beside them. I had a box of pizza under my arm and a bottle of wine in a bag I was taking to a friend. A thin, smiling girl said, "Are you being careful with that?" The wine I assumed, as she was just outside the liquor store hoping to score some change. "Yes", I said "as careful as one wants to be." I smiled back at her.
She said, "God bless you, my dog’s name is Charity."
"Is Charity old?" I asked.
"Yeah, she's seen it all."
She didn't ask me for money, but I felt compelled, well not compelled – wrong word – I don't know what I felt, but I gave her 10 bucks. "You're kidding." she said. Charity the dog wagged her tail as if to say thank you also. She had two stainless steel bowls; one for water and the other full of canned food – as happy as happy can get I suppose. I had a lump in my chest. I prayed quietly in my head. "Have a great night." The girl called out as I walked away. Charity wagged like mad.

I literally walked two more blocks, crossed the street at Gravely and Commercial and passed another little girl – I say little girl as she weighed no more than a hundred pounds, with lead shoes on. She was about twenty and held a cardboard sign up, but I couldn't quite make it out. As I passed, she too said "God bless you". (No one deserves that many blessings in a single night.) I called back to her and she turned towards me as I asked, "Excuse me, do you need some money?" She looked like a rainbow had suddenly wrapped itself around her shoulders. "Yeah, I am a backpacker staying at a hostel, but they charge twenty dollars a night. I'm just trying to get the money together so I can go to bed." I fished out my wallet and found an American ten from my trip to Europe. God knows why...anyhow. I handed it to her and she whispered a grateful "Thank you".
"Take care of yourself.” I said, “Get some rest."
"I will." she said.

It somehow made me feel euphoric to see a couple of blessed smiles. The moon seemed brighter. I prayed in my head to a God I am not even sure exists. It makes me sad that I don't always believe in an Almighty grace. God knows I try. It's hard to believe in good things when you pick up the morning paper in an unchanged world. All I know is that when a complete stranger blesses you, it's darn near as good as God, if not maybe even kinda somehow actually Him. Well it could be. You never know. You wonder if God doesn't check up on us dressed in other people's clothes, just accessing how we're doing, seeing If were even the least bit good or not. Testing us. You wonder.

I felt lighter somehow, walking the rest of the way home. Everything was so clear. It was so quiet. I was in slow motion counting breaths. Cars went by silently. There was no wind, no sky, just clouds under my feet and a feeling of well being. Helping others is a reward bigger than one often imagines. Philanthropy is giving when you have nothing; that's when it counts the most.

I saw two completely drunk guys sharing a cigarette beneath an old doorway. I wanted to stop and listen to their conversation. I just caught the end of one guy's sentence, "I'm gonna go over to Carol's for a bit, eh?" I walked past the words falling onto the concrete, now gone, now past.
I am in the studio today, with Russ, surrounded with flowers and candles and an endless supply of coffee and nuts and fruit and candy. I have too much. I don't deserve any of it. Luck is NOT knowing you can't do something. I do know one thing, never "Google" yourself. You may want to shoot your tits off. My pal Beth and I are going out to dinner tonight; Sushi I suspect as she doesn't eat anything with a mother. She has veggie rolls and edamame and seaweed salads and tea. I do the meat part of the deal. I'm sure she’ll have a few more tattoos to show me. We talk about music and boys and how it's hard to find a true heart. She is looking for something, although she is not too sure what. Men elude her understanding. I tell her it's not just men, it's all people. The world is like a bad mini-series right now. None of us are sure about the future so we get weirder and weirder. Her eyes are so big; they seem to be filled with tears all the time. The beauty in pain entices me more than anything glad; beautiful pain, beautiful hurt, beautiful face, beautiful earth. One day, tomorrow will not come. Who will you be, when it doesn’t? Will you be one of the good ones? I met a couple of them last night dressed like God.


Blogger Cathy said...

Thank you, Darren. That was beautiful.

6:30 PM


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