A true story:
A man was on a journey, walking with his guitar, asking God many questions... learning.
One day his journey brought him to East Hollywood, L.A., and this one-day was different. He was having a hard time understanding what it was exactly the Lord wanted from him. He had journeyed through all the back streets, so called "bad neighborhoods"..., which were really just poor neighborhoods of a different color...he had stopped and played his guitar anytime someone asked regardless, or let them play regardless. Went where he was invited...Had a knife pulled on him on one street, was even arrested and ticketed for playing for kids on the subway...though he was never allowed his day in court.
He had done most everything asked without asking why...most everything...and eventually found understanding with that patience.
However, today was different, the looks from the people were harsher this day...hurt more this day...and still he tried to play for smiles...find the smiles, bring them to light. Nevertheless, today was different, and they were refusing, instead, burning with their bitterness. Today was a tough one, and this man turned to God in the middle of it all...and begged God to please let him know why he was suffering thus, when he was doing what he was told. "What good is it? They don't like me."; he cried inside. "What good am I?"...but still he played on. And this went on for a time.
However, today was different, and a little boy, of about 3 or 4, came dragging his mother by the hand, vigorously, through the parking lot, to the store. His mind clearly on nothing else but getting inside, hers, a look of reserved acceptance. And when he got up to the doors, and saw this man playing guitar...he stopped...frozen, didn't move a muscle. A look of shock was upon his face, that on this day, almost killed the guitar-man on the spot...but he kept playing, and found a smile started to break across that young face. And as the smile increased in size, his little body started bouncing, and his little hands starting to vibrate out in front of him. And he danced, and smiled,and clapped his hands. And the guitar-man smiled. And the mother smiled. And this too went on for a time.
Until the mother, still smiling, took the little boy by the hand again and dragged him away, into the store. And the guitar man's music seemed to have a little more bounce. Seemed to ring out a little more. His heart seemed a little lighter, but he still didn't know why he was here. So he kept playing, his mind reeling with confusion and doubt. And this as well went on for a time.
But today was indeed different, for as the mother and the little boy were leaving the store, both wearing big smiles, the mother came back and gave the guitar-man a $5 bill, which she put in his hand with a little squeeze and a thank you. Then she explained that for weeks now, her little boy has been bugging her to get a machine gun he saw in the store, which makes noise when you pull the trigger. She didn't really want to get it for him, but he had done everything he was supposed to for a couple of weeks now and she had finally caved in.
"That's why he was in such a hurry to get in there when you first saw us." She said. "He was getting his reward for being good."
She went on to say that when they went down the aisle to pick it up, there were little plastic guitars in a bin beside the machine guns. And when he saw them, he ran right past the guns...to the guitars. Grabbing one, he said that he wanted it.
"I told him he couldn't have both", she said. "it would have to be one or the other...And he picked the guitar!"
She then squeezed his hand again, and said; "And that's because you were here!"
Then, she took her son's hand, the other one holding the bag, containing a somewhat different item then the one they had arrived for, smiled, and were gone as quickly as they had arrived.
As the guitar-man kept playing, tears welled in his eyes and a smile grew so deep within him, because today was different, and with Patience came a deeper understanding.