June 15, 2010

...a lesson in bravery

i.ve been thinking about a little boy i met several weeks ago 
as i was wondering the streets of ojai, california with my sweet friend kolleen.
ojai is a quaint little artist town nestled in a beautiful valley
just east of santa barbara. we had just come out of a gallery store...{ok, maybe the candy shop} and i heard this plunking sound like someone playing a cheep ukulele from a beach vendor.  we walked down a bit and there on the ground was a pair of the bluest eyes looking up at me.
we.ll call him daniel. 
daniel was all alone, sitting on a concrete ledge strummin his guitar like he owned the town.  because i.m a mother, my first instinct was to look around to see if his parents were lurking nearby.  maybe waiting quietly in their car or sitting a few benches away, reading a book, observing their son.s fearlessness.  nope. no one.  i bent down so i could look at daniel right in his soulful eyes. 
he didn.t smile.  we just looked at each other and he kept playing.
when his song was over i asked him his name.  i asked him how old he was  and how long he had been playing the guitar.  we talked about his music career and how the worst part was practicing.  i agreed.  i never liked to practice the piano when i was little, i told him.  he told me about the stickers he had placed haphazardly on his six string and then just like that, he was done talking and started playing again.  i looked down at his empty guitar case, knowing he was hoping i would throw in a few coins.
as i went to toss in some tender for his talent, he pointed to his shoe...
and i wondered if he had learned the hard way to keep the money under foot.
i silently hoped he had not.
i.ve thought lately about daniel.  about what i could learn from him.  about his bravery.  you wouldn.t catch me sittin on a curb, playing my guitar for money anytime soon.  i dont have that kind of confidence.  but daniel was comfortable with his discord.  comfortable with what he could do...even if it was plucking at some strings.  he held his head high and said to the world...
this is me...hear my song.

and we did!

{cul*ti*vate some daniel like bravery and SING YOUR SONG}


  1. yes, sometimes those lessons in bravery come early for many...

    thank you for sharing this amazing story of "Daniel" with us!! If i get to visit Ojai again i will keep my eyes open for this brave musical young man and be sure to leave some money in his shoe =-)

  2. i love you.

    oh how i remember that moment....and you and i wondering "where is his mom??? where are his parents???" we never did find that answer, did we?

    what a beautiful, heartfelt, "so chrissy" post....

    i was going to say you have a heart of gold....

    but no.

    you have a heart so bright and colorful
    you see it from so far away,
    hear it from so far away.

    how blessed am i to call you
    my dearest of friends??


  3. Chrissy thank you for that tender story. We can learn a lot from it. Wow, mind boggling. Ya wonder what his story is?
    I also wanted to tell you your comment on my blog brought a little tear to my eye. I love to hear about your positive experiences. It adds strength to my own confidence...

  4. This story is just wonderful Chrissy - and so great you've stopped to cherish that brave little musician. Some kids really don't have an easy life, and some attention and some love are always the right medicine!

  5. Oh gosh that made me all misty eyed reading that!! What a story, I can just imagine you and Kolleen now, I would be the same...where are his parents...why is he alone....What a brave little soul he must be!!
    Oh this world can be such a sad place, I just want to scoop kids like that up and take them all home with me!!


    Micki x

  6. How brave indeed this little lad is out there on his own. I do wish someday that from all the caring people he meets like you Chrissy and Kolleen it gives him the courage and inspiration to hold his own as an adult playing his music to earn an abundant living and feel part of this world unabandoned. I'm sending my positive vibes out into that universe for him. xx

  7. As much as this young boy inspired you, I know in my heart you two inspired him because you SAW him!! You noticed him and his existence. You gave him worth, and oh how important that is to children as they are finding their way on the journey.

    And then you reminded us how important bravery is and that it comes in all sizes and all shapes...

    Thank you, dear dahling one for sharing this :)

  8. My wife is nutty. But...nutty in a good way. I am discovering more of her talents everyday. I know that she has no idea how good she is at reaching others with her writing, art, and photography. How can we captialize on that to help me quit my job so I can just play golf everyday?

  9. "comfortable with his discord" ~
    holy buckets, that says SO MUCH!
    beautifully stated & so core true!
    oh chrissy, such a heartbreaking sight,
    & also an intersection of beauty
    to hear of your conversation/encounter.
    beaming light, provision, warm meals,
    & radical love "daniel'" way. xo

  10. oops...i meant "daniel's" way.

  11. What I love dear Chrissy, is that you two cared enough to stop and listen to this kid's "story." I can only imagine that even if he didn't show any smiles or signs of acknowledgement, that having someone stop, look him in the eyes and give him encouragement, made his heart swell and made him feel really good. What we all need in this life is for someone to look us in the eyes and and say I see you, I hear you, you matter!

    Thank you for this story Chrissy!


  12. I am going to have 'Daniel' on my mind for the next few days... wondering what it is that stops us from freely doing what we know, stops us from being brave like Daniel. I wonder if Daniel feels brave or whether that is just what he does?

  13. so much we can learn from kids.....especially kids named daniel. and i know that he was surely encouraged by your conversation with him, and that you took the time to stop and just listen..... to let him know that what he was doing is important. so much love in your heart, miss chrissy.....i know he felt it. and you know what else? i think that i definitely got the bigger part of that wishbone in your post yesterday.....knowing you is such a blessing!! xox, :))

  14. Oh, wow, what a great story! This little boy has so much more bravery than I do! I worry waaaayyyy too much! Just now, I finally put a "My Etsy" tab on my Facebook page and had sweaty hands just because it made me nervous to reveal another little piece of my artist self to those who have known me for a long time. So silly, but there I am. You are an inspiration, sweet Chrissy! Love, Silke

  15. lovely written....just lovely...I love how you saw daniel..

  16. Sweet boy. So sad not to see him smile. His eyes really showed nothing. I hope music gets him through what lies ahead. Old soul, this little boy.

  17. such a super awesome story! and so wonderful to be inspired in that moment and then to be able to share it here. thank you so much! i am always so moved whenever i visit your gorgeous blog :)


  18. Hi Chrissy!!! What an awesome story. It reminds me of the movie August Rush. Have you seen it?

  19. ~my heart be still...touching words you have written...i was thinking the same as reading this...august rush...one of my favorite movies and maybe because one of mine plays the guitar...the passion that lies within daniel will take him far...confidence, courage and dedicated to making his place in this big crazy world...this is a wonderful post to help us all remember the road may not always be easy but if we take it one stride at a time...well it all works out...though daniels life may not be beautiful to all...it is his life and he is making it as beautiful as he knows how! warm wishes and brightest blessings~

  20. What a brave soul! May he never loose the courage to sing his song! May he be surrounded by love and comfort.

    You,dear Chrissy always come right from the heart. You inspire and encourage and are always a shining light.

    I hope we all find the courage to sing our songs and shine our lights!

  21. Oh my gosh, he looks like he could be my sons age. The mom in me wants to bring home and give him milk and cookies. What a tender story.

    Thanks for the email Chrissy, love you!

    your friend,

  22. Oh my goodness, what a beautiful story - it's amazing how certain moments in our lives can leave such big impressions. Wonderful words and wonderful photographs.

  23. Bravery is often born out of necessity - this tough truth is both a blessing and a curse. I'm glad to see that this little boy has a guitar by his side...there is comfort in music.

  24. chrissy, i JUST updated my blog with the 3 column format. thank you for liking it! i'd been really wanting to find that template too and now it comes up as one of my options. Where it used to say CUSTOMIZE on my dashboard, it now says Design, which brings me to the 3 column options. Been wanting to email you, but don't have your info. email me when you get the chance :) juliettecrane (at) hotmail (dot) com

    xo, juliette

  25. ohhhhhh my goodness chrissyyyyyy! my heart strings have never been so tugged. WOW. the bravery in his soul + his passion + belief + ability to see the world through the eyes of a child. INCREDIBLE! it's something i definitely want to "cultivate" more of in myself.

    i bet your presence, your deep + true + genuine way of seeing + acknowledging him had as much of an impact on his life as he's now had on all of ours.

    THANK YOU!!!

    i will SING my SONG :D

    so much love to you,

  26. What a beautiful story Chrissy,
    I'm sure that your sweet smile and the kindness you shared with him touched his heart. You are an example of good.

  27. i bet he was so happy to have two lovely peeps such as yourselves stop to say hello and chat a while! what amazing eyes he has, definitely such a brave wee man.

    thank you Chrissy - you make me want to sing my song!

  28. What a beautifully written story. You have the most incredible heart. Stopping to not only hear Daniel play but to talk to him is what makes you so special. There are not many people that would not do that, they would just continue on. And that is Brave in itself my dear!

    I adore you!

  29. i love how you told the story... and now i'm so intrigued by his! i want to know more!

  30. this. is. beautiful. thank you for sharing his story with us - he will surely be on my mind for days to come.

  31. ooh, you remind me of the movie "August Rush" how brave Daniel is! We can all learn from his courage; so sad, to wonder about him! I am thankful that he has this gift and can share his soul with the world! Music can add magic to your life; I'm sure, your motherly moment gave him hope!

  32. He is a brave soul. And one of the things that I do believe (ok, so I have a hard time believing it for myself but I do believe it to be true) is that we cannot see things in others unless they are present in ourselves. Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to recognize it. You are brave, my dear, even if it's in different ways than Daniel.

    Love you!

  33. *LOVELY* story! Thanks for sharing this...

  34. those pictures of Daniel and those soulful eyes- no wonder they stayed with your heart. i'm so glad he got the chance to meet you too.

  35. I love that you took the time to talk to that boy. I wonder how many others don't even see or hear him there. I hope he learns connection rather than invisibility during these busking days. I also hope he's doing it all for fun and fulfillment rather than to add to the family coffers.

    Thanks for sharing the moment.

  36. beautiful story, chrissy. i too would have wondered where his parents were. and yay for him for having the courage to put himself out there like that.

  37. Just read the post of Amelia and now your post. Maybe it is time to find my Daniel.

    Have a lovely day.

  38. That is such a touching story. You sure do have a way with words and photography. Your posts really reach out and grab the heart strings. :) Such a brave, yet sad story too. I sure hope things work out well for Daniel.


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thank you so very much!