Park Story from a Commune side of life
Since Living in a commune, there is not much to do for fun. Although one of my favorite fun places to go as a child was in the park, and to swim in the large public pool. But there is one beautiful sunny day that stands out in my mind in the San Fernando Valley, in Southern California. I like to call it “The Park Story with my friend Terry!”
During the summer months on Saturday mornings, some of us kids would obtain a way out of communal living and go to the public swimming pool. I was 12 years old at the time and enjoyed cooling off and splashing in the water. I always wanted to swim in the pool longer than my friends. They wanted to lay out with their towels on hot cement and coax their skin into becoming brown like mine. I couldn’t believe it! Why would anyone want to lay on hot cement? They thought I was lucky: me? I was frustrated!
One summer afternoon, though, it was just my friend Terry and I. We had finished swimming, dressed back in shirts and shorts, and wandering around waiting for our ride back to the commune. Since we were hanging out at the park, we might as well do something fun. When we needed something to do Terry could usually come up with something creative to do. She said, “Let’s play catch.” Of course, we did not have a ball. However, things like that did not stop Terry, and she suggested we play catch without something to throw. So, we stood in the green grass a few yards apart and started throwing and catching the illusion of a ball. That alone is not enough to keep two young girls amused, so we decided to add a bit of a twist when catching, such as jumping high up into the air to capture an impossible catch. Or Other times we would dive and scoop up the ball just before it hit the ground. We were playing and laughing and having fun figuring out different ways to catch and throw. A younger couple came near us taking a walk. They needed to pass, but then again, they did not want to stop our game.
Of course, they assumed we were playing with an actual ball. This adorable couple motioned for Terry to throw the ball. We tried to encourage them to go ahead and walk through. Still, they were so kind and refused. How so we tell them there was no ball? The look on their face was so patient and kind. They would not give up in encouraging us and waving to Terry to throw. We looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders. Terry gave in, she pulled back her arm and threw a powerhouse, perfect and of course invisible ball. I stepped forward and met the ball with a more conservative catch. The looks on this couple’s face were priceless! They had to of noticed that there was nothing that flew through the air. We had such a good laugh. That was so worth it!
Terry and I started walking away laughing. Ok, We were in hysterics over the look on this couple’s face. Then two girls approached us and asked if they could speak to us. Now it was my turn to have a strange look on my face because I did not like talking to strangers. I was ready to say no, but Terry said “yes.” Then they split us up to speak to us privately. My Yes was my eyes rolling was my agreement. Therefore, one girl took me one way, and the other girl led Terry off a few yards in the opposite direction.
The one thing I remember hearing was that I was a sinner. I am the kind of person that cannot be said in a monotone voice the gospel with a statement like “I am a sinner.” I had no idea what a sinner meant, and it sounded rude. Then she tells me that I need to “be saved.” Again, I had no idea what the phrase “be saved” meant. Saved from being a sinner? What is a sinner, are they saying I am inferior? OK, I understand, I am imperfect, I already knew people thought I was unworthy, and now a complete stranger had confirmed it, Great! Thanks for letting me know. She asked me if I wanted to accept Christ as my savior. I didn’t fully realize it at the time, however, in a nutshell, she was sharing the Gospel message with me.
I have no problem with spreading the good news, however, not in the way it was shared that afternoon. This girl may have asked my name, other than that she knew nothing about me. She did not know that I was living in a commune, and felt that no one cared or loved me and that my self-worth was zero at best. She did not do anything to show me that she cared about me, they were just words to me. Therefore, I did not allow her or her words to influence me. I made up my mind that this lady was one of those closed minded crazy people and therefore my response was a self-sufficient “no.” In my opinion, she was weird and what she was saying was closed minded hog wash.
Terry, on the other hand, had a different idea about the performance, we watched unfold in front of us. When we could talk privately, I asked if she prayed the prayer, and she said “Yes.”
I strangely looked at Terry.
“What?!” I said. “Why?”
“Because…what if it’s true?”
Our ride finally came, and Bishop Asaiah who saved us from boredom on Summer Saturdays came to pick us up and take us back to lunch which consisted of white rice and applesauce every Saturday.