By Gabe Abdelaziz
In this article, I want to take you on an incredible journey, a true story of people transforming other people’s lives. We are to live on this planet to impart, impact, and influence people to live out their true potential. Each one of us has the innate ability to excel and succeed. Yet, excellence, success, accomplishment, dreams, and hopes do not come without a price. I submit to you that days are not always sunny. Some days are filled with drama and trauma. Storms often arise without any warning. Some storms happen because of life itself. Others happen because of something we did. And other storms may happen because of what someone else did. Whichever way, storms are not fun nor enjoyable. But storms don’t last forever. If we hang in there, your storm will pass. If you stay focused, you will pull out, or someone will love you enough to walk you out.
After all my rambling, you are probably thinking, so where is this incredible story of transformation? The
story for me starts in 1967. My parents had relocated to Los Angeles from Buffalo, New York. My dad owned a fast-food restaurant called Mel’s Chicken and Burger Land in South Central L.A. I lived amongst skid-row winos and thugs. There was a wino named Buck, a pretty decent drunk. Yet daily you would find him sleeping in the alleys and eating out of trash cans. Often, my dad would give him jobs so we could get good food in his belly. Buck was a constant in the neighborhood. One day Buck disappeared. Everyone assumed he had died in his sick, alcoholic condition. My dad enquired with police, but to no avail. A couple of years passed and one day, a sophisticated, debonaire man with a manicured beard came in and ordered food. He looked at my dad and asked, “How are you, Mel?” Dad could not place the man. So, he questioned him, “Have we met before?” He replied, “I am Buck.” So
now, my dad wanted to know his story.
Buck began to tell the story of how he was once a professor at one of the major universities. He hit a rough
patch in life, lost his marriage, lost his job, became dead broke, and his only solution was to drown his sorrows in Thunderbird and rock-gut whiskey. But one day, someone came along and saw potential that no one else saw (including my dad). They picked him up out of the gutter, took him to their home, got him the help he needed, treated him with dignity, and the best part was that they introduced him to Jesus. Now you know the rest of the story.
If only we would learn to love people and invest in people. Passing judgment on someone’s hard time will not get them to the top. Many people do not want a handout, but they do need a hand-up. I know these are different times than 1967, but even though these times are strange, let’s not add to the strangeness. Let’s become the sunshine in someone’s storm.
Pastor Gabe Abdelaziz is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email him at email@example.com