Living in downtown Los Angeles, I see many things: marriage proposals, B-52 concerts, the largest Women’s March in history, flipped over jeeps in the middle of the street (Please don’t run red lights people,) and even priests dancing in the street.
Earlier in December was no different. One morning after finishing my fresh brewed Trader Joe’s coffee, I set out for my morning walk with my two dogs: Boss, a courageous but territorial Chinese Sharpei; and Uli, an independent & very vocal Miniature Pinscher/Chihuahua mix. The clouds scattered the sky as the sun tried her best to shine through. Not many people out and about that morning. Except for Tate: a 63-year-old homeless man who had been living in the Downtown Los Angeles area for over 35 years. I knew of Tate, but Tate did not know me. I would see him around the block asking for change with his cardboard sign that read, “broke but not broken.” Or I’d see Tate playing checkers with some of his buddies in the park. I’ve even seen Tate outside the downtown Cathedral praying.
That particular morning, I watched Tate from across the street as he placed a white substance into a glass pipe. Inhale. Exhale. But then Tate dropped something. Poof! It was as if Tate had dropped a precious jewel from Tiffany & Co. It was the white stuff from his pipe which fell onto the pavement. Tate was in a frenzy! He had every intention of rescuing his white powder which lay scattered on the street. Quickly, Tate did his best to retrieve it. Then Tate took a straw out and began sniffing the powder right off the concrete. His face eased with relaxation.
That act made me ponder that Tate exemplifies a man of intention and focus. I don’t (and won’t) judge Tate. I don’t know his story (though I would’ve listened intently if he cared to share it with me,) however, watching Tate got me to thinking: are my intentions clear and focused? Do I have a burning hunger for life?
Yes…and I think I can be even hungrier. Every new year, I always reflect on the previous year. What worked, what didn’t work, etc. My intentions have always been clear and focused. But after witnessing Tate, I challenge myself to go further. When I’m at work on set, is my intention to fill every moment I’m on screen with truth and raw honesty? When I’m with family, is my intention clear to make sure that each time I am with them that they know they are truly loved? When I’m at the production meeting, are my intentions clear to ensure that I will be the best producer this film set has ever had? For all of those questions, my intentions are a solid yes; but I know there is always room for improvement.
I haven’t seen Tate since that hazy morning. I don’t have any idea of what happened to him; though my creative mind has concocted numerous possibilities of what could have happened to him. Life is short. How clear are your intentions?