what I didn't learn from a book

Today I sat down with Manuel deJesus.

He's a homeless man from Guatemala living in the US for 14 years now.  He primarily lives in Inglewood with a few stints in Redondo Beach when the food is available.

A couple of friends and I invited him to our table for coffee and conversation.

I was floored by his observations and understanding.

Manny shared that he had NEVER sat down with Americans for a meal or coffee in all of his 14 years here.  No one had ever told him that he was good, smart or wise.

Manny said that friendship is better than any material thing you or I could ever have.  Also, he said that you could have the best idea in the world, but without a friend there to support and encourage you in it, it is empty.

Manny asked if he was still on planet earth in the middle of our conversation.  He couldn't believe that 3 strangers would invite him, a homeless man, into their life and conversation.  He asked, "How did I end up here at this table?  Did I ask you for something?"  We told him, no, but that we invited him.

Manny has 3 daughters in Guatemala, a successful brother in South L.A. whom he sees twice a year.  He crossed the border 14 years ago with his good friend who now owns his own company and is very successful.  Manny chalks his misfortune up to not being smart enough in a country of such opportunity.

Manny is smart.  He taught me things I read hundreds of pages to understand.  He showed me these things without eloquence or elaboration.

The power of invitation to a table is unfathomable.


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