Christmas eve of 2011 will remain to me as no ordinary day for it was within this day that I met a person who probably was one of this most inspiring individuals that I have met , whose story has touched my heart and whose project with its simple yet effective message touched my soul.
It was also a day in which I participated in midnight mass for the first time ever with my equals in the religion of Christianity, this proved to be a unique and motivating experience in realising that as humans we often let our differences be the cause of our misery and suffering when in essence we need to seek to be at one with one another and thus together with our creator and lord. (will discuss another blog)
The Meeting of Angelo
So I woke up as any other day I had planned to meet friends who I had not met for a long time and so we agreed to meet at Westfield shopping centre where we talked about many issues, recently the topic of marriage has been a big subject of interest and again it was on our minds and discussed quite deeply. There has been an increase in couples whose marriage process does not even blossom into that of marriage and so these discussions often explore why that is and perhaps either seek to better understand or maybe be an avenue for us to relieve our pains of our experience.
So as we approached a Moroccan style cafe we noticed a random guy playing on his guitar and what we noticed was that he was actually very good and so as we sat and discussed amongst ourselves, there he was on his guitar just playing along and so after a while we began talking to him. He was with another friend and so when that friend was leaving we made sure he sat down with us for all of us felt that there was something special about this person.
He came back 10 minutes later and sat amongst us he introduced his project titled ‘Forward the smile’ and explained the basic concept which immediately impressed me. The idea was that through his guitar playing and magic tricks he would instill a smile and happiness to strangers that past him. As we got talking I learned that his name was Angelo and that his life was no easy one in fact it was the element of his story and project that really hit my heart and inspired me.
Angelo pulled his backpack from under the table and told me that he used to work here (pointing at the logo of Facebook) and immediately explained that he had to resign just two weeks into the job. He had contracted a problem with his lungs and so went through 4 major operations which had a major effect on his health and body. He had also applied to Google who blacklisted him for accepting Facebook and so he ended up on jobseekers. Throughout the same time his father was suicidal and his mother was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Explaining all this to us came as a shock but it was his stature and the manner in which he explained his story that shone through like sunlight in the night. Sun light that shines through the very midst of darkness.
Angelo explained that he had reached such a low point that he wanted to kill himself, he wrote down “I want to die” and that at that very moment he turned to god, he asked god for help and it was then he told himself that instead of feeling sorry for himself and his situation, instead of being miserable towards life he would take it by the ropes and ride it like a horse rider in control of his noble steed, and so FORWARDthesmile was born. When I say that I was honoured to have met and come into contact with Angelo it is something I truly mean. The manner of his speech and talk instantly tells your inner soul that this person is unique and genuine, there is no hidden agenda but a pure and simple act of ‘forwarding a smile’
Whilst speaking with Angelo there was a common ground that we shared, I asked him if he thought it was his faith in God that had seen him through his hardships he instantly agreed and so we explored the notion that religion and God has dramatically declined in our society. It is no doubt that if he had no faith in God then I firmly believe I would have not met him yesterday. Angelo is an incredible man for being so mentally, physically and emotionally strong his project is something that he is doing on the side and using his income from his day job to fund it, he certaintly brought a smile to me and my friends.
I think we could have stayed talking and listening to Angelo and his singing until the very next day but sadly the laws of time had come into play and so we departed but not after taking down Angelo details and making sure that we would remain in contact. Angelo if you read this then I hope you’re smiling and understand that your project is vital in a society whose fast paced attributes has led to much misery. Every individual has a story but every individual also has a smile and I cannot help but feeling that I was destined to meet you.