And Then He Smiled...

It was a beautiful, sunny day in Southern California and I was in Huntington Beach, having lunch with some friends at the infamous Sugar Shack when l looked up directly into those eyes.. maybe the saddest eyes I have ever encountered in my lifetime.  They spoke volumes to me, and I could not look away.  I could feel his pain from two tables away.  I did not know it at the time, but I was looking into the eyes of legendary surfer, Joe Crimo who spent his career, marrying aerial skateboarding skills to surfing in the early 90's on beaches I frequented as a young girl myself.  In a short ESPN article I read on Joe, came some profound words that mean a great deal to me.

It takes a level of maturity to own up to your problems. Every day, people struggle with admitting they have done something wrong. It’s not easy to change your ways, habits, and the influence you have on others, but after losing everything to drugs and prison, that’s exactly what Joe is trying to do now.
— Jon Steele, ESPN A Cautionary Tale

We talked awhile and he had a gentle, almost childlike way about him.  I have revisited these images often and I am reminded that judging a book by its cover is just plain foolish. When we were done, I hugged him and whispered in his ear... We are not so very different, you and I.

 And I meant. every. word.

Tell me out there... when's the last time you saw yourself in someone else's eyes?

We are all the same it seems
Behind the eyes
Broken promises and dreams
In good disguise
All we're really looking for is somewhere
Safe and warm
The shelter of each other in the storm
Who can trace the path of time
Not you or me
The twisting road we call our lives
We cannot see
The hunger and the longing every one of us
Knows inside
Could be the bridge between us if we try

Wherever you are today, Joe.. I do hope you're riding high over those waves again..