April 15, 1998
Oceanside, California, USA
Before leaving Als house, I called Greg, a friend of a friend, and asked if I could hang-out with him when I got to Oceanside. He was cool with it, and I arranged to meet him at the Oceanside Marina that evening at six oclock. Al drove me back down to the Dana Point Marina, and I was on the water by 10am.
The paddling conditions were superb, but it was a rather long and boring day. The highlight was watching a small swarm of helicopters buzzing over head, shuttling supplies between the Marine Base and two aircraft carriers anchored a mile off shore - like bees bringing pollen to two a massive floating hives. I paddle into the Oceanside Marina at exactly six oclock. Greg was there waiting for me. After finding a safe place to dock my kayak, we headed to his place, and I had supper with his family.
Greg, and his wife, Anne, have lead interesting lives. For most of their lives, they have lived the classic Southern California beach culture life style, and have spent many a day surfing and just hang-out at the beach. Beach culture isnt about slacking off, its about spending more time doing what you want to do - like raising children for example. Greg and Anne have home-schooled, and home-birthed both of their girls: Mary, age 10, and Questa, age 15.
After supper, I called Darryl, another friend of a friend, and Greg drop me off at Darryls house to spend the night. The next day, I was still pretty tired from the long paddle the day before, and I had a lot of work to do on my web site, so I decided to stay another day. That evening, Darryl and his wife Sonia said to me, "God has blessed us with this house. He must have a reason for bringing you here, so your welcome to stay as long as you need." Ive been here a week now. I must tell you, these people are some of the most Christian(Christ-like) people I have ever met. They are really cool.
I have been staying in Darryls mothers house, which is attached, but a separate building from Darryls house. For the first few days here, Faye(Darryls mom), and I had never even met. She always goes to work early in the morning, and goes to bed early at night. Whenever she was home, I was either sleeping, or out of the house. I thought It was pretty unusual for someone(especially a woman) to let a stranger live in their home, and sleep in their spare bedroom without meeting them. When we finally met, Faye told me, "I wasnt worried about you living in my home. God always takes good care of me."
Faye asked me if I knew God personally. "Im working on it.", I replied.
"Do you read the Bible?" she inquired
"One of my goals on this journey is to read the Bible cover to cover.", I responded.
"So... Do you read it?"
"On the first day of my journey, I read the first couple pages of Genesis, but I have not read another page since.", I answered somewhat embarrassed.
"For people who have never met you in person, the best way for them to get to know you, would be for them to read your journals. Am I right?!", Faye responded. "How do you expect to get to know God better, unless you read about his life?"
She had a point.
Being Christian isnt about having religion, its about having a relationship. A person can have religion and not have faith. For example, most people bath and brush their teeth religiously - which has nothing to do with whether or not they believe Jesus Christ died on a cross for their sins. But, if a person has faith, and truly believes that the Bible is the word of God, they should always want to do what is right. If you always do something consistently on a regular basis - youre religious.
I think a lot of people get caught up in the religion, and lose the faith. They are so busy counting beads, saying "Hail Marys", and wearing the religious paraphernalia, they forget what they are doing it for. Do they really think God cares what clothes they are wearing, or whether they say five "Hail Marys" and five thousand "Hail Marys"? He can see into your heart. We dont have to say it, or display it. He knows what were thinking. If you really wanted to make sure you always do the right thing, before you make a decision, just ask yourself "What would Jesus do?". And if you do make a mistake, you dont have to tell a priest about it - its between you and God. Just keep in mind that one day you are going to be held accountable for all your sins, and youll have to deal with it.
Something that annoys me, are these freak show television evangelists with their hand out asking for money, while they wear diamond studded watches and gold rings on every finger. Bad taste isnt a sin, but I feel embarrassed to be associated with these morons, because I know that there are non-Christians viewing these TV programs also, and probably thinking the same things I do.
Easter was just a couple of days ago. I went with Sonia to an outside service at a local park. It was a great service. The pastor made it perfectly clear that Jesus was a real man, who willingly died on a cross, then after three days, rose from the dead, and walked the earth for another forty days; and in that time, was seen by thousands of people. Rob, the pastor, stated that a British court had even ruled it to be one of the most documented events in history.
The stories in the Bible are so awesome, they seem more like fairy tales. Stories like Jonah and the Whale, David and Goliath, Sampson and Delilah, Daniel in the lions den, and Noahs arch, all seem bigger than life - more like Jack and the Bean Stalk. Its easy to shake these stories off as just myths and legends, but the more you look at each story, the more you will see that these were all real people, and that the narratives in the Bible are the stories of these peoples lives. Someday Id like to know all the details, but for now, I have reason to believe that everything in the Bible is true, because I have never been given a reason to believe that it is not.
This afternoon, Greg picked me up and took me for a tour of the San Luis Rey mission. The San Luis Rey mission is one of the 21 missions that were built by Spanish Franciscan Friars along the southern California coast in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The purpose of the Mission system was to establish colonization in order to thwart the threat of foreign invasion by Czarist Russia. The Russians never advanced down the coast beyond Northern California, and the missions were used mainly for converting the indigenous people to Christianity, and teaching them agricultural skills. Each mission is located approximately 30 miles(one days walking distance) apart, spanning from San Diego to San Francisco.
Im very fortunate to meet people like Greg. The entire time we were together, he was spewing out historical, geological, and ecological information about this area. It felt like I was with a professor on a private field trip. And now, as I sit hear writing this, it feels like Im writing an essay. This journey is very much like going to a school with nothing but field trips, and lots of homework.
When we arrived back here at Fayes house, Greg and I stood on the door step talking for an hour about photography, surfing, and our inner voice. I asked Greg to take me surfing. He responded by saying "Well have to wait a few days. The water isnt safe enough yet." When it rains here, all the crud on the streets get washed into the sewer, and the pesticides from farms get washed into the rivers, and both sewers and rivers flow into the ocean. Its common for people to get sick when they surf immediately after a rain storm.
I better rap this up. Al, my buddy from Dana Point, is coming to pick me up soon. This morning, he sent me an email stating that he was taking an 8th grade class sailing to Catalina Island for a Civil War living history program. I immediately called him on the phone and asked if I could go. "It isnt my decision." Al replied. "Ill have to call my boss at the Marine Institute." They gave me the green light, so now Im all geared up to head out on what I think might be one of my most exciting field trips yet.