Focus, Focus, Focus

Praying the Rosary and witnessing to the parking attendant

I received a phone call one recent Sunday, asking me to participate in a focus group. In the conversation, which  was brief I disclosed my cell phone number and my email address. The caller also informed me that the topics to be discussed were hot political issues. I was told that an email or text would follow with more details. The focus group was going to pay for dinner at a trendy Irvine restaurant, and also pay participants $150.

My head got really big after this phone call, as I was thinking, maybe they are reading my Blog and found it so interesting that they wanted my opinion. It did not take long for my hairdresser Misty to burst my bubble when she said, “You should be careful, it sounds like a scam.” I wanted to share with others about how “special” I was in being selected, but now a dark cloud of doubt filled my deflated mind.

I checked for any information via email or text from this group, but received no communication. I called the restaurant, and they too confirmed that nothing was scheduled. I was a little disappointed because the money would have come in handy for the upcoming trip to Israel.

I was busy cleaning the house when the phone rang the day of the scheduled meeting.  It was the focus group people calling to confirm my participation. My response was, “You mean the scam!” The lady was nervously trying to convince me that it was not a scam, and then proceeded to contact her supervisor. He told me to call the restaurant again to clear things up. I did, and it was legit.

When I arrived, I was directed to the bar to join the other participants. Yeah, I was not going to do that, I stepped outside and started to pray the Rosary. I asked God to humble me, and for Jesus to be seen through me, I also witnessed to the parking attendant. I walked back in and met some of the people. The only thing that I could find in common with some of them was that we were part of the human race. Republicans, Democrats, all mixed together, with ages ranging from a ninety year-old man, to a petite twenty-year-old young lady.

The mediator mentioned that he had an MBA from some Ivy League college, and is earning his living by collecting information, and selling it. The gathering was impressive, with video cameras and microphones set up. For some reason part of the group, myself included, thought that it was going to be a discussion on Dreamers, President Trump’s Tweets, or the great political divide. What we talked about was more community issues, like the homeless encampment along the Santa Ana River bed. One gentleman, a retired sheriff, informed us that the homeless are now referred to as displaced people. Since I have been working with the “Displaced” people for years I did have some knowledge to offer. I gleaned some information from a recent radio commentary that a priest was giving. He talked about all state hospitals being forced to close due to government cutbacks. Persons with mental disorders are now in the streets, and I know first hand that a large population of displaced are chronic addicts. The 90 year-old man added that he was employed by this type of insitutuion,  and he explained that the mental patients had a home and that their medication was monitored and controlled. Others in the group thought that it would be a huge financial burden to go back to opening mental hospitals. The sad reality is that the prisons are now housing many mentally ill persons, the population has increased from 5% to 20% within the last 25 years. The rest of the mentally ill are displaced and roaming the streets According to 2016 statistics put out by Social Solution, there are 564,708 displaced people in the U.S. Of these, according to Fact Sheet: Homelessness in California, 115,738 are living in California. We need a better solution to help displaced people, or the problem will continue to grow.

Another topic was our prison system, and the lack of rehabilitation. All but one person agreed that rehabilitation is the only avenue for parolees.

We were allowed to give an opinion on the matters discussed, we all listened and I was presently surprised as to how respectful we all were of our differences. The mediator explained that this type of forum produces the best information because people are honest in person.

The man sitting to my left  asked how we were picked for the survey.  To add to my humility, we were randomly selected because we are registered voters, not because they read my Blog.

1 Peter 5:6  

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,










Related Posts