Every person is a story.
I first met Eli in Salt Lake City sometime around 2002. David and I were showing some new immigrant neighbors around the city. Eli was playing cello by Temple Square; he called to us and struck up a conversation. I took a photo of him. "Can I have a copy of it when you get it developed?" he asked.
Looking at this photo and knowing what I know now, this must have been shortly after he began playing cello for the passing public.
Tonight, I came across this feature story on a local news site, and I've been riveted by the accompanying YouTube videos since.
Have you ever seen Eli in downtown Salt Lake? What did you think? What did you assume?
Eli: Part 1
Eli: Part 2
My spirit is stirred up. Listen to him speak in these interviews! I am awakened. I am most engaged by the contrast of the man drawn out to speak his thoughts and the man most of us think we see on the Salt Lake City sidewalks. I am moved that someone slowed down enough to see another human and took the time to draw stories from Eli. Amazing.
We can never know each other until we quiet ourselves. We will learn years about a person in one hour of listening.
Ever wonder how a man surviving on street performance ever learned the cello? What is Eli's background? Someone doesn't just find a cello lying around and play like this! And how does someone who can play like this end up nearly homeless? Who is Eli?
With so many questions, I correct my first statement.
Every person is a compilation of stories.