CARLOS

Several years ago I was living in the sprawling, chaotic city of Guatemala City. Six million people from all walks of life crowded the streets from sun up to sun down. On most days it would take me well over an hour just to drive the five-mile route to my work.

It was while I lived there that I met my friend Carlos.

Everyone has a story but the one that has impacted my life the most is his.

There was nothing about Carlos that was normal to me. He had walked a completely different life than I had, and at first I was a bit apprehensive when I met him. He was homeless, a recovering addict and filthy. The interesting thing about the day that I met him was that as I was walking around, I was struggling with a lot of internal anger and pain. I had recently seen a man shot 5 times in the chest and murdered right in front of my eyes. I also had had a man stick a gun to my head as I was riding to work in a taxi. Life had gone dark for me. As I walked around on the day I met Carlos, my head was down and my heart was heavy.

As I was walking back into my office I heard a screaming whisper within my head that simply said, “look up.”

As I lifted my head, Carlos was sitting in front of me and was staring directly into my eyes.

That first conversation between us was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that has continued to grow over the years. Each time we met after our first conversation, we talked about love and hate, faith and doubt, and why the world seemed to be filled with so much darkness.

Carlos taught me that to truly change the world you had to first stop, then look up and notice those who are right in front of you. You have to live in such a way that you embrace every moment and conversation with love. Live Love started because a homeless man named Carlos taught me the value of a single moment.

Annabelle Chinchen