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Wright Words: Recovering alcoholic finds God through guitar street performing

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 22 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

I wondered if he ever imagined what people were thinking when they passed him by. “My advice?” he said, “Do what you love and don't worry who's watching.”

After another song and some good-natured coaxing, Leonard allowed me to shoot a few seconds of video and to take a photo. “You know what?” I said. “I think you’re doing a lot of good in this world.”

He gestured to the sky with the neck of his guitar. “If I make a difference for God down here, he will make a difference for me up there.”

As we said goodbye, I told him I was overcome with the notion that though we may worship and work in different places, we pray to the same father in heaven and that clearly the Lord loves him dearly, is very proud of him and cannot wait to greet him above.

He looked down at his feet.

“Leonard, God loves you, do you know that?” I asked.

He smiled and looked up. "He must. He sent you here today.”

“No, no, my friend,” I insisted. “It's the other way around.”

Just last week, I ran into Guitar Leonard at the very same spot. I introduced him to a friend traveling with me that day and we laughed and danced on the side of the road.

As Leonard launched into an original song, I briefly tuned him out and tuned into my own life. In one form or another, aren’t we all playing music for our creator? Am I using my talents in the same way? Are you?

I’m not always sure what my music sounds like, but I hope one day I play as well as my friend Leonard.

Jason Wright is a New York Times best selling author of 10 books, including "Christmas Jars" and his latest, "The 96th Annual Apple Valley Barn Dance." He can be reached at jwright@deseretnews.com, applevalleybarndance.com or jasonfwright.com

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