A Friday Night in Laguna, looking for love in all the wrong places

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By Jay Grant

Laguna at night
Laguna at night

With one hand Scott snuffed out a half-smoked Marlboro, with the other he finished off another beer. The bartender, wiping a glass dry, argued with a customer which was the better team – Denver or Seattle. In a corner of the bar somebody cursed after missing an easy game-winning shot on the eight-ball.

Down the Coast Highway in a popular lounge, Michelle moved to the driving rhythm of a local band. The coke she’d snorted was kicking in and she was feeling no pain. The vocalist shouted, “It’s alright, it’s alright,” while strutting across the small stage. Michelle’s eyes darted around the room, looking for a familiar face, somebody to love.

In a small rustic apartment in the north end of town, two frantic lovers groped and reached out for each other in a passionate pursuit of Eros. They had just met the night before. Over on Broadway, Bill worked late. Bill always worked late on Fridays. His marriage had grown stale and he loathed going home. Work had become Bill’s mistress.

Later that night Scott wept on the way home. He had no idea why. With her high gone, Michelle plunged into depression and thought of suicide. Why not? Life felt wretched. The ecstasy of the moment gave way to the emptiness of the two lovers lives. What was wrong? Why weren’t they happy? Exhausted and edgy, Bill stared out his rain-streaked window, looking toward Main Beach. He just stood there, for a long time. It was almost midnight. What did life mean anyway?

And on a night when men and women sought to satisfy the longing of their hearts with alcohol, drugs, sex and work, the Spirit of God hovered over Laguna. The winds blew. The rain fell. And all the while God was moving on the souls of the desperate, those like Scott, Michelle and Bill, whispering ever so softly in their ears,  “Come unto Me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. I am Lord, the One you have been searching for all your life.”