Thursday, December 27, 2012


Tonight, as I was walking home, I was thinking about my late Mother. Lost in thought, I glanced up and saw a Hawaiian man approaching me. As I do walking to and from work, I try to smile and say "Aloha" to everyone I pass. Most are receptive. Some continue walking past head down. Some really light up and smile back. As I passed this man, and said, "Aloha!", he lit up, reached out his hand and said, "Wow! Long time, no see..." I looked at him and didn't recognize him and figured that maybe he was mistaking me for someone else. I actually saw someone today at lunchtime who looked like me, a big bald guy. I also spoke with an old co-worker after lunch, on the phone, who I haven't spoken to in about five years, and she told me she thought she saw me, walked up and was embarrassed that it turned out not to be me. We laughed.

So I looked at this man and just smiled and said, "How have you been?" He replied, "Oh man, I just got out...Federal." I asked him how long was he in. He said a little over six years. I smiled and said "You look great!" Still trying to figure out if somehow I knew this man from my past, but couldn't place his face for the life of me. I then said, "What was your name again?" He replied "Raymond." I said, "Brother Raymond, you can do it. Walk that straight path. God is with you, your ancestors, your 'aumakua, all rooting for you." He smiled and said, "Thanks, I'm really trying hard to get my life together." I again said, "You have your whole life ahead of you." He smiled and lit up again and asked me what church did I go to. I said, "God is all around" as I pointed to the sky and trees around us. I said, "I talk to God constantly, and our kupuna, our Angels, our ancestors...they are always around..."

He looked at me, a little teary eyed, and grasped my hand. He said, "I really did some stupid things in life." I said, "Me too brother, we all have." I then noticed that we were standing about ten feet away from the portion of the sidewalk fronting Zippy's where I sat dying six months ago. I told him the story, about shutting down and my World closing in. Praying to God, Jesus, my Angels, my ancestors, to not let me die on the sidewalk. Then about the miracle of my Resurrection. I said today is a new day, it doesn't matter what we did in the past, we start brand new."

He said he lost both his Mother and his Father while in prison and his eyes teared up again. Holding onto his hand, I said your Mother and Father are with us right now, they are rooting for you brother, to make it. No sooner than those words left my mouth, my arms, neck and back lit up with chicken skin. I could see Raymond's face as he looked incredulously at his own arms while our hands still remained clenched together. He said, "Wow, I can feel...." Then I said, "chicken skin." He laughed and said "Yeah!" I said that is your Mom and Dad, and your ancestors here now. I lit up again in another powerful wave of goosebumps...always a sign of the affirming presence of Spirit.

I released his grasp, and gave him a hug and said, "I love you brother..." and he replied in the same. I told him he can change his life. Walk that path. Noticing his empty dirty Big Gulp cup and a plastic bag with some type of cellophane wrapper, and a slightly disheveled appearance, I pulled out my wallet and grabbed whatever was in there and stuffed it in his hand. He looked incredulously at me and said "Thank you so much...I'm so hungry..."

I smiled and told him to go get something good to eat. He lit up again in a big smile and just said, "Wow, alright. Thank you!" We departed in Aloha and as I turned and walked away, I felt a wave of emotion envelope my body, such humble gratitude for such a beautiful experience and connection. I walked away much enriched for that beautiful exchange. I felt the presence of my Mother as well, and my ancestors. An affirmation of love, kindness, compassion and redemption. Tears fell as I grateful for this beautiful life...

My middle name is Raymond too. Germanic and French in origin. It means "counselor" and "protector." Raymond and I fulfilled our roles for each other tonight. Counseling and protecting each other's Spirit. Let's see what kind of magic tomorrow brings...