This morning was a Beautiful morning of sharing, learning and absorbing. A gathering of many centered around preserving history and historic places, including the bodies of our collective 'ohana and ancestors. I reconnected with so many Beautiful friends, many whom I haven't seen in ages due to the relentless survival mode of this modern Life. I also met many Beautiful new friends and family. Humbly grateful to be present.
I left overflowing with humility, gratitude and Love. I had learned to simply trust in the messages from Ke Akua and the ancestors when speaking in public. Just to be a conduit. I take no credit for the 'ike shared. Often apprehensive and nervous about what will flow through my mouth, but it was my late Beautiful Mother, who four months after she passed, who told me to listen and trust in my inner voice, my guttural instincts, my visceral na'au.
As I walked home, visiting our Queen and taking in the Beautiful mid-day Sunshine, I was thinking about the 'ike that came through, about "He lani kō luna, he honua kō lalo." Heaven above. Earth below. When looking at our historic and cultural sites and landscapes. Not just how the alignments and placement of many sites mirrored what was happening up in the Heavens. But the lessons of caring for our past, and how it can help us not only care for our Future, but to care for each other. For Humanity. Especially in these times of crisis. I had to process that for quite awhile. I learn from what flows just as much as anyone listening on the other end.
I was halfway through my sondering and wandering stroll home, when I looked up and saw, whom I affectionately call, John the Baptist. My African-American friend who has been living on the street for many years, but whom came into my life relatively recently through two other profound encounters.
He was seated peacefully, under the shade of a giant Shower Tree, on King Street, much like Buddha and his own Bodhi Tree. He sat on a small blanket, with books open and strewn about, writing in his notebook indiscernible musings.
I quickly and discreetly searched through my wallet, grabbed bills and put them in my shirt pocket before I came into his field of view. I was almost on top of him before he looked up and noticed me, having been intently focused on his writings.
He smiled. I smiled and said, "Aloha brother John!"
He said, "I remember you...you look different."
I said, "Different? How? Last time I saw you, night was falling already..." with a grin on my face.
He said, "You look like the Holy Spirit is Present in you. I can see it brother."
A wave of chicken skin erupted along my arms. I hadn't intended this to be any other encounter but a short health and welfare check, and to share a little Blessing with him to allow him to acquire food or drink for his day ahead.
I immediately pulled the bills out of my pocket and handed it to him. He hesitated ever so slightly, then reached up and took the money. He said, "Thank you brother. May you continued to be Blessed in this Life."
"I am so very humbly Blessed brother John" I said, for all the Beautiful People in my Life, including you."
He looked down and then back up with a Beautiful Radiant Smile on his weathered face, and teary-eyes.
"Can I share something with you?"
"Always brother." I answered.
He searched around his blanket, through the books strewn about, and chose one, opening it up, and flipping through pages back and forth until he landed on his choice. He started to read to me.
"Romans 8, 28" he said as he began to read. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
He began flipping pages and searching again. I was standing there hunched over and realized that John deserved a better listener, and slowly sat down on the grass next to him. It was anything but a graceful descent as my body was stiff. I knew getting back up would even less graceful but I would worry about that later.
"Romans 8, Life Through the Spirit..." he continued intently, his worn finger underscoring the printed words, as he slowly read them aloud to me. The traffic noise and wind through the trees, and all ambient city noise seemed to suddenly abate, and in the new found silence, his soft voice continued to speak.
"Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I sat there in silence, trying to process this man and his messages for me. As he spoke, I observed his face and the deep lines. His teeth were remarkably clean for life on the street. His toenails and fingernails too. His overall appearance was rough and weathered, but in the small details, he took care of himself very well. His eyes scanned the words, as he read, and them I saw a horrible painful past, and generations of suffering in his family, contributing to his current situation.
John broke my silence of thought, at the end of his reading, and looked me in the eye, stating, "People think I suffer out here. But my suffering is nothing compared to so many others. There are oppressed people in every country. Slaves as well. Not of just one race or color. All races and colors. People enslaved by their own people. Each conquering army in history enslaves the conquered."
"There is so much truth in that brother John" I responded.
Today, men, women and children are held captive, are sexually abused, tortured..."
I put my head down in saddened concurrence as he continued. "There is great suffering around the World caused by those of the flesh. Not of the Spirit. I pray for these victims each day, all day."
"Thank you brother John" I said, adding, "I too shall Pray for them as well."
"Where two of more are gathered..." he added.
I thanked him for his sharing and let him know that I had to start back on my Journey home. He smiled as said, "Thank you for your time." I said, "No, thank you...truly..."
I was just about to begin the arduous process of getting back up on my feet and off the grass, when he said, "Can I ask you one more favor?"
"Of course" I said.
"Can you read this passage of the Bible to me? I can't read that well, nor see clearly, so if you could read this to me..." he asked, as he handed me the Book opened to Zechariah 14.
"The Lord Comes and Reigns." I announced to John the Baptist, the birds, the trees and the winds.
I continued on reading, as John sat silently, taking it all in, reflecting, maybe even memorizing the passages as I spoke of the Day of the Lord coming. Of Christ standing on the Mount of Olives to begin the Battle against evil, greed, and the suffering of the innocents. About the living water, Ka Wai Ola a Kāne, flowing out from Jerusalem.
It was surreal. I was reminded of my paternal grandfather, and my maternal great-grandfather, who were both Ministers of Churches. I am not a church attending person, I live in the Church of God each day and moment all around me.
I sat there, reading aloud, in my strongest and clearest voice, as people passed us on the sidewalk. As police cars exited the police station next to us to merge on to King Street. A curious sight indeed to all. Who was ministering and preaching to whom. I no longer could discern the difference in that Bright Beautiful Moment under the Canopy of Leaves and Streaming Sunlight, lighting up John's face as he listened intently.
Thus it ended as I concluded the passage he wanted, "The Lord will be King over the Whole Earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and His Name the Only Name."
We sat there in silence, then John looked at me and said, "Thank you brother. I know you must go and continue your Journey. Thank you for the time spent with me."
I struggled to get up and when I was finally upright, I began brushing the leaves, grass and twigs off of my shirt and pants. I smiled and looked at John and said, "Thank you brother for your time spent with me." as I extended my hand and pulled him up. We shook hands an embraced. "Love you brother John. You take care of yourself. I shall see you again soon."
"Love you brother. Thank you. See you soon."
I continued my Journey Home, stopping by the giant statue of Kamehameha the III, Kauikeaouli. I gave him my lei from the morning's events and expressed my Love to him and to his birth Mother, Kaomileika'ahumanu. I looked up at his giant face and exclaimed, "You are Awesome!" before breaking out into chuckles at how nerdy that sounded.
I have learned lessons from Buddha. I have learned lessons of Healing, Redemption and Forgiveness from Kāne and Kamohoali'i. From Hi'iakaikapolioPele and the mo'o Hauwahine. From Ka'ahumanu and Kaomileika'ahumanu. From Kanaloa and Pa'ao. Even from Kamapua'a, all from Blessed interactions in recent years, with these deities and ancestors, by gifted friends.
However, Christ, is and shall remain, my Greatest Teacher.
The concluding message from this morning's workshop and sharing came through clearly from the Ancestors and Guides. In a World facing so many challenges. So much Fear. So much Uncertainty. So much Suffering.
Mālama Kekahi i Kekahi.
Kāko'o Kekahi i Kekahi.
Aloha Kekahi i Kekahi.
Care and Protect One Another.
Help One Another.
Love One Another.
Mahalo Ke Akua. Mahalo John the Baptist...