The day after quitting my position of National Marketing Representative, Mining Division, Dominion Engineering Works Ltd. of Montreal, on February 1, 1975, I experienced a Spiritual awakening as unexpected and powerful to me as I imagine the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus. I was just turning 30.
Before that Day, I was like most of the population. I never thought of God. I had no need of God and made no room for God in my Life. I had no Christian friends, and except for the Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormon Missionaries knocking on my door, never talked about God.
Seven months later, I had sold all my possessions, and with a backpack on my back, on September 1, 1975, leaving Country, family and friends in my Spiritual wake, headed into the United States to discover the Spirit of ´76.
Three days later I arrived in Trenton N.J., scene of the American Revolutionary War battle of Trenton on Christmas Day, 1776 and where Washington crossed the Delaware.
Leaving the downtown Bus Terminal at 1am, it was eerie to be on dark dreary streets with no moving cars or human life to be seen, all the shops having ugly iron barriers over the windows. I thought, ´Jesus, it looks like a Neutron Bomb was dropped and the wind blew all the dust away.´
The nuclear device called the Neutron Bomb, which American power developed from an idea and turned it into a reality, does not destroy the property, but releases enhanced dirty radiation into the atmospheres so only the People die a slow torturous death, with the loot left intact. These days the media just call it a dirty bomb.
Having no idea where I was going, I walked for blocks until I met a policeman on the beat, the 1st person I saw. Naturally stopping to talk, It eventually came out he was a Morman. While I was attempting to share God and Jesus, it seemed to me he couldn´t get beyond Joseph Smith. While our talk was friendly and civil, not being able to reach common understanding, I asked if he could direct me to a clean, cheap, comfortable Hotel?
Giving me explicit directions he then said, ¨But I wouldn´t go there if I were you.” Asking why not? he answered, ¨It´s right in the nigger district.” I replied that doesn´t bother me, as long as the Hotel is clean, cheap and comfortable and continued on The Way.
Following the directions, there was no human life to be seen as I walked down a very wide Boulevard. Across the street was a City Park that was the whole block, locked, with a high iron fence around it. I was told to turn left at the end of the park and the Hotel was at the end of that block.
From the wide Boulevard I turned onto a very narrow street. The park was on one side, with poor, modest housing facing it. There were trees every five feet on both sides of the street and all the branches joined in the middle. The entire block was a tunnel, with the only light at the end of the tunnel appearing to be far away.
I was about a quarter way through when I heard sound behind me. Turning back, two young Black guys were quickly coming toward me. Stopping in place, as they got closer, I spoke first, saying, ¨I´m glad to see you guys. What´s with this town? Where´s the life? You´re the first people I´ve seen other than one cop on the beat.¨
One guy says, ¨Where you cummin´ from, man? ¨Montreal, Canada. Where you guys going?¨ He replied, “We´re goin´ to get some dynamite weed, man.”
Having long hair, a beard and brand new bright shiny red/orange back pack on my back, they had confidence I was not a narc. I replied, ¨Dynamite weed? Sounds like something I´d love to check out. If that’s True, Brothers, if you want to take me, I’m with you.”
We started walking together through the tunnel and one guy pulled out a joint and firing it up passed it to me. By the third toke, the shades went up, the lights came on, and I was enjoying a real good, strong, friendly buzz with these strangers.
I said, ¨If you´re going to get dynamite weed, what do you call this? I think it´s really good.” He replied, “Hey, man. That´s just cheap commercial shit. What we´re going to get is dynamite!”What could I say but, “Brothers, if that´s True, if you want to take me, I´m with you. I´d love to check that out.”
We walked and talked for blocks. I had no idea where we were going. Turning a corner, I could see at the end of the block, a gang of 20-30 young people were gathered around the corner lamp post. In this part of Trenton white people are rarely seen in daylight, never mind at 2am.
In between talking with my new friends, it took a nanosecond to pray/think to God. ‘Lord, I trust I´m here with your Peace, your Love, your Goodness and your Strength,’ and continued on The Way in confidence and no paranoia.
Arriving at the corner, there was a radio blasting good tunes from a window of the corner house. Taking off my backpack and leaning it against the rickety picket fence, I turned to face the crowd. There was an energy in the atmosphere as I was being peppered with many questions as the joints were connecting from every direction. The scene was cool and casual. I was happy and content being there.
After a long time, one guy suddenly came out of the crowd and standing in front of my face, said, ¨Hey man! I want your backpack. I´m taking it. It belongs to me now.¨
The atmosphere changed instantly, and the people who had been calm and casual up to that point became speedy, nervous and shifty. Instantly I prayed/thought to God, ‘Lord God Jesus! Give me the right words to speak.’
In less than a nanosecond, as if the Sword of God came out of my mouth, in a blast of words I said, ‘Hey man! What´s this bullshit you´re bringing on down here? Can´t you see? Haven´t you got eyes? Didn´t you see me come here with my brothers carrying this back pack on my back? What´s this lie? What´s this lie? you´re trying to make, that my back pack is your back pack?’
The fellow fell back on the blast of words, but recovering, came back on me again with his words. I said, ‘Hey man! I´m from CanaDa. I´m not even from this Country. I came down here to see how the American people live? Are you how the American people live, man? I´ll tell you the Truth by God, if the American people live like you, this Country is going to burn, and burn bad, and fall into the pit.
Falling back from the blast, he recovered and came back at me again. It seemed like an Eternity, but in the back and fourth, I had confidence God in me is stronger than he that is in the world.
When this fellow suddenly changed the scene, I recognized immediately I had to suppress all fear, otherwise not only would I have lost my back pack, I probably would have got a beating as well. Macho words and actions would not have saved me. Nor would it have been wise to use words with the effect of pouring gasoline on the fire. I just held firm to what is right and mine.
Eventually, I thanked God, two Angels appeared out the crowd. Not the people that brought me there, but two other strangers in the group came forward, and pushing my antagonist, said to him, ‘Don´t touch that man and don´t touch his stuff.’ The one guy backed down right away and the scene calmed down. The joints were passed around again as I answered many questions.
Truth, Justice and Goodness transcends race, religion, socio/economic status and educational level.
After a while, the people who brought me there offered to escort me to back to the hotel where they found me. Leaving me at the door, one lad said, ‘Hey you crazy white man! What you doin´ cumin down here stirrin´ everyone up like that for?’
It cost $5 for a clean, comfortable room and getting in bed, I thanked God for being Alive and delivering me from evil.
But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool?
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who SHALL BE heirs of salvation?
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
TODAY is the Day The Lord has made. Let´s Rejoice and be Glad in it.