There are old friends waiting,
and I come with you
to call them to Myself
Stepping out of the waiting area at the airport gate, I am hit by the sweet, delicious fragrances of Maui, the heart-island. Closing my eyes, I drink deeply with my breath this intoxicating scent. It’s enough to bring a touch of tears to my eyes. Is it okay to consider an island your most precious of loves?
I step onto the escalator that takes me down toward baggage claim, then it will be onto the rental car bus, and then, and then, what? Why have I come here, really?
I am a patient sitting in the waiting room of the Grand Cosmic Doctor. My symptoms?
Hearing the voice of Jeshua.
Being shown images of events that haven’t occurred.
Feeling compelled from a place in me that is beyond me to follow an unseen trail through a territory I never knew existed until I found myself in it!
Is there a pill for this?
Hunger! Thank God! I can always count on my appetite to serve as a needed distraction! There’s a great little health food store not far from the airport, in Wailuku, called Down to Earth. And I could use a little of that!
Having paid for my salad and carrot juice, I turn to head out the door, when my eyes catch a stack of magazines at the end of the counter. It looks like some sort of local thing, so I throw it into my bag, and head, where else? To the beach!
The sand is hot beneath my feet, and even the sound of the gentle surf rolling onto the shore seems soft. In fact, the whole island of Maui feels soft; as soft as velvet.
Having cleverly put on my swimming suit just before landing, I kick off my shorts, peel off my shirt, and run into into the warm tropical ocean waters. I open my eyes to the sting of salt water, delighting in the endless visibility. Ribbons of sunlight dance downward toward a sandy bottom further and further away from me as I swim out, and out, out into this incredible, healing ocean.
Relaxing on my back, arms outstretched, I bob in the gentle, lapping waves one hundred yards offshore, gazing at dancing wisps of clouds in an enless blue sky. I can’t contain a long, loud scream. This time, of utter ecstasy! At just that moment, my hunger returns with a vengeance. Turning over in the water, I look toward the distant shore, and beyond to majestic Haleakala, house of the sun, the mountain that really is East Maui, at whose sandy feet I will rest, and eat.
Gulping down the last of my carrot juice, my eyes rest on the thin magazine I picked up at the store. I start to absentmindedly thumb through it, occasionally noticing a short article here, ads for things like yoga, sufi dancing, and what-have-you. I am more than a little distracted from reading by a couple of remarkably attractive bikini-clad women baking in the sun, thankfully not all that far from me.
Sparkling, warm ocean to swim in. Great food. Jungles, waterfalls, hidden pools, and an extinct volcano. And bikinis. No wonder they call Hawaii ‘paradise’.
“I could definitely live here,” I mutter, forcing my eyes back to the magazine. “Maybe someday.”
At just that moment I am drawn to a small ad at the base of the page. It’s really the face I am drawn to, but why? What is this sudden jolt of energy in my spine? It isn’t anyone I know, but I somehow know I need to know her. Next to her picture are simple words:
‘Sara Patton. Wordsmith. Manuscript preparation, friendly support for authors.’
In less than ten minutes, I have completed my call to her from a phone booth, and my appointment is set for tomorrow. I just know Sara will be the one to shape The Jeshua Letters into form. And I haven’t even made it to my condominium yet!
Sara is entirely focussed as she reads through page after page. I can’t notice anything that tells me if she likes it or not. She turns pages a bit faster, so maybe she is losing interest. I’m sure that must be it. I knew it. This was just my fanciful mind playing tricks on me, again.
She stops on the last page. It’s taking her way too long as I watch her eyes follow each line, then again, and yet again. The silence is palpable.
Finally, she looks up at me. Still reading, but not the manuscript.
“I would be honored to help you prepare this.”
Did she really say that?
“You have had quite an experience. Is it still going on?” She closes the binder, and turns to place it on her desk. I recognize it is no longer in my hands. But then, was it ever?
“Well,” I stammer a bit. “I mean, the manuscript is done, almost, but, no, I have a feeling things are just getting started.”
Her warm smile relaxes me.
“It’s okay. I work a lot with spiritually-based authors, so I can understand something about how this must be for you. But don’t worry. If He chose you for this, He will handle things for you.”
She seems nonchalant, matteroffact, and reassuring, all at the same time.
“In fact, I know who would love this, and it would be wonderful because maybe he would provide an endorsement for you!”
“Who are you talking about?” I ask her.
“Oh! Sorry, I just got really excited for some reason. Alan Cohen. Do you know his work? He lives right here on Maui. It would be easy to get him a copy of this!”
I can’t help it. I start laughing a nervous laugh, and finally tell Sara about the ‘prophecy’ Jeshua had given me concerning Alan, this stranger I have never met, but – through Sara – will soon be reading The Jeshua Letters.
“Well, you see? Just as I said! If He chose you to bring this through, it looks like He is already a step ahead of you!”
Or, maybe a thousand. I wonder if I will ever catch up. I used to think my salvation was in becoming a know-it-all. But it is beginning to feel like the real direction is in becoming a trust-it-all!
My meeting ends with my signature on a contract, and Sarah’s promise to get to work immediately. She will get the manuscript to Alan within the week, but just as I am leaving, she decides to give me his phone number.
“It feels like it would be best for you to call him, first.”
And with that I leave Sara Patton, wordsmith, and drive away from her apartment in Maalaea, back along the road that runs next to Sugar Beach, back toward my condo in paradise, and toward something I am beginning to dread.
Soon, I will be calling a perfect stranger, and saying something like,
“Hi, there. You don’t know me from Adam, but I have this manscript. What’s it about? Well, does the name ‘Jeshua’ mean anything to you? No? I didn’t think so.”
Egad! I have to tell a perfect stranger about this. It was one thing to let Sara read the manuscript. At least that gave me some distance! But now, I have to ‘cold-call’ a stranger, and ‘fess up! Boy, do I need to take a nice, long swim. How far is it back to Tacoma, anyway?
“Aloha! This is Alan!”
The voice is gentle, open, enthusiastic. And he doesn’t even know who is calling yet. God, do even the people living here take on this soft Maui quality? Somehow, I stammer through introducing myself, letting Alan know Sara has referred me to him.
“Well, if Sara likes it, it must be good. She does great work, you know. You have been dropped into good hands!”
I wonder if he’ll say that after I tell him by Whom! I begin to blurt it out. All of it. When done, I stop, and listen to my heart beating fast in the otherwise silent interlude.
In my mind’s eye, I abruptly see an image of Alan, his eyes closed, as if praying about what I have told him. I also see Jeshua, standing near him, smiling at me. At just that moment, the inner image disappears, replaced by Alan’s voice.
“Forgive me, but I felt the need to close my eyes and tune in to Spirit.”
My mental image was a coincidence, I’m sure.
“Your manuscript feels good to me,” he continues. “I would be happy to read it.”
“Sure! I’ll give Sara a call, and she can send over a copy to me. How long will you be on Maui?”
He’s actually going to read it! “Uh, only another week. Unless, of course, I move here.”
Move here! Of course! I mean, it’s not like I have a job to get back to! Wow!
Alan laughs. “She’s stealing your heart already, isn’t she?”
“Mother Maui! Somebody has to say ‘yes’ to their joy. Might as well join us!”
Saying ‘yes’ to joy? Really? Fully? Is that okay? Does it actually work?
My talk with Alan ends. I just couldn’t quite bring myself to tell him one little piece. The bit about Jeshua saying he would write a foreword for the book. I mean, this is our first ‘date’, after all!
After hanging up the phone, I walk outside and sit on the grass. It’s nearing sunset time. The tradewinds are slacking off to a gentle caress. The sun is deliciously, almost erotically, exquisite on my face and arms. A cardinal lands on the grass, eyeing me for a bite of something.
“Sorry, friend. I have nothing to give you, unless you would happen to like some interesting bedtime reading!”
I show him my empty hands, he tilts his little head from side to side a few times, then flies off. The light is beginning to turn golden, like liquid gold shaping into rivulets as the sun nestles down behind the edge of the island of Lanai out on the horizon.
I look around….Maui. Live here, in all this beauty? Me? It dawns on me I can be broke here as easily as anywhere. And, after all, there is someone working on the manuscript. Maybe I ought to trust that. Yes! That is exactly what I am going to do!
Suddenly, as I look up at the stars, then the looming curve of Haleakala, and breathe in those amazing sweet scents, Mother Maui is seeming more and more like home.
Who am I kidding here, I think to myself. It felt like home the first time I came here back in 1973. The year I began meditation practice. Where I met my first Zen master. Maui is the comfortable pair of jeans I put in the closet and forgot about Why did I do that? Why wasn’t I willing – or able – to let myself be where I love to be the most?
That thought strikes me hard. It is like a symbol of far deeper things, isn’t it? After all, what has kept me all these years, all these lifetimes revealing themselves like fragments of a forgotten dream since Jeshua’s appearance; what has kept me from opening to really receive the heart and soul of the Truth so obvious in His words? I have to know, to really and fully know, what that is all about! Not just for me, for all souls. Just what keeps the world spinning around as it does? What keeps suffering in place, like a broken record?
And in the snap of a finger, one key moment of my life explodes into awareness:
Vietnam. I am eighteen. The firefight was horrific, sudden, deadly for too many. Now I stand digging yet another foxho lein yet another unknown spot in a never-ending jungle in the central highlands. Looking up, I am transfixed by the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. Such beauty! Is it the shocking contrast of beauty and pain that does it? For I am being stretched to infinity, until the sunset is in me as much as I was just a moment ago looking at it. There is no end to me, all things are within me, and I pervade all things. Then, as suddenly as it began, I am again standing with shovel in hand. I notice it is dark. At least an hour must have passed! Why did no one disturb me? Awareness of the night, and the jungle sounds I have learned to hear so acutely in service to survival, returns. I jump down into my foxhole and look up at the few stars I can see through the canopy.
“What the hell was that? God, if there is such a thing, I have to know what that was! And, and what is this; this insanity in the world, and this beauty, what the hell is going on, really? I have to know! Tell me, dammit!”
There is no reply and, in time, I am again a soldier in heigtened alert against the danger out there, hidden in the jungle. A mosquito brings me back to the present. With a slap, I realize it just had its last moment of life. I’d forgotten that moment in Vietnam. It got buried under the deluge of the rest of that year, and of years since then.
Maui is resting into the coming night, but the air is still so soft and sweet. Such beauty! I leap up to my feet.
“Well, that’s that! It’s cold in Tacoma! Hey, Mother Maui! Meet your newest resident!”
Opening the screen door to go inside, one simple thought arises:
Perhaps my soldier’s prayer was heard, and – for Christ’s sake – just maybe all of this, every moment since that night has all been part of the unfolding of the Answer.
It isn’t just a thought in my head. It resounds from head to toe.
“Damn,” I utter.
Undressing and laying on the bed – with no need to close windows or pull up the covers – I simply rest, feeling my breath rise and fall, learning bit-by-bit to be present with it as Jeshua has been instructing me, feeling it enter, not just into my lungs, but oozing in through every pour, streaming out as every tension dissolves into Light.
Remember, my brother, to let God’s love breathe you.
Perhaps one day I will know what that really means. I no longer trust my intellect’s understanding, the one thing I had always banked on! Perhaps He is right. On the road of a genuine spirituality, maybe there really is nothing to be gained. Only everything mistakenly accumulated to be lost, leaving room only for the Reality of God.
What would it mean, really, to submit to such a journey that many would think insane? Holding hands is one thing, making love another, but really surrendering to be ravished, to be utterly taken, well, that is another thing entirely. It feels like I have been invited to a party I grow more wary of, the closer I get, no matter how inviting the music!
I roll over on my stomach, eyes falling on the branches of night-blooming jasmine prancing gently in the breeze. If only I could surrender as easily as it seems to, to breezes unseen! It certainly doesn’t seem to contract in fear, or wallow in complaints and confusion, nor demand how the breeze tosses it! It just seems to enjoy the dance.
I close my eyes. Right now, there is nothing to do. I live here now, and have no plan. Funny, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Kendra will be surprised, but maybe not! There is nothing to do but get to know Maui better.
My attention turns toward Him, that ancient Friend out there in the ethers of reality, unseen by the eyes of the body, but not missed by the eyes of the heart:
Jeshua, if you want the book published, you are gonna have to do it yourself. I could make it happen, but what would that prove? I refuse to make anything happen with this! In fact, if you are who you say you are, you are going to have to prove it, and I mean, shatter every last doubt I have!
The energy of that thought is so strong it makes me sit up on the edge of the bed. “Whew, where did that come from?” I wonder.
I make my way to the shower, and stand beneath slightly cool waters, tumbling from forehead down across closed eyes, streaming to the drain at my feet. There’s a strange feeling deep down in my belly, almost to my pubic bone. It’s new, like I have just discovered some subtle room in my house I didn’t know was there. How odd!
An image appears. It’s a large trap door in a wooden floor. It appears right where the strange feeling is occurring. This time, I manage not to move away from it, but into it, putting into practice what He has been teaching me. To feel into the edge of resistance. He has said someday I will know that doing so is to be the presence of Love itself.
A soft whisper emerges from me: “I will trust you, Jeshua. All the way. There is no other way left now. No turning back to familiar ground. There is only one way to ever know what this strange, new territory with you is really all about.”
The trap door opens, and the strange feeling increases. I feel like I am falling, or opening, or, well, I am not sure. My whole body feels different. Whatever the trap door has opened me to, now feels to be everywhere, in every cell. And the streaming water feels so wondrous!
His voice startles me. It comes from behind me, and I would swear I can feel the presence of Him standing behind me. But I don’t turn to look.
Very well, My brother.
For this have I waited patiently longer
than you currently know.
There is much to set in place,
and we now commence
our chosen Work together.
Your only role is to allow Me to lead this,
until our purpose is completed.
Doubt will come, and go, and rise again.
Strive only to remember this moment,
and you will not again be defeated
as in an ancient past.
return to your Tacoma.
There are old friends waiting,
and I come with you to call them
to Myself yet again.
For the time is at hand.
All things will come to be remembered by you,
in due time.
Let your ancient faith in Me be restored,
and trusted until My promise to you is fulfilled,
and you are fully returned into the Father.
Trust, beloved brother, the love for Me you have
allowed to be rekindled.
Nothing else need be done, but this.
An invisible field of energy seems to release me. I turn off the shower, and return to the bed, where I lay quietly stunned for some time.
I think I have started a new job, but don’t remember when I signed the contract! And I think union benefits are out of the question. But, for now, at least, the resistance is gone.
“So much for living on Maui.” With that, I roll over, into a very deep, deep sleep.
My shock has exploded loudly, causing passersby in the airport corridor to turn and look, and the elderly lady at the phone next to me has dropped her coins in her coffee!
“Sorry, ma’am,” I mutter apologetically. She moves to a different phone.
“Kendra, run that by me again. You say you gave the manuscript away? To a stranger?”
Kendra recounts her story, interrupted by my groans. Sighing, I try to shrug it off.
“Well, what’s done is done. No, it’s, it’s okay. Guess if I am gonna do this trust thing. I don’t get to pick and choose. Hey, my flights about to board. Yeah, bye.”
We hang up and I saunter, slowly, toward my gate, half muttering to myself.
Kendra has handed my manusript to a perfect stranger, saying only she felt a strong impulse to do so. No idea who, much less, why.
As I make my way onto the plane, the one that is carrying me away from this island I love and back to winter’s cold in Tacoma simply because some part of me is choosing to heed a voice that comes from a being I can’t even see. I recall watching episodes of Star Trek where they would suddenly lose control of the Enterprise, then a voice would boom over their speakers:
‘You have entered the land of the Borgs. We are in complete control of your ship. Resistance is futile.’
Captain Kirk, I think I know how you must feel. Good bye, Maui.