Red Jewel: An Existential Event

Here is an excerpt from my book “Red Jewel.” Read more about this story through the link above:

“There was one incident that occurred to me about a month before we
left . It had a profound effect on me. It happened just before the New
Year — that week between the holidays — when nothing of importance
is really going on. Red Jewel was berthed on the breakwater, bow in
and facing the shore, the stern secured to some hard point on the stone
breakwater. On one side of me was Skip. On the other was some dude
named Peter of whom I barely knew. He seemed to be out of his depth,
nerdy looking, about thirty I would expect. We never really hit it off as
friends or neighbors. He kept to himself most of the time other than the
odd hello, good morning and small chit chat like that. But one evening
he asked if I would accompany him to a meeting in Waikiki. This I did.
He took me down to a small building located on a short side street
that bore north off of Kalakaua Avenue down in the Waikiki district of
Oahu. There in an upstairs room we met up with about twelve people
all of whom appeared to be close associates of Peter. It turned out that
Peter was a born again Christian and part of the Jesus movement here
in the Hawaiian Islands. This was not surprising to me as the Jesus
movement was huge in the early 1970s. I witnessed it first hand in my
home town of Toronto where many of the young people I knew, many
of whom were juvenile gangsters, petty criminals, drug dealers and users,
converted to the movement and became fanatical in their beliefs and
their personal convictions. They wanted to share their enlightenment
with a non-suspecting audience of their own personal road to Damascus.
There were many a Saturday night in the parking lot of the local pool hall
where I was caught up in their rhetoric and preaching with no escape
route in sight. That is not to say I was not a Christian or a believer. No,
I was just more subtle with my faith. I was not an in-your- face kind of
guy when it came to spirituality and the supernatural. My relationship
with God was a personal one.

Nevertheless, I spent the evening with Peter and his friends singing
Psalms and praising the Lord. I was more of an observer than an active
participant but I did admire their commitment and tried to be seen as
among them as an active colleague of the Lord. I was impressed with
their devotion, especially those young men and women, who were not yet
worldly or experienced in life. Living on blind faith alone brought them
all a sense of peace and wonderment, fulfilment, purpose, happiness.
My only hope for them was that the burden of life, of living, of making
a living would not undermine their contentment and positivity with the
aura of cynicism and despair that life’s burdens can deliver.

Peter and I left the meeting with a renewed sense of self, at least for
him as I had always been a believer. It seemed to me that these people had
to justify their spiritual beliefs, their existential existence in the world
and their faith overtly. The revival meetings became their lifeline from
the real danger of backsliding into a world of pleasure and deception.
It was that world that many of them knew too well and were keenly
frightened of.

We got back to our boats and said goodnight. Nothing more was said.
I fell asleep mindful of the evening events. A sense of peace enveloped
me. I was content. I was out for the count. The next morning Peter stopped me before I could leave for my morning routine of coffee, smokes, and “S” square times two.

“Jim…Jim, I hope you enjoyed the meeting last night. I hope we weren’t
too presumptuous in our faithful exuberance with you.”

“I did Peter…and no you weren’t. Th ank you very much for inviting

“Just one thing Jim” Peter went on, “I had a hard time falling asleep
last night so I came back topside for a short spell to clear my mind,
rationalize my thoughts.”

I nodded to him

“The strangest thing occurred to me Jim. And I hope you don’t feel
ill with me for telling you this as I know how this sounds. But it is the
truth, so help me God.”

He had my undivided interest now.

“Yeah, go on”

“While I was sitting there in reflection of the night’s events, a vision
enveloped my senses. It came over me, smothered me with warmth but
more importantly it came over Red Jewel. There in the pulpit of your
sailboat sat an angel. It, or she, or he was resplendent in white: a brilliance
of righteousness with an aura of holiness. It was a guardian angel Jim. I
know how this sounds but I swear it to be the truth. I had to tell you.”

“Really?” was about all I could say.

“I know…I know…I know Jim. I know this sounds crazy but it
happened. As God is my witness. He paused for a brief moment to collect
his thoughts and then continued. “Then the angel looked directly at me
Jim, and smiled, and then looked over your boat. It spread its wings out
and then in as if to signal to all of the world…to me…protection. Don’t
you see Jim? You and Nigel have nothing to worry about, Red Jewel has
the protection of the Lord. You will be safe.”

I didn’t know what to say to Peter. All I could do was offer a grin of
questionable understanding. It was an uncomfortable moment: for Peter
to tell me this and for me to acknowledge his supernatural experience.

“Thanks for that Peter. It is reassuring for sure.”

I looked forward to the pulpit. Th ere was nothing there but the
stainless-steel guardrails and the boats beyond the bow. Nevertheless, I
smiled, and nodded my head to whoever may be there, unseen, except in
the spiritual domain.

A sense of security came over me and I felt extremely happy.

We need another one…for sure.

I mentioned Al Stewart in my last post’s music segment. Here is his perfect song. Perfect in that the lyrics are poetic and lyrical and it has piano, strings, acoustic and electric guitar and a haunting sax. Enjoy:

“She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running like a water color in the rain…”

Pray for Maui and Lahaina.


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