The Screen Door Rip
Less than a year into fundraising, I was out one Sunday going house to house. I focused on loving the people I met and steadily advanced, moving through the neighborhood. As the day progressed, I noticed that my result was low. I wondered if I was being TOO loving. Should I be more aggressive? Should I push the people a bit? I was thinking about these things as I waited outside one house. When I knocked, the person had said through a crack in the door, “I don't want to buy anything”. So I asked for a donation. Now I was thinking these thoughts as I waited for her to return. When she did come back, she slipped a small coin purse through a rip in the screen. “Keep the purse,” she said, then added, “It’s a tithe I would have given to my church.” I walked a short distance away, then opened the purse. There was more than $60.00 in it. I felt that this was confirmation: I should continue loving the people sincerely rather than trying to push them to buy.
To Defeat with Unselfishness
As mentioned earlier, I spent the majority of my childhood/youth mired in depression. My first five years on MFT were an opportunity to overcome the many bad habits I had developed that often drew me into a quagmire of negative thoughts and emotions. Satan and evil spirits have a most powerful weapon; secrecy. People think the evil thoughts in their head are their own.
Every day when I fundraised, I had to break through in prayer before I could even approach the first person. Evil spirits surrounded me and figuratively bashed me over the head with accusations. “You're no good... You’ll never amount to anything.... You'll never be God’s true daughter”, etc. The accusations would continue ad nauseam, until I finally accepted as fact that I was unsalvageable. But, I would continue, even if I cannot save myself, I can help other people. (By buying my product, people are contributing to God’s will and God can draw them closer.) Once my attention was no longer centered on myself, the evil spirits no longer had power over me. They stood by dumbfounded, not knowing how to continue tormenting me and finally left as failures. I joyfully went out fundraising and remained upbeat- that is, until I got into the van and was dropped off again. Then I had to do the whole thing over again...and at night after the last drop off, I had to fight the same internal battles AGAIN!
One night I said to Heavenly Father, “If this battle everyday is to save my life it’s not worth it to me. It is so miserable to do this over and over and over again. If it is only for me, I would rather just die. But if it can help someone else- future generations or other people walking this same path- then I can continue. This struggle has to have a bigger purpose than just me.” I did not die. And I knew then (and now) that I could not take my own life. I had no other option but to continue on. Talking to God was reassuring; I knew I was not alone. Eventually I only needed one breakthrough prayer a day.
The promise and the command
Another night, after being dropped off for an evening ‘run’, I walked behind a bank so as not to be seen from the street. Pacing back and forth, I sang the holy song, “Oh, My Little Lambs” over and over and over again. There is so much Divine Principle in this song. The song begins with a person overcome by despair and alone. Next, Christ walks by, carrying a cross- he is the one you’ve been looking for; follow him! The third verse: You may face severe difficulties, but receive him wholeheartedly. And the beautiful promise: you shall be healed. heavenly strength will fill your soul. And deep boundless joy will swell within you eternally. Oh, what a beautiful promise. The last verse: Now is the time to have a joyful heart. [don’t wait until you’ve already been healed.] Go out and love all mankind. Love everyone throughout the world. Give them the love that I give you, O. my little lambs.
Even just writing this uplifts my heart/mind. Thank you, thank you, thank you, dear brother or sister who wrote these words.
180 degrees opposite
True Father once said, “If you made low result, be grateful that you could pay indemnity. If you made high result, repent. Your ancestors were helping you and perhaps you could have done more.” I find it amazing that True Father often thinks in the exact opposite way that average people do.
A Child’s Cool Hand
Our fundraising team rarely took time off, but one night we were allowed to go to the movies. Everyone was excited, however we could not agree on what to watch. The captain decided on ‘The Deer Hunter’ which had good reviews in the newspaper. The movie centers around a group of young men- friends- from a blue collar community in rural Pennsylvania. They go to serve in the Vietnam War and all are traumatized by the violence; one man becomes addicted to drugs and plays Russian Roulette in a Vietnamese gambling den, ultimately killing himself. We came out of the movie numb, stunned by the brutality, inhumanity and suicide. When we got into the van the captain said, “Ok we’ve got to lift our spirits; let’s sing a holy song.”. I hoped he wouldn’t choose some upbeat marching-type song, but he did- “We are the Youth, Soldiers of the Truth”. Because unity is the rule of the day, I united (reluctantly). As I sang, I had the image of God -as a grandfather- lying in bed, sick and feverish. Singing the holy song was akin to a child putting his/her small cool hand on God’s forehead to comfort Him. Perhaps because I united against my will, I received this gift- to learn that the power of singing a holy song was a sweet, much appreciated gesture of love and comfort to God.
Filling a vacuum
Once, after the team had shared lunch in the van, our captain asked me to offer a prayer before we started to fundraise again. In my prayer, I empathized with God’s sorrowful heart and promised we would comfort Him with our sincere effort. Afterwards, the captain was livid. “What kind of prayer was that?!” he yelled indignantly. “That was like a prayer over a meal, not one for fundraising!” He dropped me off angrily - and never asked me to pray a representative prayer again.
A person’s prayer is often their most sincere and vulnerable time- communicating with God. It was for me; I felt numb from his verbal attack as though I had been brutally flattened by a bulldozer. I sat under a tree for a long time trying to recover. Since I focus on loving the people when I fundraise, I wondered how I could possibly love them at this moment when I felt so crushed and empty. Nevertheless, I needed to start somehow. I forced myself to get up, walk up to the first door, open my mouth and introduce myself. Since I was devoid of energy and emotion, I had no expectations. But an amazing thing happened; I felt God’s love pour down from above my head; pour down into me, through my mouth and outward to love this person with my words. It was a vivid, substantial sensation.
From this experience, I know absolutely that if we have nothing left to give, but we still make effort, God will love through us. If I understood physics, I might be able to explain as True Father does, in terms of low pressure and high pressure areas and the universe seeking to restore the correct balance, but I am not confident to express myself in those terms. Surely, it was an unforgettable experience.
If you’ve never had a spiritual experience, you might find this one hard to fathom. I am still amazed by it almost fifty years after the fact.
Pennsylvania, where I grew up, has four distinct seasons. Here in CA there is only one- sunny. I was fundraising during Christmas time and I had a cold. The holiday season was oddly warm and unfamiliar. Since I was feeling sluggish I decided, uncharacteristically, to stop and have some chicken soup. I sat at a table, ordered and, while waiting, caught bits and pieces of conversations around me: negative gossip, complaints- it felt uncomfortable. When my soup arrived, I bowed my head and prayed, thanking God for the food and asking Him to join me.
When I opened my eyes: Heavenly Father (as a grandfather) was sitting at the table across from me with True Parents sitting to His right. I was shocked. I hadn’t asked True Parents to come! I wouldn’t have because I knew they were busy every day with worldwide responsibilities. I felt self conscious with them sitting here. In addition, Heavenly Father was crying. I thought to myself, how can I eat when Heavenly Father is crying? Although I didn’t say it aloud, He Immediately wiped His tears away and put on a pleasant face so that I would be more comfortable. I acknowledged his thoughtfulness non-verbally and began to eat, my eyes glued to my bowl.
I could see True Parents in my peripheral vision but I was too embarrassed to look up. They sat calmly, not visibly disturbed to have been summoned to my table. They didn’t say anything. They didn’t look at their watches impatiently. I knew that I could have asked them anything and they would have answered me, but I didn’t. I just felt the urgent need to eat as quickly as I could so that they could return to their work.
I finished my soup. Then I got up and bowed slightly, respectfully, to Heavenly Father and True Parents, thanking them for joining me. I grabbed my product, turned and left.
Once out on the street, I could breathe more easily. I wondered: Why didn’t True Parents say anything. Why didn't they scold me, like: “Why aren’t you out fundraising?!” I pondered this. At last, I decided it must be because they trusted me; they knew I was working hard. That is the only answer that made sense. When I finally accepted this as the reason, it was gently and warmly self-affirming.
True Mother Walks with Me
One night the captain dropped me off for a bar run. It was probably 9 or 10 PM and I would stay out until 1 or 2 AM. The captain explained which way to go and where he would pick me up, then drove off. He had dropped me off in a quiet residential area not too from the main street so as not to draw attention. After he left, I just stood there a while; I was so tired. I knew that if I sat down it would be all over. So no matter what, I told myself: I MUST NOT SIT DOWN! I resisted that urge for a while-successfully- but then I could not remember which way I was supposed to walk to get to my area. My mind was in an impenetrable fog. How long did I stand there, not moving? Time belonged to a dimension just beyond my grasp.
Suddenly, True Father walked right past me. Down the street. To my right. That must be the way I’m supposed to go, I thought, but my legs did not move. True Father was already at the next block. “Wow! That’s True Father”, I said to myself. “You’re having a spiritual experience.” But my feet remained frozen to the spot. I continued watching as True Father continued moving. “I’ll never catch up to him.” I surmised…still imprisoned in a daze.
Then True Mother came up to me and gently took my left hand in hers. She coaxed me to take a step. First, one. Then another. Then I was walking, True Mother beside me, slowing in the direction True Father had gone. We reached the intersection; then both were gone, having accomplished what they came for.
I finished my bar run and made it to my pick up point. I also thought a lot about True Mother, when I was able to think clearly again. True Mother’s course is more complex than I thought. While True Father is dashing forward, True Mother must encourage the children to keep up, to go in the same direction, constantly, gently encouraging, coaxing. In some ways, True Mother’s course may be even more difficult.
The Last Hour of the Day
I cannot count the many times that my entire result came in the last hour of my run. One memorable Saturday, my goal was $400. It was sometime after 1 AM when I entered a Chinese restaurant. The staff told me to return later; the owner would be back soon. (I was selling oak- framed pictures.) At 2 AM, I returned to find the front door locked. I went around back and found the owner getting into his car. He asked me to return tomorrow, but I told him we would not be in the area. Reluctantly, but succumbing to my pressure, he reopened his restaurant and invited me in. I set up my pictures and he bought $400.00 worth. I hadn’t sold a thing all day even though I was giving my best effort.
This happened so many times I began to wonder if God was trying to teach me something bigger than just an MFT lesson. One obvious lesson is to never give up; I had to invest consistently and sincerely until the very last possible moment. Jesus encouraged his disciples to “endure to the end.” I think that the Kingdom of Heaven may happen in a similar manner as my MFT result, at the last moment, sprouting up like Spring flowers overnight. We must never tire of giving, never lose faith, thinking that our effort was useless. God sees everything, knows everything. All sincere efforts are accumulating. Therefore the key is our constant heart, investing with a sincere heart.
One night, before going to bed, the commander had us all gather in the prayer room and asked us just to say, “Heavenly Father” as our prayer. I quickly broke through; I could feel God’s heart so close and cried deeply. The next morning, I decided to try the same thing before I started fundraising. I was hoping for a quick and ‘easy’ response from God. But that did not happen. I called “Heavenly Father” over and over, one hundred times, one thousand times. Why was He not answering me? Why was he not responding? My calling became more desperate. Then I found Heavenly Father lying unconscious on the ground. I was distraught, even panicking. “Why is He lying like this? What happened?” My heart was racing, my thoughts convoluted, bouncing around wildly in my head. I continued to call Him: “Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father….Heavenly Father.” ...hoping that my calling would revive Him, but there was no movement. His blood was not circulating well; He was cold. I looked around, found a blanket and pulled it over Him, wanting to bring warmth to Him as I continued to call ever more frantically. Neither the blanket nor my pleading had any impact.
Suddenly, True Father appeared. He knelt down by Heavenly Father’s head and gently placed it in his lap. Immediately faint color began to return to Heavenly Father’s face, although he still did not open His eyes or stir. I could just tell that His blood was circulating again.
I was amazed. Nothing I did brought any relief or change to Heavenly Father, but all True Father had to do was touch Him.
I realized that all this time since I had joined the Movement (about 1 ½ years), I was trying to relate to Heavenly Father on my own, which is a very Jewish approach (like Abraham, Moses), but it isTrue Father who is in the position to revive Heavenly Father. I must unite with him if I really want to help Heavenly Father. The second I realized that, True Father gave me a strong direction in Korean- probably to run and get some medicine. I jumped up and ran...in this alternate reality- the dimension where spiritual visions occur. As I descended back to the physical plane, I had a profound, deeper respect for True Father.
Do you know other people who are spiritually open? Chances are they lack some essential ‘common sense’ or valuable aspects of social etiquette.
I heard that some brothers and sisters raised money by singing in bars. I decided to try that. Next time I went into a bar selling roses and no one wanted to buy anything, I asked the bartender if I could sing a song. “Suit yourself” the easy-going bartender responded. I sang, “Oh, My Little Lambs”, a song only suited for church service- for worship not entertainment. The few customers at the bar groaned, said goodnight to the bartender and left, The bartender was aggravated that I caused his customers to leave. I realized too late that this wasn’t the best choice of songs.
This is just one example of my poor social skills, my frequent cluelessness. Spiritually- open people receive a lot of information that others don’t, but they often miss what is obvious to everyone else.
After my snafu, I tried singing again. This time I sang ‘The Rose’ (made famous by Bette Midler) and won a $50 prize. Three times during my MFT career, after I sang in a bar or lounge, I had strangers run up and beg to be my agent, to promote my singing.
Years later while living in Boston, I was again fundraising but to support my family- selling roses in bars on the weekend. One particular bar had a piano and occasional performers, so each time I came by they let me sing. I know many songs from musicals: Sound of Music; Carousel; Oklahoma; My Fair Lady; South Pacific, Fiddler on the Roof, etc. The audience really enjoyed my singing, listening attentively while I performed. Afterwards they would buy my roses or give me donations out of appreciation. I could understand how musicians can “live for their audience” (like Judy Garland); it is an intoxicating feeling to be appreciated, even adored.
One weekend, I had a sore throat, but tried to sell roses anyway. The customers were disinterested and even dismissive. To them my talent- my musical ability- was what made my life have value; when I didn’t have the talent I was no longer worth anything. But to God, my living to help others, to build God’s kingdom was the most important value in my life. The customers couldn’t see that at all; they had a warped sense of true value. I realized that talent, beauty, intellectual genius and money are all forms of ‘fake power’. People will be attracted to you if you have any of those, but the real problem is when the person who has one or more of those thinks that is where his or her value lies; they ignore developing their integrity or growing their heart until it’s too late.
One Friday evening around 5 PM, the captain dropped me off at the exit of a drive- through bank to sell roses. It was payday and I could easily have sold my entire bucket. Unfortunately I was experiencing some very bad menstrual cramps. I went to a nearby gas station and asked to use their restroom. The pain grew worse, the sensation was akin to a melon spoon, scooping out large chunks of my insides. I wondered if this was indemnity for my ancestors’ sin...or perhaps my own. My mind was swirling with possible reasons why I was in so much agony, but my anxiety only added to my misery. I felt like I was going to die. If I did die, I wanted to be with God, but if I died with this mental turmoil, I would surely be in Hell. So I prayed, ‘God, I don’t understand why I am experiencing this pain, but I know I am Your daughter. I offer this up to You. Thank you for loving me.” Immediately the mental turmoil dissipated; the physical pain remained. I realized that the mental/emotional pain was far worse than the physical pain….this led me to some fleeting insights how True Father was able to deal with torture.
The gas station attendant banged on the door. He was closing up and wanted the key back.
I returned the key, in a compromised walk, then I ‘hobbled’ to the back of the station and lay down in the dirty, oil-splattered gravel of their makeshift parking area. That is how sick I felt. “If they want me to move from here, they are going to have to call an ambulance,“ I thought. Luckily, no one bothered me. Now I was alone with my pain. I just had to wait until these intense spasms subsided as I knew they would eventually. Lying there, I became aware that there was a small ant crawling on my belly where my shirt and pants separated. My grimace turned to a smile. “I see that I am not alone. God saw fit to send me a tiny friend to keep me company. How very, very thoughtful.” Most people would have brushed the ant away, but I was in an altered state due to my pain. This ant was definitely a love messenger from God, letting me know He was here with me. God’s love is so intimate. Maybe someone else would need a person in order to feel comforted; an ant was fine for me.
The pain finally subsided to the point where I could stand. I made my way to the bank exit just before the captain drove up. I said nothing as I got into the van with a full bucket of roses. If he is reading this memoir, he can finally know why I didn’t sell any during that drop off.