Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Originally posted by me on FB in 2009:
Once upon a dream, in what seems almost like a fairy tale now, I lived for a short while in a city that felt like a second skin. I have many extraordinary stories of moments that made me think "I am exactly where I am suppose to be" but perhaps my favorite is the morning I met God.
One sunny spring morning, groggy and wishing for a cup of tea, I was navigating myself back home from the suburbs of the city I love when I had a moment. One of those moments when you know something life changing just happened, you just don't know what it was.
I stood on the relatively crowded train, playing with my cellphone and listening to two men have a conversation about television very loudly. They sat across from one another elbows on knees leaning in talking about star trek with such intensity that I thought they were friends. There was something off about their conversation that made me listen. The one gentleman wore a t-shirt two sizes too small and thick glasses. He seemed slightly slow but enjoying himself immensely while the other was disheveled and spoke slowly and loudly as if to let everyone know he was there. The train stopped, the man with the glasses made the "Live long and prosper" hand signal said "Nice meeting you!" and departed.
Suddenly inside the crowded train it was silent and one seat sat completely empty across from the lone treki. I hesitated. Everyone hesitated. I knew if I sat down he would start talking but my feet were tired and I had 12 stops until I had to transfer. Weariness won out with the thought process of a Jersey girl. I thought "This is easy, its like NY. Don't look at anyone, just play with your phone and he won't talk to you". No sooner did I sit down then I could feel him watching me.
He looked like he just got out of a Jamaican gift shop, since everything he wore was Jamaican colors. His jacket, forest green with yellow and orange stripes, complimented a hat of the same color and a "I <3 Jamaica" lanyard around his neck. His dreads were long and fell down a little past his shoulders as he sat in the same position as before. Hands on knees intently staring at the person across from him. Me.
I'd been spending a lot of my time trying to figure out if he was simple, homeless, crazy or all three so I tried my hardest just to ignore him with no avail. Giving up, I finally looked up and in a thick Jamaican accent he said "Can I sing to you?". Oh Geeze, okay well if nothing else this was going to make a great story to tell my flat mates when I got home. When I nodded he started to sing at the top of his lungs "LETS GET TOGEDDER AND PEEL ALRIGHT". Marley. Right. Of course. How could I have thought anything else. But it didn't stop there, he went right into some Sinatra and just as he was moving on to Paul Simon, a hand stopped gently on his knee and it was there that I noticed his companion.
Sitting next to him was a man who was wearing sunglasses with his hair towering over his head tucked into a giant baby blue crochet hat. He had been leaning back with his hands clasped on his stomach making him seem as if he was asleep. At this gesture, the song bird got quiet and slowly the man in the blue hat sat up and took off his glasses. The effect of which I'll never forget for the rest of my life. He had the most amazing crystal blue eyes I'd ever seen. His skin was dark and wrinkled of someone not old enough to be frail but old enough to be wise. He looked at me and said in a thick jamaican accent "Only when you can see the world through other people's perspectives will you truly know peace". With that he put his sunglasses back on and resumed the position from before. Hands clasped, eyes closed. It was then the song bird started to ask me questions
"Where you be from girl?" he asked. "America" I said. "America! I lived in America before. My Fadder built big house in New Jersey" he said. Surprised I confessed I'm from New Jersey in which he replied "I have big house in New Jersey. Morristown New Jersey. Yep". He went on to tell me that the two of them live in the Flatbush mall and that I should come visit him but I was too stunned to really respond. It was then that the man in the blue hat stirred again. Slowly removing his glasses he looked at me so intensely and said "Dis be your stop lady" to which I looked at the station sign- and it was.
********For those of you who aren't aware, I was born in Morristown New Jersey. I left that train knowing without a doubt that I just encountered something most people go their whole lives without ever seeing. I met God on a tube train, and he's not a woman. He's a Rastafarian black man who lives in the Flatbush mall.*****************