The Words of the Tsukamoto Family
Thank you Heavenly Father, True Parents, STF and my Montana team,
So basically we were the last team of the year to go to Montana, and I had a pretty high expectation of the kinds of experiences that I was going to have. Everyone always comes back from Montana with these great realizations and amazing "meeting God" experiences. In a sense I was expecting myself to become completely one in nature and experience God's heart of creation completely. So naturally the beginning was definitely a struggle. I was waiting for Heavenly Father to show Himself to me. My mentality was "I'm here Heavenly Father, now where are You?" In a sense, I was waiting for these grandiose experiences of meeting God in nature or having these brilliant epiphanies of what God's expectations for me is. But I realized that in everything that I do, I always have many high expectations and therefore it limits me from fully gaining what Heavenly Father is really trying to show me. I sought for the small gold grains instead of waiting for these rare "gold nugget" experiences. Like Hyung Jin Nim emphasizes the importance of being aware of all the strawberries in our lives. Therefore, my determination was to keep my heart open to receive whatever it was that God wanted to give me.
My internal goal for this Montana training workshop was to "cultivate a deeper sense of gratitude." Personally, I chose this goal because I knew that I lack a grateful heart. Mr. MacMardie told us when we got to the Montana ranch that once you leave these mountains that you weren't going to take the mountains with us but that we were going to take ourselves. Those words instilled in me the deep desire to soak up and internalize every activity that we experienced, because being the "kaizen" group we knew that we weren't going to be able to climb a snow covered mountain and experience the external struggles of getting frost bite and what not, but the internal struggles weren't any different. Mr. MacMardie said, 'God gives us the external circumstances that each and every single one of us needs in order to grow and ultimately to come closer to understanding God's heart'. Even though initially I felt like I wouldn't be able to gain as much as the other groups who persevered through greater physical and mental limitations, God did not deprive any of us from being able to give us what we needed.
As one of the activities that we did, we actually had the opportunity to spend 24 hours in creation; just me, God and nature. And during this time I was sitting on a rock reflecting for hours, trying to understand why it is so difficult for me to be grateful. I didn't want to come back from the Montana training and tell myself, "Wow, now I am so much more grateful for being able to shower once every 3 days, for electricity, for a flushing toilet or even for reception." I knew that when I made my goal "cultivating a deeper sense of gratitude" that I wanted something deeper. Something that I didn't need to be grateful out of will power for the externally uncomfortable situations; almost tricking my mind into feeling grateful even though in my heart I knew that I wasn't.
I faced many internal struggles on that rock. When I looked around the creation around me, I couldn't heartistically connect to God's heart of creation, or that God invested His whole being in creating this world just for me. I felt frustrated because I couldn't understand why I wasn't grateful for God who almost died creating this world for me.
I knew that I was intellectualizing the entire thing too much. At that moment I thought about the morning service that Mike had given right before we got to Montana. He talked about heart of a parent who invests completely in a room for a new baby. Before the baby is born, the parents invests everything to create the best environment for the baby, filling the room with toys and stuffed animals, the best crib, just so that the baby can be surrounded by love. All the parent really wants for the baby is to see the baby happy in seeing it play with all of its toys. At that moment I felt clarity in my heart. The 10 meter radiance circle that was given to me from "God" I felt was a room prepared just for me. The beautiful view of the valley below me or the yellow flowers surrounding the rock or the picturesque sunset in the evening filled my heart with gratitude.
As I continued to sit on the rock by myself with no external distractions, I realized that our mind is as loud as thunder. But when I calmed my mind, I expected that it would be completely silent.
However, when I stopped to listen, I realized how loud it actually was. All of a sudden your ability to hear is somehow heightened and you hear every detail surrounding you. You hear the bees buzzing, the wind gently blowing against the branches and the leaves, the wings of the flies fluttering, the birds chirps echoing throughout the mountain top, I knew in my heart that I wasn't alone -- that when God created this world, He never wanted us to feel alone. Even though many times during this 24 hour I could have felt as though it was just me and a bunch of leaves and bugs, I knew in my heart that Heavenly Father was there with me in everything. Heavenly Father and I spent hours just playing with all the "toys" that He put in my room. Even though I probably wasn't able to experience God's heart of creation to its fullest extent, I am truly grateful towards Heavenly Father for allowing me to be able to understand even a little bit more.
After being around creation, I could come to understand Hyun Jin Nim's heart about not wanting to go back to the fallen world which is full of conflict and sin. Mr. MacMerdie said that Hyun Jin Nim always hesitates to go back but he does because of his filial heart towards God and True Parents. He knows that God needs someone to establish His dream and it really empowered me to deepen my desire to go back to join the rest of our brothers and sisters on the frontline.
I am truly grateful for what I was able to gain from this training and for being able to cultivate a deeper sense of gratitude. Thank you everyone for this experience.