The Words of the Bickford Family
Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han January 1, 2012
It was long and painful, Honanim (The Honored One) had such excitement awaiting for our births. We, the generation of righteousness, the accumulation of all those people that lived before us, we never knew. All those that suffered untold misery, so we could serve our True Parents of all human history. They've all waited for this day. Can you feel it? When new comers enter the completed testament age, realizing for the first time, this is all very, very real, their heart eyes are opened. Not even knowing what heart eyes are, we all start seeing from the perspective of God.
I was two years old, the first time I remember my heart hurting. I lived in a small trailer, you could stretch your arms out and touch both walls. My mother and father had never been away from me, so I believed we were always supposed to be together. For the first time in my life, I was left with a stranger called a baby sitter, and a strange title. I remember it like it was happening right now. My parents were in their car driving away from me while I was standing in my crib (really a crib, not slang for my mansion), as the car became smaller and smaller, I thought they forgot me, so I screamed, loud, louder, and loudest, thinking I'd never see them again. Only to my surprise, I saw the car backing up, getting bigger and bigger.
Yey, I thought, as my father hurried to my rescue. He entered my room as I smiled with arms outreached for his embrace with tears still running down my cheeks. My father picked me up toward him, what I thought would be an embrace, he threw me down with such anger and hate, I wanted to fly away. Pulling down my cloth diaper, so I could enjoy the full effect of a bare hand contact on my bottom side, I couldn't believe what was happening. It really hurt, in fact it hurt double, internally and externally. I felt betrayed or misunderstood. How could the one I love and know he loves me would behave in such a manner? This one traumatic event seemed to set the stage for what's to come.
In school I was deemed a dunce. Back in the day if you were not or did not follow the natural flow of things, you were punished. Anywhere from wearing the dunce cap that looked like a megaphone or a roadside orange cone to keep your car away from getting damaged. You sat on a stool in the corner, facing the wall, away from your classmates, with this ridiculous looking cone, called a dunce cap on your head, to getting your knuckles smashed by the nuns for speaking when not spoken to. The first day of school, the teacher would do role call asking each student what nickname they wanted to be addressed by. I was a junior (Robert Kenneth Bickford Jr.). So the teacher would ask, what do you want to be called? Rob, Robert, Robby, or Bob, or Bobby? I would say Kenny and the entire class would laugh. Into the corner I'd go with my new hat that didn't make me feel like merlin the magician. It was humiliating, and everyone kept their distance now for fear of getting sucked into the vortex of the abyss of misunderstanding.
After getting in trouble for a friend playing with matches and burning a house down, me trying to put out the fire, but never got recognition for. My loving father again reprimanded me by lighting an entire book of matches, one by one and holding on to the match watching it burn my skin on my fingers. After that, it was a long time before I could hold onto a book of matches without shaking. In high school, after getting caught for a senior prank that today would've landed me in jail, I was given the option of going into the military or going into the military, so I chose going into the military at the end of Vietnam.
There I was accused of selling drugs, which I didn't, and was facing 37 years in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for trafficking during wartime. I spent 3 months and 9 days in solitary confinement, 9 days in the breadbox where I was kissed by an angel, then released to join the Unification Church movement, only to be asked by the Messiah Himself, to spend 3 days alone with God on the New Hope, fishing. It was here that father opened up my Heart Eyes. From this point on, everything I did, everything I saw, everyone I talked to, had meaning in the heart eyes of God.
A fishery opened up with Japan for sea urchin roe. Maine is one of two places on the planet where the climate is ideal for edible sea urchin roe, when opened taste like cooked lobster, eaten raw. The other is Korea. We dove (scuba gear), for sea urchins and scallops, year round. In the winter, 60 below zero didn't seem like we should be in the water. The market started off at 15 cents per pound. Once the market opened up and demand increased, we getting 95 cents a pound. Some of the younger more fit divers could regulate their breathing, make as much as $2000 dollars a day. Once word of this got out, people were coming from as far away as California with spheres, to join the gold rush.
There were boats everywhere, OMG, it was nuts. It got completely and totally out of hand. They were raping the resource, not allowing enough time to replenish. It reminded me of Washington state and Alaska, when the Japanese market opened up for Glacier ice. No one was fishing, because glacier ice was paying more money per pound. People were using chain saws and hatchets and hammers to get the ice aboard their fishing vessels. Some lost their boats due to greed, they'd get so much weight on board, their boats would flip over. Anyway it was mayhem, and the diving spheres were 3 foot diameter metal tanks, that could compress more air, allowing divers to stay down underwater all day, instead of wasting time coming up to change out your tanks. The spheres just floated on top of the water and went where ever the diver went.
I was diving one day and forgot to strap my knife onto my ankle. I was fairly new at this fishery, so I couldn't afford the newer equipment. I had the old style, with a vertical steel rod running down the side of my tank on my back with a loop at the end, big enough to stick your thumb into. Once you ran out of air, you breathed in and there was nothing, so you would calmly stick your right thumb into the ring on your back, pull downward and wallah, an extra 750 cc of air(about 15 minutes) to get to the surface to change out your tanks. Since the newer equipment had the depth gauges and pressure gauges, you were always aware of your air. When it started getting into the red, like your gas gauge on your car, it's time to start thinking about a gas station or a new tank of air. I thought the old style tanks were dangerous, so I removed the steel rod.
Father always taught us to embrace hardships and difficulties, don't complain and make the best out of any situation. This I applied to my entire life, even when I was welding and I was on fire, I would not stop, because finishing the weld in a tight spot was the lesser of the two evils. Every time there was a storm out to sea, it might be beautiful and sunny where we were working, but under the water there was a surge. The turmoil of the ocean out to sea made the water like a mixing bowl. By the time the water got to land, the surface was calm, but below there was turmoil.
A lot of divers would not work on a day like this. I could make twice the amount of money on these days, I absolutely loved it. Plus there was no competition. Most people were very uncomfortable. I felt like I was going to an amusement park. Once you were on the bottom, whether 40 feet of 120 feet, you rested and stayed calm, trying to regulate your breathing, so you could stay down as long as you could, because resurfacing and changing out your tanks was very time consuming, wasting your whole day if you're not careful, especially in the winter (daylight savings time). The motion while on the bottom was like a symphony, the surge would move you along with all the fish and wildlife and plants, everything in harmony moving as one. It almost brings tears to my eyes, I loved it so much. It was definitely my drug.
I was Heavenly Father's symphony, I moved as everything moved. I saw things that no man has ever seen. I saw rocks sculptured by lava flow thousands of years ago. I cried many times while under water at the privilege God had given me. On this particular day, the surge was very powerful. On the bottom, I would move 10 feet one way, then 30-40 feet the other. So what I'd do, was fluff up all the sea urchins while the surge was moving in the 10 foot direction. All the urchins would be flying past me and away from me. I had to get in sync with the symphony or it wouldn't work. I fluffed, they flew, and my bags just grew. I fluffed, they flew, and my bags just grew! 10 feet one way 30 feet the other. They just stuffed them into the bag, it was so easy. The symphony was the thing you had to get used to, like being on a boat. If you're out to sea more than 3 days, your body has become acclimated to the motion and movement. At night, there's only darkness, you see the stars in the heavens and your mind cannot, will not accept that you are the one in the boat that's moving. Your mind thinks the only logical explanation is, it's an all-out invasion. We're being attacked by aliens! The stars are constantly moving all across the sky.
St. Elmo's Fire is when the atmosphere becomes electrically charged with no ground, so the electricity statically dances on the metal of the ship and if you have the hair, will stand on end. After 3 days out to sea, you get your sea legs. Retuning to land is not so easy, because now your body has to acclimate to land and being stationary. A man cannot pee in a toilet if his very life depended upon it. He will pee everywhere but the toilet, he has to sit down until his body is acclimated.
On this one day, as I mentioned, I forgot to strap my knife to my right ankle. I had filled up my 6 or 7 bag set with about 750 cc's 15 min. left. Plenty of time to change out my tank, plus I'd have to wait for the boat to find me while he attended another diver. So I went down to play with a lobster that had made his home in a hole of a ledge. I'd crack open an urchin, and let him eat the roe, which he loved and I became his best friend. I looked behind me because I saw something and when I looked up there were thousands of jellyfish no bigger than a 25 cent piece. The sun was angled in such a way, that each and every jellyfish became a transparent prism, with the light reflecting all the colors of the rainbow. I was awe stricken, it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. I thanked Heavenly Father for sharing such a thing with me, and out of nowhere a seal came and touched my mask right in my face. I almost messed my suit! I swallowed my heart. I went from beauty to terror in a fraction of a second. The seal was curious and smelled the roe, so he or she stopped by to say hi. It was getting crowded down here so I thought it would be best if I surfaced and changed my tank.
What I hadn't realized, the surge, without me noticing it, had wrapped my line, (from my set of bags on the bottom, to the buoy floating on the surface), around my regulator at the top of my tank on my back. When I had attempted to surface, about 18 inches or so from the surface, I stopped and couldn't go any further. Trying to stay calm I assessed my dilemma. Looking down I could see the line to my bags. To be safe I should have swam down and unhooked the bags, then gone to the surface where I could straighten out this mess. Instead I thought I could untangle it myself, not giving a thought to not having a knife or how dangerous this old style tank was.
What happened next was almost the end of my life. I reached for my knife and it wasn't there. Then I started to panic, making all the wrong decisions. Next I dropped my weight belt, thinking I'd be more buoyant, bringing me closer to the surface. Instead my weight belt tangled in the line below me. I was so buoyant, the rope became too tight to untangle. The more I struggled, the more fear took over. As I struggled to untangle the rope behind my head, the rope turned the valve off to my air supply. Not even getting a quarter breath of air, no more air was coming. Hopeless, there was nothing left to do. I said, "Heavenly Father, I'm so very sorry, there's nothing else I can do, I'm coming be with you Father." The very next breath would fill my lungs with water.
As I was getting ready to go to spirit world, I looked up and saw the belly of every 3rd or 4th wave was deep enough, I might be able to stretch my body neck and head and lips, just enough to suck some air out of the belly of the wave. This all happened in fractions of seconds. I pulled and kicked with my fins as hard as I could, sucking a mixture of sea water and air. Trying not to cough, I managed to struggle to stay alive, while spirit world alerted the captain. Knowing something was wrong, the other diver was already aboard and they rushed to where they saw my buoy. Without any hesitation, the diver jumped in and saved me. If the captain hadn't been blessed by True Parents, I doubt very much I'd be alive today.
Heart Eyes let me see from God's perspective. As a fallen human being, I would've given up, but seeing and knowing God is always with us, there is always a way to have hope. So brothers and sisters, remember the story about the prodigal son, when he returned, the father gave him everything, the father was so happy for his son to be home. How much more will our Father in Heaven reward you? Welcome Home my Son! Welcome Home my Daughter, I've missed you. Please let me look at you, let's talk and please tell me everything, don't leave anything out. I can't wait to see you and welcome you HOME!-Aju.