Climb Down a Tree and Hitch Hike
by Don Makowski
I was in a center and I was kind of struggling. I wasn’t a good fundraiser. I had something spiritual I wanted to resolve and I felt the only way was to go to New York and see Father. So I asked Alexander on three different occasions, “Can I go to New York and see Rev. Moon?” He said, “No, no, you can’t do that. It doesn’t work that way around here. Keep fundraising and wait your time and everything will be fine.” So finally I said, “I have to go,” and I left a note. We were on the second floor and it had a balcony and outside the balcony was a big tree. So I wrote this note and tacked it around 10:30 at night when no one was in the room. It said, “I’m sorry, Alexander. I have to go to New York and I will hitch hike there.”
I proceeded to climb out the balcony and onto the tree and down the tree to the ground and I started to hitch hike. Now for the first time in my life I struggled. I couldn’t get anyone to stop. Before I would always just wait two or three minutes and I would get picked up. It took forever to get my first ride and they took me two exits and dropped me off. And another ride took two or three hours later and they dropped me a few miles further. The next day by 6 o’clock at night and I still wasn’t out of California.
I was almost thinking, “maybe I should give up, maybe God is telling me to go back.” And I was thinking about it and decided, “no I’ve got to go.” When I made up my mind, after that someone stopped immediately and within three rides I made it to New York City almost non-stop. There were two guys from the Navy taking turns driving and they took me about 1,000 miles. Then another 1,000 miles. Then finally a truck driver that I met in Chicago said, “I’m going straight to New York City, where are you going?” I said, “to 43rd Street. He took me to Grand Central Station. I had just enough money in my pocket to get to 43rd Street by the subway. I was fasting the whole way, I knew enough, that I was kind of breaking the rules here and Satan might invade so I better fast. So the last six days I was fasting.
I showed up at 43rd Street and told them I just came from California Church. “Oh, really? Who sent you?” “Well, actually nobody sent me. I just came because I really want to see Father.” OK, problem member. He listened and said, “OK, OK, you can work with the Japanese sisters in the kitchen. For the next two months I was downstairs all day long because they had 200 members at 43rd Street and we had to prepare three meals a day, so the sisters would hand me tomatoes or carrots and said “Don-san, chop chop!”
During that time I also started working with Peter Spoto. We would go out and do some fundraising during the day and then back to chop-chop. I got to see Father at Belvedere with everyone else at Sunday Service. But I still felt I needed some resolution. I felt that everyone was so amazing and I didn’t have enough to offer. “OK, am I really enough for God? Should I even be here?” I had some insecurity I had to resolve.
And my answer came when Washington Monument was about to take place. It was exactly a month before Washington Monument. It was August 18, 1976. Almost everyone left New York from the New Yorker Hotel and 43rd Street. Just the staff people, like myself, were left. We got the notice that Father wanted to meet us that afternoon on the second floor of 43rd Street. We were all assembled there and Father came in and started speaking. He said, “Why are you guys still here? Everyone is on the front line of God’s providence in Washington D.C..” They were witnessing to bring people to hear Father at Washington Monument. He said, “You should be so serious to go there that you should go out on the balcony and climb down a tree in the middle of the night and hitch hike to Washington D.C.” And when he said that, he looked at me. He looked straight at me, right into my eyes for about 3 seconds. I was just flabbergasted! At that moment I knew, “OK, this is my Father. He knows me and this is where I’m supposed to be.” It was an overwhelming experience. I mean, he just looked right at me and said, “climb out the balcony, climb down a tree, and hitch hike.”
We all went to Washington DC later that day, and were there for exactly one month until the Washington Monument Rally on September 18th. My partner Kazuki and I worked really hard in rich, upper class Alexandria, Virginia. Yet when the big day came, we had only about 4 people on our bus. We felt so depressed, as if the whole rally was going to fail because of us. So when we reached the Washington Monument and saw 300,000 people assembled as far as the eye could see, we were elated! The best part was seeing the huge smile on Father's face as he came up to the podium to speak. That smile said it all, telling us that we had gotten a complete and total victory for America! We had a wonderful celebration with True Parents the next day, and spent 2 more days sightseeing at the Smithsonian Institute. Then on the fourth day, I found myself in a van on my way to Texas, about to join something called MFT.