ABOUT TEN MINUTES after we entered the structure, a large shadow loomed and darkened the entrance.
We looked up and there stood one of the lunatics from town that the locals dubbed “Madman Genie.” He was dark complexioned, over 6 feet tall and sturdily built. He was barefooted, with huge hands and feet. His faded denim pants were missing the right leg and his t-shirt was missing most of the front. His hair was knott ed with dirt and had formed into dreadlocks. He was encrusted from head to toe in dirt and smelled of rotten fish. It was difficult for us to breathe as he blocked not only the light, but the airstream into the Fort.
He knew Mario by his last name and asked “Is this your wife, Mr. M?”
Mario answered, “Yes.”
“You one have two wife?” the madman asked, meaning, do you have two wives all by yourself? He must have seen my cousin sitting outside on the bench. Without hesitation, he walked towards me, allowing some light in, as well as some fresh air. I froze, as he got closer.
“Me want dis one!” he said defiantly.
He got to me before Mario could, as we were both on opposite sides of the small room. Before Mario could move a muscle, Madman Genie grabbed me by my arm and threw me to the dirt floor. He held me with one hand and started to pull at the string holding up his pants. I kicked and clawed in an attempt to getaway, but at only 98 pounds, I was no match for Madman Genie, who held me in place with just one large dirty hand. With his other hand, hequickly loosened his pants. He had no underwear on and his huge, dirt-encrusted, fully erect penis popped out.I was terrified! I started to scream as Mario grabbed Madman Genie’s arm and tried to pull him away from me and could not. I was screaming and crying at the same time and could not breathe. I could not believe what was happening, as the reality that I was aboutto be raped, sunk in.
Saved For A Purpose
“Dear God, please keep us safe. Dear God, please keep us safe,” I repeated as the car continued spinning. The driver’s voice from somewhere far away kept saying, “I’m sorry. I am so sorry.”
My hand gripped the handle of the door. My tummy tightened. My head felt as if it had turned into a bowling ball that would topple at any moment. The world seemed to be moving in slow motion, and I was at the center of it. It felt as if I was on a ride at Great Adventure Theme Park. It was an extraordinary and amazing feeling of helplessness without the thrill of a carnival ride. As we spun faster and faster, I continued to pray silently, and I somehow knew that God would keep us safe.
I reflected on how I had found myself here, spinning endlessly in the back seat of a town car, watching my life flash before my eyes.
Visits From My Grandparents
As a young child, I suffered from epilepsy and had frequent seizures. After each episode, I can distinctly remember the taste of nutmeg and sharp, stinging pains suffered from the bruises on my tongue. I later learned that the nutmeg was placed in my mouth so that I did not chew on my tongue during an episode. It took weeks for my tongue to heal and for the taste of nutmeg to dissipate.
My older relatives were concerned about these episodes. They were convinced that the reason for my epileptic attacks or “fits” as they called it, were due to visits from my grandparents on my mother’s side, even though both of my grandparents were deceased. My grandmother died before I was born and my grandfather died when I was about two years old. My older relatives advised my mother that she should send me away from the country to avoid the attacks. They were pretty sure that my late grandparents’ “duppy”, or spirits, were coming too close to show their love for me, and this was causing the “fits.”
Nine Night Celebration
The only visit to the country where I was allowed to stay more than a day was when my grandfather, Maas Willie, went home to be with the Lord. He was 99 years old then and was living with my Aunt Ena in the district of Garlands. I had not seen him in many years and was sad to see him just lying there in his bed, covered with a white sheet. He looked peaceful, as if he were asleep. He appeared to be a lot smaller than the last time I saw him, and he had more wrinkles. His huge hands that I loved had shrunken. Even in death, he still had a pleasant aura about him. Tears fell from my eyes as I remembered the great times I had playing with my dog as my grandfather lovingly watched over us.
This was my first time seeing a person that was deceased. I was approaching ten years old and a bit afraid, unlike my cousins, who ran in and out of the room playing hide and seek, as if Maas Willie was just asleep. Back then in the country, the deceased were not taken to a funeral home. They were embalmed and laid out in a room in the family house until all the family members arrived from abroad (England, Canada and the U.S.). This could take up to two weeks or longer. I cannot remember which of my relatives flew in from the U.K to attend my grandfather’s funeral, but my father never came and I was terribly disappointed.
Finally Reid – the Lessons Learned
ACCEPTING CHRIST AND living the life of a believer has not been easy. There are always trials and tribulations. It’s like walking in fi ve inch stilett os on a cobblestoned pathway in Bryant Park near my office, where some areas are smooth and some are jagged. If you are not careful, you can slip and hurt yourself on some of the sharp edges or even break a heel, as the enemy (devil) is always up to his old tricks to attack your faith. The Bible says that the devil prowls around like a lion looking for whom to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
It is a continuous learning process. I often slip and make the wrong moves, but as I am getting to know the Lord better, I am learning that he is a forgiving Father. He gave his son to die on the Cross so that all our sins are forgiven – past, present and future.Since he forgives my sins, I have learned to forgive myself and also forgive others. I forgive others even when I am treated negatively because of my race or my gender or because I am different. While hard to forget, I have learned to let it go. I let go and let God! I have also learned to accept and love myself like Christ loves me. In the past, I was very critical of myself and did not believe that I deserved the best. This led to some very negative experiences, but eventually I learned some valuable lessons from those experiences. To learn from those experiences, I had to spend time with myself.
I had to really dig into my inner being and discover the real me. I found the awesome woman that God made. As I finally found myself (Finally Reid), embraced my future and all that God has planned for me, I had to let go of all the struggles and the burdens of the past. I am reminded of a statement that TD Jakes made to Oprah in early 2012.
“To move into the blessing of your future, you need to let go of the burden of your past. You have to let go of what you are holding
onto and grab hold of what is in front of you. You cannot embraceyour future, if you are holding on to your past.” Bishop TD Jakes on
Oprah’s Life Class, 2012.
As I move into my future, putting the past behind me, I have learned that I need to develop a strategy, a step-by-step plan and keep God in the midst of the plan. As I developed my strategy, I have learned to surround myself with people that make positive deposits in my life and shed those that make negative withdrawals, as both Bishop TD Jakes and Joel Osteen advised on separate occasions. I have developed my own cheering team, my own board of directors.
There will always be challenges, but know that you are being groomed for greater things. These challenges will arise as the enemy will fight to get you to give up on your dreams, knowing the greater plans that God has in store for you. If you give up, you will not achieve your God-given purpose. Do not allow the enemy to win. Embrace your challenges! I know that if I did not experience some of my challenges, I would not be the strong, determined woman that
I am today.