Soul Surgery on the road to Damascus By Dr Richard A. Byron-Cox

I suffered terribly from this malady where I held on to hurts, struggles and disappointments that life brings perpetually wounding myself needlessly. For years this caused anger, sadness, pain and bitterness, consuming my soul and preventing me from seeing the miracle of life’s beauty surrounding and available to me.

Tragic indeed! I came to see the uselessness and hopelessness of such an attitude; how barren and hateful it made my head, heart and soul.  I need fixing! So, I am consciously on the road to Damascus. And, my recent sojourn in New York chiefly to address the Friends of Sion Hill (FOSH) gala event, was another significant step on this reformation path.

I always dread going to the USA, for from the time of check in (regardless where I am flying from) to the moment I leave that country, I experience aggression, frustration, harassment, racism,……, usually leading to me having terrible stomach pains for at least another two days after leaving.

But when Dexter “Super Dex” Richards asked me to be the keynote speaker at the FOSH 2019 gala, I felt compelled to go, not only because of the significance of the event, (they honoured inter alios, SVG’s only world record holder, Winston Davis); but this was the first time someone from SVG was offering me such a singular honour!!

From the moment I arrived at JFK (where I was met by Super Dex); until I left, I was taken on a journey of beauty, friendship and brotherhood, honour, and indeed love. I had arrived at an Everest of good will.

Hats off to FOSH for the dazzling rainbow-like spectacle. The colours, the design, the layout and the atmosphere were stupendous! And as if to idolize perfection, the event ran like greased elegance. I was mesmerized by this Vincentian creation of beauty in excellence, and excellence in beauty.

Super Dex, Glenroy “Gobells” Phillips, the entire FOSH and the gala attendees treated me with ambassadorial courtesies. Throughout my address I had to stifle the many attempts at prolonged applause, but my gracious audience would not be denied, so at the end I was given a salute of profound appreciation by way of a standing ovation.

Gobells was one of the honourees and once you have seen him in action, you understand why. I had never met anyone for the first time who was immediately genuinely fraternal, supportive and honest. He singlehandedly sold all my books I took to New York, charging nothing for his labour.

 He looked out for me every second and was one of the livewires of the event, epitomizing service and selflessness!  I was very honoured to meet the man of the hour, Winston Davis.

I chatted with Nelson, the King of reporting from the N.Y. diaspora; the former top-class netballer, eternal beauty, and now Sporting Ambassador, H.E.  Stella Boyea-Ashby; the champion footballer, Eliot “Morrie” Millington, and so many more who have and are contributing to make this beautiful Lilliput of ours stand taller each day.

But New York was not done with me.

I had been advised that four people had ordered tickets and wanted to sit at my table as my guests of honour. I didn’t know who they were, but readily agreed.

Just before the event started in walked 3 of my sisters Marilyn, Tasca, and Theckla with one of my nieces. Joy threatened me with cardiac arrest! We talked and laughed, testifying to our love and bond, and the commitment of always being there for each other. Love lifted me!!

 And then there were my brothers.

 Terrance Edwards is my first cousin, but more importantly, my brother and friend. His motto as regards me is, “Mummy says I must look after you!” He lives by this maternal commandment. So much so that I determined in my heart not to give a single sign of discomfort; or utter a word of disapproval of anything while in New York for I knew he would move earth and haven to fix it.

And there was my lovely brother, Jex at whose house I stayed part of the time!! In childhood he had befriended a scorned and physically-abused crippled boy, whom he was now ever so proud to call “Doc.” He stood in rapt attention while I delivered my address. When I re-joined him with the entire hall in standing ovation, he simply said, “I knew this day would come. Even when we were boys I knew. I love you Pape!” I couldn’t respond, for my heart was too full!!

Curtis Byron-Cox is simply the most beautiful human being I know and have ever known. The daily living of this finest of specimen of humanity is what love looks like in practice.

In New York he made sure his little brother wanted of nothing. He was supreme in his kindness, gentleness and goodness. Every conversation, every act, every moment said to me, “Just focus on what you came here to do. Leave your burdens to me.

They are not heavy for you are my little brother in whom I am well pleased, and whom I love unconditionally.”  I was humbled that this great Mahatma (even if largely unknown), would honour and care so much for an all but shattered vessel like me. I knew I should fear nothing with him present, for he gives complete meaning to Bill Wither’s “Lean on me.”

I left New York promising to always embrace the contentment of soul that I had rejected up to this point, and to bathe in the golden sunshine of love that surrounds me, for like David, my soul is restored to the point where “My cup runneth over!” I will stay on this Damascus road!

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