Archive for April, 2017

I Went-Setting-Poor Marie

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

That’s what they would say behind her back, “Poor Marie.” I thought I was the reason she was poor. That much was true.

But the truth was worse. My father died when I was 15 days old, after a long illness, large bowel cancer. It was particularly awful I guess; I overheard them saying he had his Hell on earth. My mother was left with a baby, she had to move back in with her family, he didn’t leave enough to bury him, and she had no income. So “Poor Marie.” It happened in the middle of World War Two, so there were rationing and food shortages, I guess. Oh and I was born Caesarian, to add injury to insult.

Luckily there was some relative or other connected to Pet Milk, so she had the means to feed me. Just as luckily , a job was found for her doing war factory work and after the end an office job as a file clerk. She never learned to type. She had dropped out of school at age sixteen to go to work to help support her family. It was 1929. She collected Social Security as a widow. She refused to apply for welfare. She wouldn’t take charity. So all my childhood years we lived with her family. There were her parents, a brother, his wife and their child.

And I was not the most ‘normal’ kid, I wasn’t who was expected, I wasn’t who was wanted. For one thing I was a boy, She wanted a girl. She told me once she wanted to name me Judy.

She also had as little contact with my father’s family. In later years, when she was angry with me, she would tell me I was like my father. She told me he punched her in the stomach when she was pregnant with me. And she avoided his family. I was taken a few time to see my grandparents but very seldom. I last saw them when I was twelve, just before we moved a thousand miles away.

Much later she got in touch with his sister Pauline and her husband Bill and put me in touch with them. I visited and Aunt Pauline had pictures of me when she was keeping me. That was news to me. She also called a neighbor lady who knew me when I was a baby to come see me all grown up.

I Went: The Call, The Message Lost

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

I was asleep when I woke to a voice calling my name. I looked around. No one there. I left the bedroom and the call seemed to be coming from downstairs. I went downstairs and no one was there. The voice seemed to be coming from outside. I opened the door and went out on the porch. The call was coming from up the street. I went up to the corner of Madison Street. The voice was coming from down that street. So I walked down that way. I saw a bundle of newspapers waiting for the carrier to take them. On top of the pile, Jesus appeared, a mini-Jesus who looked just like the pictures of him in my Sunday School books. He said, “I
have something to tell you.” Then a car came down the street and he disappeared. I went home, and back to bed.

Was this a dream? If it was, it is the most vivid dream I ever had. I can still see all the details. I have never
forgotten. I have never forgotten not getting the message. It seems to me I have been seeking it ever since.

I was then a young child, I don’t know what age. I think I am still that age.

I Went: It Begins, First Contact

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

I was a small child then. I have no idea how old I was. I had a room of my own. Every night I would cry and cry and cry. I don’t remember why. I do remember my mother coming  to ask me why I was crying. I would answer, “No one loves  me.” She would reply, “I love you.” I hope I did not say, “You’re only saying that because I’m crying.” I think that  was true.

I was abandoned, all on my own, lost.

“I can’t do this” But I found a place to turn to. On my desk was a picture of the Good Shepherd and sheep. The sheep were flocked. The colors were pastel pinks and blues. It had a thermometer on it. Desperate, I saw the picture. And I tuned to the Shepherd. I pictured him come and sit on my bed, the very Jesus in the picture. I said, “I can’t do this. But I can if you lead me. Lead me and I will follow.” So I put out my hand. Jesus sat on my bed and took my hand. I ceased to cry and slept.

 

I Went

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Maundy Thursday, first hymn
“Here I am Lord.
Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.”

It hit me then.
I went.
Look where I wound up.
I may not be in the place I wish,
But here I am, Lord.

So I need to trace my steps
and missteps.
What a long strange trip it’s been.

The thread that runs through the land of unlikeness is:
I want to follow Jesus,
I want to follow the Gospel,
to live the Gospel life.