I don’t exactly know what started me down this path of sharing a bit of my background on this blog. I thought that I was just looking for something to write about and frankly I was thinking in terms of quilting. But in my casual skimming of files and photos I was brought up short by a draft document that I had failed to delete years ago. I know that it was the Spirit that kept me from passing over it and wants me to share some of it but for what purpose I have no idea nor which parts. So I move on trying to be carefully sensitive to His ‘nudgings.’
I believe I was given a partial answer my questions in this mornings quote from Frederich Buechner:
WHAT I PROPOSE TO do now is to try listening to my life as a whole, or at least to certain key moments of the first half of my life thus far, for whatever of meaning, of holiness, of God, there may be in it to hear. My assumption is that the story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all.Sacred Journey: A Memoir of Early Days
The first few years after the death of my father are difficult ones for me to recall. What I do remember is that I retreated into my place of comfort, in a place of my own making particularly through art. In my art I would create homes–horse farms mostly–families and scenarios of happy times. Books and my love of reading were truly a Godsend. Reading lifted me out of the world I was in and took me to some amazing places. In my books I met characters who became friends and would visit them over and over again. In fact I still have many of them in my library today. Music was also a large part of my world and was also an avenue into other places. I remember the song that I sang often during this time was, “How Far is Heaven.” It was a song about a little girl whose father had died and she wanted to know how far it was to Heaven so that she could go see him. It must have been a difficult song for my mother to hear me singing, but she never asked me not to sing.
In a very real way, these were days of isolation. I was left to my own devices and had few friends, none that were close. As I look back I can see that God was on the edges of my life. I always managed to find a Sunday School near my house and got myself there regularly. My parents were always in favor of my going but never made an effort to help me get there. They simply allowed it. I always felt drawn to this world but few of the people there seemed to feel drawn to me. No adults from any of these Sunday Schools stand out in my mind. I never had any relationship with any of my “teachers.” This fact came to play a role in my own ministry in later years.
Mom found a new job, bought a house and settled down with her two remaining daughters. Life became “normal” but I was unsettled. Mom began to date and I thought that she would find us a new father and we would become the normal family that I read about in books, and that I saw on TV. I needed a father. I missed Daddy terribly and yet somehow in my young mind thought he could be replaced, only “fixed.” No alcoholism this time. But it never happened. While Mom did remarry once, it did not work out. She remained single but regularly dated a railroad man that came through town a couple of times a week.
In August of 1963, I found my Father; my heavenly Father. I began going to church at The Salvation Army and found a whole new family. An intact congregational family that gave me the love and discipline I so desperately needed.