I was not really “raised,” I just grew up. With a dysfunctional family that danced around my father’s rages and abuse, my grandmother’s alcoholism, my mother’s depression, and many other issues, I quickly learned some important coping mechanisms. “Don’t bother anyone, don’t upset anyone, don’t ask questions that might be difficult to answer, don’t ask for help”. A corollary to this is, of course, pay attention to the needs of others, pull your own weight and theirs, too, their needs are more important than yours.
One of the very special holy places in my youth, a sacred space of nurture and refuge, was a creek. Playing in the water at the neighborhood creek was a very important refuge from a violent house. Slipping out the back door and over the fence, this creek was the perfect sort for building dams, canals, bridges, towns, etc. In true “boy” fashion, I’d build a dam and then knock it down. Such activity carried me away from the barriers and floods of home. Here, at least, I could be in charge of what was held back, and when the barrage was unleashed. This was holy ground, indeed. Of course we all need some holy ground and sacred space of time and distance to renew and refresh ourselves and sense of God’s presence. For me, it is still playing in a creek.
Throughout my life, God’s grace has been at work, sometimes in spite of me. The deep sense that “God will provide” was imparted to me by my mother and several experiences in which our family, always on the financial edge, would somehow get fed. God did provide.
One gift of my attention deficit disorder has been to be lame and clueless to the extent that God could push and cajole and beckon and I have followed when I didn’t even know I was being led. The emotional abandonment of childhood led me to turn to relationship with God. Hey, nobody else was around, but God always seemed to be there. In reflection, I see God’s grace and mercy very present in my life.
Here it is in mid-February, and it’s going to be 60 today! (and snow tomorrow!). I gotta get out of here. It’s time for a romp in the woods, and some playing in the water.