When I was little I wanted pets. I was fortunate because we were living in the country so it was an option. Especially if you could find a use for them.
I remember being with the ladies as they had a quilting party in someone’s basement. The sheep’s wool was washed in the old washer in the corner. We all had the carting paddles and were carting the wool. It was kind of fun brushing the wool back and forth with the brushes. That is what the ‘wool carting’ paddles looked like to me. The best quilt I ever had.
Back to pets. Guess what I got to have? Sheep! I named them David and Ester after my favorite Bible characters. I loved those sheep. I loved them like Elmyra loved her pets.
I loved those sheep despite the warnings from my parents that they didn’t like it. Then they grew full size and were larger than I. Now I was on the receiving end of their affection! Which consisted of strong headbutts and me being the one running in the opposite direction!
On a personal side note. I will be changing my posting schedule to once or twice a month. I am focusing more time on the manuscript and less time on posts. My personal life seems to have hit high gear lately – more things to do and less time to do them in it seems.
When I was little I used to love to tell exaggerated stories. I hated to be put on the spot with a question and would be inventible I’d fib. It was a second nature. I would start with something simple like a boy kissed a girl and then next you know Jack and Jill did it greek on top of the hill and I didn’t even know what that was.
Maybe this habit formed out of boredom. I didn’t attend school or daycare. Had no cousins or family outings. There was no television or radio. Once I could read my escape was found. I could go anywhere a nonfiction book could take me. I adored books and still do. I used to fill my suitcase with more books than clothes.
When it’s up to the book or storytelling for entertainment you learn to elaborate. Especially once you learn how to get a reaction! We weren’t supposed to be joking and silly. Being solemn is deemed the Christian way. As a child though that’s what comes naturally. Being silly. Having fun. Laughing goofing around, being silly. We just had to do it in secret so as not to get into trouble. Don’t get me wrong, we had swings, toys, paints, and colors. No board games, sports, or other competitive or frivolous things but we did have fun. However reading was my favorite as I didn’t need a friend to escape and have a great adventure.
The trouble with the nonfiction Christian books I recall having access to is that they were filled with torture, end of times before Christ second coming. Horrible pain and suffering before a life of bliss in heaven could happen. Needless to say, I was terrified into religious belief. I also learned that your closest friends and family are the ones to watch for. They will turn you in to be tortured to death to save themselves. Burning at the stake, stretched on the rack, drowned to death. So many ways the wrong religious believers were tortured and killed. Books like The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Book, Pilgrims Progress, Paula the Waldensian , novelized history of the churches persecution to bring all to the accepted faith. Terrifying stuff let me tell you. Those were some of the books I read as a child growing up. One book I never forgot was They’re All Dead Aren’t They by Joy Swift. I read that after the loss of my father and it wrenched my pain beyond what it was to excruciating levels. I could feel what she felt on top of what I felt. The pain twisted inside sucking out all air.
Thankfully I also had Laura Ingalls Wilder in my life and fell in love with her series. I was ten when I got my first Little House on the Praire – to give you an idea how old I was reading some of the other books.
Probably not the best way to spend your formative years. Leaves a lot of distrust in general. Needless to say, it was terryifying to have faith and terryifying not to have faith. You were damned either way.
You might surmise I missed my mother. Or my father. Maybe even my little brothers and sisters. Or my friends. No those things I became used to not having. What I have always missed is the sense of community, the sense of belonging. Of not being alone. The deep-rooted piece that leaves me sad and lonely is the lack of belonging of community.
Growing up with the entire community living as one has left me with an overwhelming sense of aloneness in this world. I could blame technology but this feeling came not long after ‘coming to the world’ as I call it. That was before technology as we know it. The realization that ultimately I was alone hit hard. Knowing the families in the neighborhood, being friends with the kids my age, eating and playing together ended. The sense of belonging was gone. Even walking into a church didn’t help. And I tried. Either members knew ‘my story’. The story that was being spread throughout the SDA grape-vine. Or no one knew me or tried to reach out to the slip of a girl hiding in the back.
I realize now that I needed to reach out. I needed to talk to people to interact. I didn’t know how. I didn’t want the avid interest. The offers of help that comes with a price or an expiry date. I was so hurt inside I only could manage to push people away. If I was abandoned by my own mother – well really there was no sense in offering anyone else that opportunity now was there.
Now I know that I needed to become active in life. To join groups ( aside from church! ). I see now that a sense of community is built around being doing things together, memberships, clubs, hobbies. But it isn’t the same. I think many of us want to feel as though we belong. Whether is’s to our family we are born into or to the one we choose. This is part of why cults, churches, organizations, teams, are all so popular. They accept us and welcome us in. The unloved, the misunderstood, the different. We all want to belong.
It’s almost like Mr. Rogers had something with his line ‘won’t you be my neighbor’.
Man do I hate that sentence. It takes away from what you are feeling. As though you don’t have a right to how you feel. Just because someone else may have it worse. Sort of like how we ought to be grateful to have a plate of Brussel sprouts because the kids are starving in Ethiopia and they would love to have our Brussel sprouts! Coughbullshit cough
As the years have gone by I find myself looking for the silver lining for the good out of any situation. It makes it easier to be happy when I look for the good, the positive. I still catch myself thinking along the lines that it could be worse. It irks me because I have a right to feel whatever I may be feeling without having to give up those emotions for someone who is worse off.
We all have to right to our feeling regardless of other less fortunate. Yes, we shouldn’t wallow. Yes, we should hold a hand out to help others. But we have the right to a cry day. To a big workout venting our anger or whatever else may be going on inside us.
We have the right to our feelings and emotions regardless of what others are going through. Telling children, anyone that it could be worse shows you don’t recognize and value their right to their feelings. Don’t get me wrong there is a huge difference between feeling your emotions and living in an unhealthy rut crying the same song and dance routine over and over without learning from the experience. Those make me want to slap the cryer in the face with a chair. So don’t diminish your feelings just because someone else has it worse. Acknowledge yourself and take from it what you can at the moment.