I don’t think many are interested in my life as they are interested in theirs. With this, I’m going to add a new catagory to my blogs that will be revealing (to myself as well) as never before. It may greatly help your own life.
I am going to cover religion (faith) as it affected me personally – as it cannot affect anyone any other way. Explaining may be difficult but truthful from my more mature and objective understanding of the world.
I came from a desparately poor family. My parents were Canadian Indians who struggled against the general chaos inherent on Indian reservations due to the Indian Act, Canada’s shameful, despotic legislation. I am also part Norwegian. I still have pictures of both sides of my family. My mother was a short full blooded Shuswap Indian from British Columbia’s interior and I have old, stiff, proper pictures of my grandfather in a British army uniform showing my fathers side of the family. It must have been difficult for my great grandfather to be with an Indian woman back then. My Uncle showed me where my grandfather lived in a small one room log house. He pointed to the Indian village, then pointed to the log house way up the hill where my grandmother and grand father lived their lives. I thought to myself, “Oh so they were ostracized in a way, apart from the Indians. It may have been just as difficult for my father (half- breed) to live with my mother in small BC towns due to the outright prejudice back in the 20’s.
My parents made a very bold decision when they were young. They decided it would be better if their children grew up off the Indian reservation. They moved off reserve so their children would have opportunity. I am forever grateful to them for making that major choice. My mother was a domestic housewife for the most part, but helped with labour as she was allowed by the then cultural taboos of society. My father was a logger, long shoreman, rum runner, apple picker, – a drinker and fighter. He drank hard and lived hard, but mostly away from us, his children. We saw little of him. A few times a year he would come and move in. In his later years, he moved in several months for apple picking season. My father eventually died hard, killed in a fight, run over by a train in some brawl in Seattle, Washington.
I was 14 when that happened and my mother died of depression two years later when I was 16. I left ‘home’ and started working in farmer’s fields to survive. It was during this tumlutous times I looked up at the starry night above, one cold midnight and wondered about what life was about, where would I go?
My pre-teen remembrance was being told to kneel on the living room floor to “pray” for forgiveness and to thank God for the food we would eat. My mother made us younger kids do this in her religious moments around the age of 5 to 12. I always wondered “why” and resisted the forced submission by smirking with my other brothers and sisters whenever possible. We laughed at this silly action which was followed by the force and fear of spankings we knew were coming if we disobeyed too openly. Their was no answer that made sense but I had to submit and I didn’t like it.
Now here I was, at 16. My father was dead. My mother was more dead than alive by her constant sleeping, drinking and prescription drugs. She kept talking about some, “dark side.” I was irritated at her for not getting up and doing something.
It was at this time at midnight was walking along an orchard road where I grew up, in Winfield B.C., looking and thinking of a bigger picture, – of “God”. I wasn’t afraid. I just didn’t know what to do next. My future was a blank. I tried to think of things and “God” was just a thought, and idea in my mind, the only early training I had of a bigger picture.
It was here, alone that night I decided my fate and made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. At 16 I tried to think of bigger ideas and the biggest one I could imagine was a God, an all enveloping something as I had heard. Despite having resisting this idea while being forced as a child, all alone in the middle of the night, I judged the idea itself and said to myself, “Okay. God” and accepted it.
From then I felt freer, uneasy but I just joined others with this idea. There was also an uneasiness so quiet it was easy to disregard. Instead I let myself believe that word, God in my mind was “up there.” I didn’t know how it could possibly help me but I felt better accepting what I had pumped at me for years. I didn’t know or care I just disregarded process of thought.
I know now feeling freer was not because there was a God, but merely the fact I did not allow myself to be in suspension, but made a decision. That decision to accept “God” would hold a ruinous future for me but I did not know it there in the middle of the night. I returned to the house I lived and didn’t tell anyone. I felt ashamed to admit such an acceptance of a God to anyone. Something about the whole thing felt wrong but easy to ignore. In the days that followed I said nothing about my “conversion” and soon forgot about deciphering what it meant. On my own I started going to different churches to see if I could find anyone who thought the way I did. That too was a mistake, but much less dangerous than the one I made in the middle of that night looking at the stars.