How pleasant one looked on Sunday transpired as my Mother’s definition of religion, for she always had us corresponding dresses she had made, in different colors and clothed to the hilt; with pristine bonnets, fluffy petticoats, matching purses, white gloves, lace socks, and patent leather shoes. Subsequently, our family occurred excessively dressed on numerous Easter Sundays! Furthermore, even in the summertime she would fashion interchangeable matching outfits for all of us. Yes, back then, generally all events revolved around church, like the majority of other respectable southern people.
Unfalteringly, during my Dad’s younger years, my grandfather would travel with him and my uncles to political rallies; whereupon they would sing for the crowds. Along with singing at church functions, revivals, and other social events, all added to the motivation of why my Dad loved entertaining and all and sundry loved Mr. Alfred and his guitar. Nevertheless, even though my Dad came from a sizeable, extremely religious family, (eighteen brothers and sisters that appeared highly respected), he somewhat walked on the wild side or insistently in the middle of the road.
Due to his early musical training, helped program him on a lingering road amusing others with his talent; for in the army during post World War II, he conducted a band and managed a nightclub in Germany that entertained quite a number of service people for several years. After our family relocated back to the states, this musical talent continued with him, producing ongoing dilemmas for him; decidedly, with my mother, Julia. Fittingly, pernickety comes to mind regarding her, for she lived in an obstinate, square box with her stanch, no onsense mind-set; in effect, clashing with my Dad’s nature. She never concurred with him hanging out singing at the state line bar on Saturday night; whereby, inevitably the next morning proceeding in his Sunday best, proficiently to sing in the choir at the church. Indeed, I can recall from an early age my Dad always combining religion and “party time” as a natural avenue for him. Now, Mr. Alfred felt unconcerned about this equation; despite Julia being consumed to the contrary.
Thus, began the ‘Clash of the Titans’ that started a slow burn between my parents. Unambiguously, to add to this difficulty, like endless couples in the ’50s and ’60s – “Liven’ the Dream” – the American dream, came crashing down; with mortgages, bills, vacations, children demands, etc. , they became largely over extended and superfluously wanted to maintain appearances. That time in history indulged in desperately cultivating an elusive lifestyle that essentially became alluringly programmed by the fanciful invention of TV.
Concurrently, with shows like, Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet, Leave it to Beaver, and I Love Lucy, promoting an idealization to folks “what family life should look like;” patently, prevailed as mainly all phony shows that presented enchanting, stylish lifestyles that, in truth, created internal frustration for quite a few. My parents, chiefly my mother, functioned as being the perfect case-study for the stereotype of the wannabes; thus, feeding into TV’s fabricated lies. Over time they did their utmost not to have arguments in front of us; still, I explicitly remember one late Saturday night Mr.
Alfred came home and Julia proceeded to smash a bottle of champagne, (they happen to be saving for their fiftieth wedding anniversary), along with a highly-crafted, vintage clock, all over the floor, erupting into the beginning of the end. They persistently struggled to preserve our family union; still, inevitably they sadly divorced when I turned twelve. Essentially, time passed and they remarried; yet, consequently, divorced again. Ultimately, this persistent roller coaster ride twisted into the death of my young innocence and my childhood values that y parents would always be there within the assurance of a family unit. A Supernatural phenomenon Prevalently, Marsha, my sister and I decided to reside with my Dad. Still, with our teenage years upon us, logically we should have acquired an enormous amount of discipline. Regrettably, with our Dad being a partying divorced man, he stayed gone the majority of the time, leaving us unsupervised. Expectedly, like various other teens, our behavior endured as being unruly at times; thus, my relatives and the majority of the town peered on disapprovingly.
I can still hear my Aunt Lula Bell declaring, “Mr. Alfred is not ‘doin right by you girls, running the roads – leaving y’all alone – now y’all mind yourselves and go to church to make everything right. ” At the end of the day, in the south, going to church withstood as the inherent goal of making it right with the LORD. Periodically, I suppose my Dad’s conscious would perplex him; therefore we would travel to my Grandparent’s on numerous Sundays. Extensively, after church and lunch, I could hear my Dad being reprimanded regarding me and my sister by our loving grandmother. Truly, she adored my Dad; however, still had a stern Baptist constitution.
Dramatically, they would be crying in each other’s arms and him swearing to ‘Sugar Mama,’ he would attempt to vigorously scrutinize his fatherly duties for her. Alas, for poor ole’ Mr. Alfred, that frame of mind persisted until he played the next country song; which, undeniably developed rapidly. Still, being teenagers that kind of freedom developed into being fabulous for us; in addition, to having undue charge accounts at various stores. Accordingly, by Mr. Alfred’s ongoing absents, allowed our apartment to become the number one hangout for quite a few teenagers.
During this time, religion had principally faded into the background, as my utmost pursuit consisted of hanging out with my friends. In particular, my girlfriends and I would occasionally drive out to a little airport, adjacent to a graveyard, where a statue of Jesus stood high upon a brick mound. Consequently, one monumental day around the age of fifteen, my girlfriends and I happen to be there acting out, laughing, and kidding around. Impulsively, I ascended up on the mound and extended my hand out to Jesus, reaching out for His hand.
My friend, Jean, suddenly snapped a picture of this stupid, non-thinking pose with her camera; which factually, became the only snapshot she took that day. Afterwards, when she got the photograph developed, the print came out crystal clear of the statue of Jesus, along with showing the immediate vicinity intact; yet, astonishingly, I occurred nowhere in the picture! This eerie, supernatural phenomenon sent shock-waves into my soul that haunted my being for years and still mystifies me to this day. Needless to say, I quickly developed a pristine respect and humbleness for the mystery of Christ!
Irrefutably, that event branded me for life with the knowledge of Christ’s validity and should never become disrespected. Suitably, the Four Tops song, “Reach out I’ll Be There,” became my favorite song. (This marvel of the picture must have made a psychological impression on Jean also; for I ran into her several years ago, and she swiftly brought that incident up during our conversation. ) A Christian Woman’s Place Subsequently, soon after my graduation from high school, I oddly married; which developed into another redundant roller coaster ride of events that basically centered on religion and Mr.
Alfred’s ‘good times. ‘ My husband functioned as my Dad’s best friend and they endeavored to run the roads constantly going to parties, doing “business deals,” and such nonsense. (Looking back now, I believe that man only married me to be close to Mr. Alfred; therefore, he would always stand to become included in whatever ‘party time’ emerged. ) Meanwhile, my Dad’s wife (stepmother) and I persistently attended various church revivals, singing, or other religious events with my young boys. Erroneously, this imbalance evolved into a traumatically, unhealthy vicious cycle, to put it mildly.
I loved my step-mother, Little Precious, as my Dad called her; notwithstanding, she had a one track mind regarding a “Christian woman’s place” and allowed my Dad unlimited freedom; consequently, this gave my husband unending ways to dodge problems with me, for after all, he inevitably was with ‘my father,’ Mr. Alfred. If Little Precious had bashed my Dad over the head with a frying-pan a few times, it would have made an immense difference in my circumstances; unfortunately, that never happened. At the forefront of this situation, my Dad constantly lost money investing in his ‘deals;’ whereupon, he lingered in need of financial assistance.
This became ‘a thorn in my side,’ appearing to be a flawless set-up for my husband, for he concurred as being keen on aiding Mr. Alfred; cunningly coming across as the ‘wonderful one. This alliance facilitated in keeping me ‘in-line;’ so to speak, steadfastly my Dad remained forever assuring me my marital problems were “all in my head. ” He abounded in working his deals that mainly transcended into nothingness or a catastrophe; such as the news that due to a hotel bill, “Mr. Alfred was accosted and thrown in jail in Mexico! As a result, my uncle suffered having to fly down and work through the American Embassy to enable him to bring Mr. Alfred back to the states. Reprehensibly, this all arose due to a con-artist charging over forty-five thousand dollars on my Dad’s credit card; which upon this con’s check-out the card surfaces rejected and when Mr. Alfred arrives the police were waiting. Now, after the fact, it happened the majority of people believed this scandalous event took place due to a drug deal that had gone amiss, thinking that the awkward ‘true story’ being told could not have happened; since nothing could be that dim-witted and asinine.
Of course, the mainstream of people could not comprehend Mr. Alfred’s ability to encounter this type of outrageous incident! Perpetually, when it came to swindlers and charlatans, he inevitably transformed like a magnet towards them. Though, he could charm the pants off of a snake, to put it mildly, he encompassed as being a highly unbalanced individual. In spite of this, personally, when you adore a person, the rose colored glasses influence your emotions, as it did mine. Concurrently, that is why due to my marriage, my Dad grew into a love-hate torment concerning our relationship.
Indeed, grievously, I grew to perceive, even though Daddy loved me, regardless, he loved all others similarly. So, if my marital troubles collided with his e, deal-making lifestyle; all the same, that remained as my unfortunate situation, not his. In addition, through the years, I became conscious that my marital difficulties could not become resolved, no matter how much I would “take it to the LORD, forgive, and pray,” as Little Precious unendingly advised; for this inequality did not work for my situation.
Unavoidably, started growing in an alternative direction, away from the ‘normal’ Southern Christian woman’s subservient lifestyle. In general, due to my upbringing, I arose as being emotionally damaged from my parents’ divorces and sworn I would never allow my children to go through such trauma; therefore, wellintended and stupidly, I stayed in the confusion, trying to count off the years. Thus, I continued to struggle with what I assumed portrayed a Christian woman’s life; yet, always yearning and praying for a sincere loving relationship with my husband.
Notwithstanding, through this extensive journey (eighteen years) I read books relentlessly, talked to numerous counselors, psychiatrist, psychologist, preachers, priests, and prayed persistently. Always searching for answers, while hoping this level of consciousness would cultivate; for I craved an intimate closeness with true love. Alas, my marriage endured as the ideal example of the Bible’s warning ‘not to be unequally yoked together,’ (2 Cor. :14), for we were miles apart in our philosophy and religious beliefs. Conclusively, ‘this brief accounting comes about as merely a tiny proportion of my marital nightmare; however, I wanted to relate how religiously imbalanced those years resided. Still, even though religion appeared to generate problems in my marriage, I devotedly sensed that Christianity had all the answers and in my spirit, I would always gravitate back to researching Christianity’s mysterious evolution.
In due course, I grew outwardly detached from the majority of what “took place as religious;” however, reclusively, I cultivated an intense ongoing search in respects to the mystery of God and Christ. Eventually, after numerous years of this ‘imprisonment,’ gratefully, (thank the good LORD), my marriage mercifully died in divorce. A Divine Encounter Perhaps for numerous people, having that much trauma in a marriage, they would have placed their religion on a shelf to take out occasionally, and move on with their social life after a divorce.
Yet, as I said, I always had a burning desire to discern more than just the normal meaning regarding spirituality. I loved God and Christ dearly, and became plagued with why I did not fit the Christian mold, why I did not fit into the ‘square box” of the Christian life like various other wives. Even still, I relentlessly experienced an enter intuition that there had to be a great deal more. Accordingly, my searching heart persisted, just as it had before hand, continuing my religious studies; however, with a substantial, calmer spirit now, undergoing a refreshing freedom.
Later on, this glorious freedom I had obtained prompted an‘awakening with God. Subsequently, “out of the blue,”Texperienced an H-U-G-E midlife crisis that usually would have taken place with a man; however, my encounter occurred most unexpectedly with the LORD. This happening occurred around Christmas, 1990, and I can remember right before my ‘encounter’ feeling as if I were at a crossroad; praying for guidance concerning life’s numerous meanings, feeling somewhat mystified by the perplexity within the world and such.
I cannot recall exactly what materialize since there transpired a sequence of events that led into the encounter of “my awakening;” however, the power and connection of God’s sexual presence transformed into a reality. This intensity emerged as though my entire world illuminated with a peaceful power. The sun and the moon became conspicuously brighter, the stars in the heavens radiated, the sky danced with glowing, cloud covered angels that seemed to welcome me into an enchanted garden of tranquility that dwelled incredibly real and heavenly divine.