I can't change how people choose to see things. I can choose to forgive. I may even be the lucky one. As the scapegoat I was sent out and away, shunned by all sides and made to carry the guilt of the entire situation on my head. But I was sent away, out into the wilderness where I cried, I mourned, and I was able to heal instead of harbor resentment and hatred.
From there I began to rebuild, and pray for forgiveness. I would pray so that I could forgive. Then I began to feel restored and my Father in heaven began to help me see myself the way He does. I don't have to carry the pain; I only need from time to time to explain the scars. Hopefully, in doing so, I can prevent some of history's mistakes from invading our tomorrows...
It's our turn now, put down the rocks, share the gift.
Use your imagination, or consider this a dream. But something here seemed very real once, a long time ago...
There once was a little house on a little block in a little town in the middle of nowhere and in it lived a little girl. No one outstanding or different, she was probably much like your own daughter might be. The little girl walked to catholic school with her Mom's youngest brothers who lived ‘round the corner. She went to Sunday Mass with her Mother's Father, Grandpa was an elder in the parish. The little girl's God Mother was her Mother's closest sister and her God Father was her Father's only brother. This little girl was the oldest in a family of five and the first grandchild on both sides.
At her home they always hosted Sunday dinner with grandparents or aunts and uncles, or friends and neighbors. She knew from her Father's stories that she was part of a special family with great generational pride for their name. There was history and mystery in this and much to live up to. She knew from her Mother that she would always be cared for, because she was part of a large and close knit clan.
Into security and love she was born and in all of that she flourished. This little girl was not shy, there was no reason to be – she was loved and so she loved. When bullies would follow her home, her uncles would threaten to beat them up and the bullies would leave her alone. When Mom and Dad went out, her uncle and his girl would come to play and put her to bed. The little girl's brother and sister made her laugh and they made her cry and they made her mad and even sad sometimes, but they were always around. They were family.
The little girl marveled at her Pop-Pops' war medals. Pop was her Father's daddy and he would reflect on what the medals meant and he would talk about the lessons bestowed upon him by his grandfather. Lessons of courage, valor, and the importance of defense and defending. The medals would be her brothers someday and he would tell his children of their meaning and the gallancy of the Vezelay men and the reasons Pop had to risk his life in what was known as the Great War. The little girl would get giddy with glee when her Mother's mom talked about who would wear her ring when she'd gone. It was a beautiful ring that grandma's grandmother had passed down to her when she was just a young woman. The little girl knew she would someday wear that ring because those special trinkets always skipped a generation. The little girl's mother's ring would then go to her daughter in keeping with tradition. That is how it was, they were family.
They would all go to the cemetery at the start of each season, all but winter which was forgone for Christmas Holiday. There, the ladies would pray for the souls of old and the men would talk of what each person who had gone before them was like, and how long their term in purgatory might be. The little girl would skip around the graves and distribute carnations in the vases, knowing one day she would lie with them and they all would become a part of each other because, they were family.
She knew the dark side too; life was not always peaches and cream. There were fights and arguments and sometimes people didn't talk to each other for days. Aunt Annie needed to be taken care of because she had married a bum. And Uncle Joe, though great fun at parties, had occasion to drink too much. The cousins were ruffians and most of the nephews ran holes in the knees of their jeans so they couldn't be passed along. The girls were too screamy or too giggly, depending on which aunt you talked to and each generation started sooner than the next... whatever that was supposed to mean. But it all eventually comes around because, they were family.
Are you getting the picture? This isn't just a quaint little story. This was the start of life for Kathrine. Some of the details might seem sketchy, but the feeling that you get about this little dream are as real to today as they were when Theodore and Nadine were raising their little family on the far south side of Chicago. Kathrine was then seven years old.
Do you remember a time when life simply felt good, right, warm, and secure? Do you remember belonging, feeling affirmed, when life was perfect, or perfectly imperfect, but everyone was connected? Back then, Kathrine thought everyone's life was like this, or it should be. She didn't know it any other way. Today, now, I still think it should be...
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As a communications specialist and trained lay-minister who enjoys the avocation of studying personalities and family connections; Kimberley is endlessly curious about how to heal people's hurts through conversation. Like her father before her, she enjoys debate and the flushing out of ideas with friends and loved ones. Connections and conversations help us to better appreciate one another and to see the "why" in our choices. It is this quest to understand the people that she loves that drives Kimberley Avallon Schumacher to write and speak about her own experiences by way of storytelling now today.