A Gift Or A Curse? (Part 1 of 2)

Okay, I’m ready to confess a secret. It’s not something I openly admit in my judgmental, Christian family, but one, nonetheless I have. I read my horoscope everyday. There I said it. It’s out in the open. I know most of you are thinking “Big whoopty-doo!” and that’s fine and dandy, but you don’t walk in my shoes. My shoes were taught to walk in the other direction away from these things. These things are no-no’s.

You’re probably also wondering how I can worry about things as slight as astrology when I cuss like a trucker, if I claim to be a Christian. First, let me clear up any misconceptions if there are any: I don’t claim to be a Christian; and in no way, shape, or form, would even try to compare myself to my family members who do set an outstanding example of what being a ‘true’ Christian means (And what I mean by that is that they prove kindness, forgiveness, discretion, obedience, and servitude everyday). I would never, ever want anyone searching for answers in that area to use me as an example! I believe in God, but have had some troubling experiences concerning church and am confused about how religion fits into the picture. I’m still searching for my own personal answers, am probably more a part of ‘this world’ than I should be if I desire closeness to Him, haven’t learned how to curb my temper or my mouth, but still…there is that underlying fear of hell and all things evil—these mystical things that we are told to stay far away from lest we open ourselves up to diabolical influence—that leaves me cautious, which I tip-toe around.

I’ve had a lot of confusion about this, and I’m going to tell you why. I was not raised this way. This was a way I learned to be after I was well into my teens and my brother, sister, and parents became reborn Christians. Soon it seemed everyone in the family followed suit, including me for a time, except for my brother, Allyn. He seemed content to continue living by the motto “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” and I’m sure added “I’ll worry about the hereafter then”. Up until that time I lived what I considered to be a normal—albeit dysfunctional life—completely unafraid of the future, because no one yet had the opportunity to put the literal fear of hell in me. In fact, mysticism was a big part of my life because of my mother and her little ‘gifts’; gifts she would eventually completely denounce.

My mother was a very, colorful person. She could captivate an audience with her presence. In a lot of ways I’m like her. It’s hard not to become a people person, when the biggest influence in your life is a person of the people; and my mother was. She’d been drawing audiences as far back as her childhood when she began to show signs that she was gifted in music; though marrying my father back in 1946 put an end to the dream of ever turning it into a successful career. Instead she relocated to the Midwest with him and began having children like stair steps. Still, she tried to incorporate music into her life as much as she could, and had her own country and western band for quite a while. When that wasn’t taking up her time, she loved being the center of attention in our neighborhood, which I can only assume amused her greatly.

Ours was the house on the block that all of the neighbors flocked to for entertainment. At a time when women still resembled June Cleaver and were stay-at-home-moms, wearing aprons in the kitchen, getting their hair done every week at the salon, and minding their manners, my mom was the contrary. She played gigs in taverns every weekend, could cuss better than a sailor, talked openly about sex at the dinner table, and was flawed with honesty that could cut you like a knife. She was also a bit of a hero with the women, for kicking the shit out of the lady down the street everyone was intimidated by who’d been bullying the others. Poor Bitch. She never stood a chance when she took on my 5’2 Mom! I believe it was these things that made my mother so interesting to be around, because most people still found them unspeakable. That, and there was always a welcoming, pot of coffee ready for those who showed up unannounced, plenty of gossip to be shared, music to be heard from mom on her piano, and a standard deck of cards ready to tell someone’s fortune.

My mother firmly believed in mysticism; things not seen or understood by most, she embraced. She said she always had believed, was always sensitive, but it took her first husband coming back to her after his death before she grasped it completely. This military man she married at the tender age of 17, would accidentally kill himself six months later while cleaning his rifle (This death forever haunted my mother and would incorporate itself into all our lives, as he’d been the only child of country people, my mother continued to be apart of their lives until their deaths many years later, and all of us, including our father, would know them as family). After his death my mother swore he returned to her, and I believed this one thing above others is what started her spiritual journey.

My mother always ‘knew’ things. She had a sense about people and places, and had a gift for foretelling. Sometimes they would come in dreams, and sometimes while she was awake. Sometimes when she’d tell fortunes. She had ‘feelings’ about people when something was going on with them, knew when my brother got hurt in Vietnam before she was notified, and predicted my brother-in-law’s accidental death while telling fortunes the day before it occurred. She was spookily accurate, and because of this I grew up believing that these things were real, did actually exist, and there were just some people with mind’s open enough to have this gift.

Was it a gift or a curse? Was it even real? These are questions that would come into play after my brother introduced the family to the Lord and scripture. The Bible said it was wrong to seek out seers for information, that astrologers and psychics were the work of the devil. That any and all of this should be denounced; and it quickly was in our home. My parents did a complete 180, as did several of us. The question burned in my mind constantly with everything and anything I chose to do after, “Will I go to hell for this?”

Part Two: Continued tomorrow…

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