My name is Heidi. I am a forty-two year young single mom of a four year old. I am and have always been a reader, a thinker, a learner; a person in question…one who asks ‘Why?’ My little Logan does not fall far from the tree.
I was born and reared in the Flathead Valley in Northwest Montana. Spending nine years of my roaring twenties on the beautiful island of Maui, my thoughts on God were groomed by the ‘Aloha’ spirit of its diverse cultures and residents. God was abundant in nature and seemed to reside inside of my heart rather than a building darning stained glass windows and ornate, gold crosses. I explored many new age ideas, including meditation, chanting mantras, fasting and channeling energy through chakras, just to name a few.
I avoided organized religion like the plague. I had my reasons. In short, my mother’s parents disowned her when she left their church at the age of twenty-two, when she chose life. She married in May. I was born in November. You do the math. To this day, my grandmother and an uncle and his family reside in Kalispell. I do not know them. I did meet my grandparents once. I was in my early twenties and wrote a letter asking if I could meet them. They replied and welcomed my request. My short visit was odd. I felt like a stranger. When I asked about the framed photographs of smiling faces that hung on their walls, my grandmother simply stated, “Those are our grandchildren.” There were no photos of me and my brother. When I was in the ninth grade, I recall my mother receiving a large yellow envelope containing many school photos that she had sent to her parents over the years. The letter stated that the church had encouraged them to sever the ties. I think burning the photos in an oil drum, in the privacy of their own backyard would have been a wiser, more ‘Christian’ choice. There is a fine line between church and cult.
My mother never talked about church or God. She did, however, want me and my brother to be exposed to God and the teachings of Jesus. She sent us to the neighborhood church for Sunday school. We were baptized and confirmed Lutherans. We never attended church as a family. The yearly twenty-minute prayer said by my religious step-grandmother at Thanksgiving dinner was met with eye-rolling disdain, as we knew a cold feast was in store. God seemed like a visitor that frequented the homes of others, not mine.
So, here I am. I find myself seeking. I pray every day, but something is missing. I want answers. I yearn for a journey. I am taking that first step of my thousand-mile journey by going to church. In one hand, I am holding the tiny fingers of my blond-haired, blue-eyed angel. In the other, I am clutching the dusty Bible that belonged to my paternal grandfather. Let my journey begin.