As I wrote about in my last post The Battle For The Mind, memories have been streaming through my brain lately about my dad and some of his struggles. I wrote about him in my book The God of All Comfort, but for some unknown reason I’ve yet to really say much about him since I started this blog back in late 2015.
But due to the “down” feelings that have come upon me starting around Thanksgiving this year, and then a comment made by one of my cousins a few weeks ago, I’ve suddenly really been feeling that I need to jot down some of the things I remember about dad. My prayer? That somehow the things I’m writing about will help those of you who are struggling with those “blue” days, and will help you realize that even though it may seem like life has taken some really wrong turns that God’s eyes are upon you, and He always has a plan for your life. His plan is not to harm you, but to bring you to a place where your eyes can be opened as to how He truly has been with you all along (Jeremiah 29:11).
Funny thing is, I really don’t know much about my dad. Back when my sister and I were growing up, times were different, and our parents never really talked about experiences in their childhood. Or perhaps it was just our parents…
I know I was born in Newton, Iowa, and I remember our house had a fish pond, lots of flowers that I remember my dad working on often, a few fruit trees and a sandbox to play in. We also had a little cottage on our property where my dad’s mother lived. While I don’t remember a whole lot from back then (we moved when I was just 5 years-old), I remember I would wander down to grandma’s cottage occasionally and she would give me milk just taken out of the freezer – it was sooooo good!
I remember tornadoes, and recall my mom, sister and I hunkering down in our little cellar, as dad roamed around and around upstairs, coming by often to give us updates. One time a huge tree fell down close to our house which was really scary!
I remember dad loved the outdoors, and almost every weekend when the weather was decent we would go camping as a family. No trailer – just a nice tent. I have some memories of our camping weekends where dad would carry me on his shoulders as we would go for a walk, or down to the lake where we would go swimming.
Dad had worked for many years at Maytag, which was the main place of employment in Newton back then. And I remember a couple of my aunts and uncles, but none of them really very well.
I do remember snakes – it seemed like too many snakes. Mother was terrified of them, and that seemed to pass along to me and my sister, unfortunately. Sometimes they would lay on our back patio in the summertime which freaked us out, and one time I was wandering down to our sandbox and almost stepped right on one! I screamed, ran back into the house, and mother called dad to come home from work to try and find it. I don’t remember if he ever found it or not.
Mostly I remember feeling as though we were happy there – as a family.
However one day things changed. My mom had been born in Norway, and a couple years prior to marrying my dad had just arrived in the United States. She was really missing the climate of Norway. Newton back then was mostly farmland, and mother was missing the ocean – we were so far away! So one day I was told we were going to be packing up and moving all the way to the west coast – Seattle, Washington.
I was 5, and my sister only a baby. What was going to happen there?