Today, I would like to share the writings of my dear friend and budding writer, Julie Cagwin.
Since I can remember it was “them” and “us”. The differences were always very evident. The strangest part of it all was that we were the outsiders. They were the “in’s”; we were the “outs.”
Being that I already had issues with insecurity, it always frustrated me. I couldn’t understand why they would treat us different and NEVER understood why they were so mean to my dad. But, that was our lot in life. We were “religious”. They were not.
Holidays with them ended after I was in 4th grade. Grandma came over to our house now, we didn’t go there. Things had changed, but it was ok. At least at our house I didn’t feel like I didn’t belong. At our house we weren’t treated like we didn’t belong.
I did miss having them in my life. I loved the ideals of the Norman Rockwell type life. Always, I was wanting that ideal. Also, there were times when I felt like I had lost something. I didn’t understand the change really. I just knew this was the way it was and so life went on.
Through the years, they continued with their ridicule of my dad and the life choices that he made. They criticized the way that he followed after God. “Oh Buddy, he is the preacher man.” Never HEARING his heart they closed their ears; they closed their hearts. They continued on their path. And we, we continued on ours.
Dad and Mom continued to make hard choices, doing what was right, and teaching me by walking out their relationship with Jesus. Often, as I was growing up, I got frustrated. So many of my friend’s parents and so many of my friends lived what seemed such care-free lives, but I didn’t see the freedom in the choices that my parents made. I saw them as “bound up”.
I would have long talks with Dad. Why couldn’t they do all that stuff and not have guilt? Others drink and smoke and it doesn’t bother them. I almost had an envy that they could live a life of sin and I couldn’t. It wasn’t a judgment; it was a frustration. A frustration because I hadn’t let that side of my self die yet. There was still a pull. . . a pull to the world.
I realized as time went on that what seemed like fun often left me feeling empty and alone. What often looked so fulfilling and exciting brought nothing but unrest and the need to do more the next time. The ride only lasted with me for short spans. I would get real glimpses of the world that often scared me.
Today, as a woman, a mom, I believe that that was because of the prayers of my parents. They never stopped praying for me. Praying for protection for wisdom, for guidance; for ways out. God always supplied. I just had to choose it.
When I was in my mid-20’s, I was at my cousin’s funeral and it was one of the last times I had been around them all at once. My cousin was gentle and sweet. I always thought he fit more with “us” then them. His life ended way too early, I think he was only 26 or so.
I don’t remember his funeral much. I just remember being sad. Being sad that someone I really liked wasn’t in Heaven. But, even then I didn’t see what I saw this time. I didn’t see the great divide the way that I saw it at Grandma’s funeral.
It happened again “them” and “us,” but I didn’t really notice. Grandma had asked Dad to do the funeral for her a few years ago. I was so proud of him, and as time went on my respect and gratitude grew.
I looked to my left – across the aisle. It felt like it did when I was a kid, but the gap was so much wider now. They were over there and we were “here”. I could see the years. I could see the life that I would have had if my dad would not have ran to God. That is what he did, he RAN down to the altar of Falls Avenue Church in Waterloo, Iowa. HE RAN away from sin and heart ache and TOWARDS healing and life ever lasting. He chose not only to save his soul, his life, but my kids and his grandkids. His decision to go after God changed the course of my heritage.
I am a 2nd generation believer. Dad and Mom . . . now me. My dad broke the wall and allowed the healing water to flow. The great divide is real – and was so evident at the funeral but Jesus is the boat that would bring them over to us, if they wanted. They could jump in . . . they could get in the lifeboat and come along with us, and I pray they will.
Until that day we will keep going forward away from what was and into a world full of new hope and promise. The divide. . . life and death.
”Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;
For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:”
I choose life.
If you would like to connect with Julie or read more of her writings, you can find her at www.juliecagwin.blogspot.com.