207 Weeks in Michigan

Lake Michigan

This is available to us any night of the week. Well, it used to be. This will be our last night in Michigan.

I used to take Michigan for granted. Growing up here I just thought all states were filled with endless natural beauty and small freshwater oceans. Then I met and married a man from Illinois and learned that cornfields the size of small oceans were also possible. We lived in that world for fourteen years before giving Michigan another try.

It made sense at the time. We had no family left in Illinois. The combination of becoming parents, having a sister in Michigan who was battling breast cancer, and our shared willingness to do something “different” with our lives is what paved the way. And after four years, we have learned that what’s on the inside really is what matters most- even when it comes to places.

Don’t worry Michigan. You will always be the pretty one. Continue reading

Lost In Translation

094

When I was in the third grade my family moved a few streets over. My parents bought a house up on a hill, surrounded by woods and next door to a pond. Down the road was a cross-country skiing business, and my new bus stop was at an apple orchard. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

In autumn there was a lot of traffic to that orchard. There were also a lot of new faces on our street as workers came up to work for the apple season. They brought their families and lived in housing at the orchard. Their children went to school with me during that brief time- and I hated it. There were so many kids that we had to have our own school bus.

That was the problem.

The regular bus picked us up sometime before 7:00. We would end up at Kellogg Elementary in time for the older kids to catch a shuttle bus to the high school. This was the time they also sent out a bus to our orchard, picking us up around 8:00. You would think I would have embraced the opportunity to sleep in; but because my older siblings needed to catch that shuttle bus, I would have to ride the 8:00 bus alone.

There was one family who lived year-round in a house next to the orchard. They were always kind to me, and I even visited their home a few times. The rest were only there for apple season. They were strangers. Most of the kids didn’t speak English, but the older boys constantly said things to me anyway. There were a couple of small boys who threw rocks at me; and a group of girls who stood in a circle, always smiling and giggling. I could tell the girls were friendly, but they had little more to offer than encouraging expressions while the boys were harassing me.  Continue reading

Heaven and Hell

518

I started thinking more seriously about heaven and hell around the age of seven. I didn’t grow up in a religious household, but I did own a bible. I even went to church without my family, securing rides from an older couple who made my salvation their personal mission. I had known about death for a while, but it wasn’t until around second grade that my investigative skills started to catch up with my natural curiosity.

I’ve always liked to think about things. I mean, just sit in one spot and work out a theory until it becomes exhausting. I truly believed I could reason out the answer to anything if I thought about it long enough. I still believe it, but I have since figured out that the length of time it takes to reason out an answer may vary; from a moment, to an entire lifetime. Sometimes the answer is that the answer is out of reach- which can be a surprisingly satisfying conclusion.

The information a seven-year old can find in the bible about eternity is disappointing. Up until then I had pulled most of my knowledge from television. Adults were always talking about heaven as this magical place where everyone meets up someday. I couldn’t find that story in the bible.

If it is true, and you think about it long enough, you might believe that heaven must be some kind of matrix. I prefer my relationships to exist in mutual reality, so I found a strange relief in the bible’s lack of detail. The bible focuses less on joyous reunions and more on golden streets and days without night. It looks like praising God 24/7 could cut into our social life a bit, but I hear it’s amazing. Continue reading