The War of Good and Evil in my family


The previous blog was a background scenario that has come to mind, against which I could make some sense of some early impressions in my life.  These are the particular experiences and impressions I needed to understand, to make sense of what happened in my life.

My grandmother was almost as important in my life as my Mother was.  But Mother seemed to be afraid of her at times.  Grandma took care of me until I was 6 months old, when my mother was in danger of losing her life from childbirth.  I was born in 1924, the oldest of 4.  My mother was born in 1892, and her mother, my grandmother, before the civil war, in 1855.  I was as much at home in either household.  I loved  her, but in another way, I feared her too.

She held a Bible reading hour, with prayer every morning, I think it was from 9 to 10, actually.  We all learned to read from the Bible, and took our turns.  She held the prayers, and it gave me the impression that she was God’s watch dog over all the people in her life.  She prayed as if to confess any wrong doing, her own, but also anything she took as wrong doing by any of us.  If she saw it or got wind of it that is.  No one wanted Grandma to tell God on us.  I honestly and truly felt that God was like that, ready to teach us our lesson, punishing, not forgiving, and watching us like a hawk for anything to find fault about.  I never prayed, nor would others.  My mother was often a target, as if there must be some kind of perfection she should have had, and never did have.  Even at an early age, it did not make sense for my mother to be held to be so wrong for things that were more like nit picking over any possible lack or shortcoming.  Mother was very affected by my grandmother’s disapproval, as if God was the one disapproving of her.  Grandpa and my Dad refused to even stay in the house for her Bible reading and prayer hour.  At least they did not have to hear her tattle on them. It was not exactly fire and brimstone, but more that no one could ever be good enough for God’s approval, and Grandma was praying for us to be good enough to be on the approval list.  My sister was 4 years  younger, and remembers learning to read from the Blible, but not the prayers, which may have only been going  on until I was 8 or so.  My two brothers were in on this only when they were real little, as if they could choose to go off and help Dad or Grandpa, if they wanted to.  So, of the 4 of us, only I had these impressions about her prayers, and as if Mother was mostly the target.

Yet, I learned to cook, bake bread, and all sort of household stuff from grandma, not from mother.  She would let us help when we must have been far more trouble than we were any actual help to her. I even got to help with an antique hand-hewn wooden-beam-constructed loom to weave rugs on.  I was allowed to touch anything I wanted, and could play with even nice things, if I would be careful.  She never punished us or found fault as if for us to see it coming from her.  It had been only told to God, but that was the end of it.  It never even seemed strange to me as a child.  Prayer hour was an ordeal, though.

When I was older, 17 and 18, Grandma had fallen and broken her hip, and came to live with  us.  She had severe cataracts, and became very hard of hearing.  She was in a wheel chair or bedridden.  I used to volunteer to skip church to stay at home with her, and it was gratefully received by my mother.  But, she began to tell me about her life, one part was about her first teaching position for a man who ran the light house who tried to treat her as if she was his wife.  No one knew about that but me.  She even cautioned for me never to tell my mother about it, and I am quite sure that I never did.  She told me of another time she went skinny dipping with her clothes on her head, to avoid a 7 mile walk to town to go by the bridge.  But she was spotted, and had to swim way downstream and come out of the river after dark.  The men in town who had spotted her said it was the best thing that had happened all summer, while the women were furious with her, and gossiped about it.  She told me many things she remembered.  I even heard about her marriage trip in a covered wagon in 1883.  Mother had never known about most of it.

My grandmother was a tall woman, whom everyone seemed to look up to.  She was born from a third wife after her father had been a widower twice.  The home had 4 children by the first wife, born from 1842 to 1850.  The second wife, a widow, brought 5 children, his brother’s children of about the same ages to the second marriage, and they had one more child in 1852.  The third wife was quite young to suddenly have all those children.  My grandmother, her oldest, was born a twin, but only she survived, her brother the twin, and two more brothers died young, and then there was one more much younger brother and sister by 1868 when her father died. Her mother, my great grandmother, died about 1880 or earlier.

I tell the dates for a reason.  Back then, women could not own property, and yet it was inherited by the 3 living children of the third wife jointly. My grandmother had become a teacher at an early age by finishing the 8th grade, the highest education available there at that time.  The only job with an income for women then was teaching.  She had taken a job as a tutor for the children of  a widower running a light house on Lake Michigan who wanted a young wife.  As best I could understand that situation, living in the light house was a remote place, and it was difficult for her to leave.  It was known that the man hoped to marry her, but she stayed there until she was able to get away.  When she left that job, her reputation was tarnished in the sight of the people living in those times.  She had been living in a situation where her morals were then questioned, even though she had refused the marriage.  Her shame and wording of having told me this sounded as if she may have been raped,or at least had more of a relationship than she told me.  When her mother died she ran the farm and continued to teach.  She had hired a man known to her family for the farm work. He then had his brother there sometime later for a visit.  When the brother proposed to her, she was an old maid, 27 years old in 1883.  She felt no one in the area would have married her.  She left the farm in care of the man she had hired, and her husband and she took her younger brother and sister, with whatever household belongings to another state, a long journey in a covered wagon.

Before long, her brother took payment, earned by her teaching,  for his portion of the inheritance from her, and moved West.  The deed still had his name on it with hers.  Her sister, only 16 then, took her payment for her portion of the inheritance from her when she married at age 20.  Grandma continued to teach, and in due time traded the farm in Michigan straight across for the one that became their home for as long as they lived.  It was traded to her husbands sister and her husband, who moved away. Legal problems were solved by men signing the deed exchange.

Add to this, that when a cousin died out in the Kansas territory, she located the two daughters with great difficulty, and had them sent by train to become like sisters to my mother and her two brothers.  Few women back then could have pulled all of this off.  She was remarkable, but formidable too.  No one crossed my grandmother.

When she died, I was in the room, and I literally had the sense of her rising out of her body in joy, and leaving by immediately and rapidly crossing the room above our heads.  She was not visible, but her energy was vibrantly alive.  I told my mother, “she is gone now”.

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In the family, after my parents were married, my Aunt, at age 16, was pregnant, and married my mother’s youngest brother, who at age 22 was a handsome state trooper who got a 16 year old girl pregnant.  Grandma and my mother as well, always condemned Harriet for being a designing woman who trapped him into marriage.  He was blameless, and never stood up for her.  The two daughters were also condemned morally for being her daughters, especially the oldest.  All three became alcoholics.  In comparison, my sister and I were favored by my grandmother, and none of the children realized why this was going on.  We were resented, and our cousins were happy to see us get into any trouble.

B was 4 years older than I was, and her 5th husband who was 30 years younger, began to live with her, and she was flattered.  When they finally married, he moved a girl friend in, took control of her life, she did not get to read her mail or emails, or answer her phone.  She died with out her will being found, (if she had one)  and he inherited everything she had.

Her younger sister P, two years younger than I was, had only 4 husbands, divorced and took each them for all they had, became totally estranged from her family, and died alone.  An estranged daughter with several children must have inherited a considerable estate.  Yet the condemnation from my grandmother and even my mother, had done such terrible harm into that family, that in a way, they were victims of it from the time they were born.  My sister and I were held up in comparison to be the favored grand daughters. We were envied, resented, blamed, when we had no idea what was going on, and had not done this ourselves. For all we knew at the time, B and P were probably treated the same way we were. Yet, truthfullly, out of the relationship, we avoided playng with them one on one, and needed to be in sight of the adults.  We certainly came not to trust them.

In my own parent’s home, as the oldest I was held up by mother to be the example, why don’t they do as I would be doing?  Yet I had been given responsibility and authority over them, at an early age.  They all learned to not let me in on any secrets, but if they got in trouble, I was punished for not knowing and telling about it, same as they were.  They somewhat resented me, and somewhat rebelled and did things just in spite of what mother said to them.   We were all  lucky it was not worse than that.For some years, my siblings families were not exactly estranged, but stayed on very limited good terms with each other.  Not that this was caused by condemnation as such, but by favoritism, as if one child is a perfect example of what a child should be, and the other is distinctly not in favor, in comparison.  But, it was a kind of condemnation of the one not in favor, and  it caused resentment and blame toward the favored child, when it was the parent or grandparent who set it up that way.  So, it was not a good thing to be set up as the favored child, either, believe me.

My point in spelling this out more is that those who condemn others have an unseen impact on them, on their souls or on their spirits.  It has energy in it,  it does harm.  But, if we only see someone else as a bad person, and do not see what effect it has on us, when it does have an effect, even if just to feel we are not a good person, or that we are a victim of some sort.  When we really were affected, feel we are somehow less,  by the way we were seen, by how others related to us, and ourselves to them.   It is not that we caused it, but only we can undo the harm it has done to us, or to our relationships with others.

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 I am realizing or remembering or figuring out the ways that my dilemma about my grandmother’s dual attitudes toward my cousins. and the daughters in our family shaped my own concepts.

First, when I was still in my 20ies, a few years after my grandmother died, and after my first guiding dream, I dreamed the same kind of dream about her repeatedly.  But, not the same dream as such.  I dreamed that I was diving into deep very cold and clear water, where I could see clearly, and I kept finding well preserved body parts. as if she had been cut into different pieces and then I was recovering them.  I brought them up and put them on what appeared to be a hospital gurney, as if to put a jig saw puzzle together.  This went on for weeks, with many different parts recovered.  I knew it was her, but her head and face was about the last piece I recovered.

I will digress, in my teens, I had been swimming in the creek with my cousins, realized that B could not swim, and I pushed her out of deep water by walking on the bottom, my head far  underwater, (pushing on her butt), for the distance, not all that far, from where she was screaming and thrashing about, into shallow water. She was taller, so it was not easy to push her out, but I did it.   I had never put that memory as being connected to those dreams, but it was. It was at least one thing I had done right for my cousin.

With each body part of grandma that I had pulled out of the deep cold water, I had also remembered good things about her, things I learned or loved, or had found enchanting on my times of being with her. It was a different way to see and remember her.

After I had the last body part in place on the gurney, she slowly came alive, as if waking from sleep.  Nothing was scary for me about it.  She was a young woman, far  younger than I ever had known her to be, more as she had been in the stories she had told me about her life.  But, she did not know me at all.  It seemed that she went into the after life, that way, and even as it was at that time.

There had also been one other impression of her from a dream,  maybe soon after the body parts were put together and coming alive, when I seemed to dream I heard music, and went out into a field to find where it was coming from, and it was from a coffin that was bouncing around to the music.   I watched, and my grandmother came out of it, dancing, as a young woman, not even noticing me.  I saw her dance off into the field of wild flowers.

Yet, much later, after my third guiding dream, I dreamed of her on the other side, as if she had been reviewing her life, and was ancient, blind, deaf, disabled, and even older than the age of her death.  She was on a cot in  a dark and quiet room, which I took for a place of recuperation.  But, we talked, as we had when she had been near her death, and she told me she was in Hell.   I told her, no, she was all alone there, and it was not Hell.  I came to visit her, as if she were in the hospital, and would feed her a kind of baby food, or hold a glass for her to drink from it.  She was telling me how terrible it had been for her to have been so negative and condemning toward people as if it were from God, and as if that was how God would see  us.  I told her I had learned from her bad example, to not do the same.  I don’t think I said I forgave her, in so many words, and  yet the relating was as if I had.  She gradually could hear me, see me, and was not so disabled, as she believed that she had confessed this as having been so terrible of her.  And, I was saying, I had learned better, because of it.  In due time, it was as if she realized she had put herself in a place she thought of as hell, God had not put her there, and it was time to leave that room and go on with her recuperation. She looked more as she had when I was a child, by then, and did remember me.  It was as if she had gone over her life to learn from it, and wanted me to know she had regretted being so negative and condemning as if it came from God.  It was a joyful good thing for me to see it that way.   I do not think I ever dreamed of her again.

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Now, It was after this that I was still trying to understand or digest all this.  My guiding dreams had all been prior to what was to be learned from them, and were followed by three to four  years of a kind of application into my life, before the next one came.  It may sound as if the insight was established then, but I never could have written about it then as I can now.  The guidance for it came then, the understanding of it came later.

I had to look to the Bible, old testament and new, and to Christianity, for realizing that we are not taught that God is vindictive, condemning, punishing, judgmental; as if we are all falling short of perfection.  People can be like that, but God is not.

After and with my very first guiding dream, I had realized that prayer is the deeply felt needs and hopes of our own hearts, which God hears as a prayer, when we do not even realize it was a prayer.  There are answers which can come to us, as if our unrealized prayer was heard and is answered.  It was the shock of my life up to then, that this is what prayer really is, and what people try to tell us. But it never is what passes for prayer by rote repetition, or by people praying as if to put in words what God must agree to and do because of our say so.

But what about the war in heaven, and good angels and bad angels, if God is not condemning and punishing, vindictive, judgmental?  But angels were?  And we can be.

Then the war in heaven is not of an order of God or Christ against evil  Against angels, yes, and maybe with  us caught up in it.  Evil cannot prevail against God or Christ.  But, between angels, neither side can win.  God must have let it go on as what we and even the angels have to learn.  But, why does it have to be so difficult?

And, out of such gradual thinking and views, I began to get impressions as if it were the history of humanity.  If that background is valid, or even close to the truth, it explains how influenced we all are by the condemnation of others, how it can undermine us, how we can react to it, and in turn, how to turn this around, at least in our own lives.  I could understand Grandma being so capable of good, and yet being so capable of doing harm as well.  And, it can be seen in all  of us, as our human nature, out of which we make our own choices of what kind of people we will be.

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So that about angels is the background I came to see as how I  could understand my grandmother, and learn from what she was in my life.  Yet, if it is not close to the truth, there are a lot more questions to be answered there.

And, I do trust my impressions and inner guidance, after following it for all of my life.   I do realize that God may give me a parable out of which truth can be reflected, before I can understand that which is beyond me.  But, this was all so far beyond my own ideas and concepts that I have to trust it, even if it may not be a whole picture.

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I have many other questions.  Many.  Like prayers.

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