The past couple weeks after returning from a relaxing vacation on Lake Michigan (yes, actually relaxing, even with the baby and three year-old and cramming as many in-laws into a one-bathroom beach house as possible) have been dynamic.
Something I’ll mention even though it occurred in June but has widened the chasm I feel between myself and the institutionalized church: A friend of ours and his wife work as house parents to children whose parents are unable to care for them temporarily, with an organization funded by the Church of Christ. He visited us recently and expressed the dire need for more house parents and really hoped we would seriously consider taking on the role. We prayed, submitted applications and references, and went down to visit the facility. For numerous reasons we understood that, though we’d probably be good at the actual work, it was not something we could do at this point in our lives. Still, when Joshua asked if he could attend mass as well as the Church of Christ services, we were basically told by the president of the board that some of their well-endowed donors would immediately cut off their donations if they found out there were “Catholics” working for the organization. How Christian of them. Unfortunately, this seems to be the norm for the Body of Christ, that is, ALL those professing faith in Christ. They seem, at least in a country entrenched in identity politics, to want to be defined more by their factions than by their common Savior.
Feeling a surge in momentum to pursue a Master’s in creative writing, during this past month I’ve spent a lot of free time in anticipation and gratitude, finally feeling excited about the direction of my life after my children grow out of babyhood. I’ve been researching schools, contacting former professors from my college days a seeming lifetime ago, ordering transcripts, gathering potential references, getting Joshua stoked for a big change, and–the best part–compiling a manuscript. Do any of you beloved readers have MFA’s or have gone to grad school while raising a family? I’d love to hear about your experiences.
Meanwhile, my sister publicly announced her campaign to run for state senate next year. In her biography on her campaign page, among her impressive qualifications, she mentions that she was once a homeless child and a human trafficking survivor. This news, unbeknownst to all of us in the family, has been the source of shock and turmoil and even doubt, but unfortunately very little compassion. With all of this past trauma coming to light, my dad has just been informed of the rape, something I was mostly hoping he would never have to discover. (Just for the record, my sister will have a ‘D’ next to her name, and my father, who ran for office in 1988, had an ‘R’. Yes, we are a divided family in so many ways.)
Oh yeah, one more thing. Remember that beach house? Well, just found out two days ago that I’m
2017, Amaya Engleking
*The cover image is my brilliant, beautiful, and brave sister.