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Faith Journey in a Parka

By Dorothy Nickel Friesen

I grew up in Minnesota where summer never began before July!  After school was officially over at Memorial Day, the casual time at home on the farm began.  The ground was still cold; the grass was very green; the routines for summer were starting.

Saturday, at our house, was cleaning day.  My mother usually washed the kitchen floor and then vacuumed the living room carpet—an especially contemporary style of turquoise and gray long shag.  My task was to complete dusting every room of the downstairs by noon.  I was allowed to play the stereo with the volume turned up to ease the drudgery of dusting—a task I still do not enjoy.  I sang along with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, thereby learning some of the great chorales of the church, or Tennessee Ernie Ford, also learning some of the favorite gospel songs of the evangelical church.  Music was making its imprint on my soul.

After lunch, however, I needed to either go to my bedroom and read or go outside and play since Mom took a nap in the living room.  All three of us siblings needed to find something to do!  My favorite early June after-lunch activity was to go outside with Dad’s winter parka and a blanket.  I found the thickest grass, the driest grass (not near where the snowbanks had melted in the last month), put down the blanket and the parka.  Then I lay down and zipped up the parka with my feet sticking out but the very large parka holding the rest of me snugly and warmly. I stared at the very blue sky and white puff clouds.  It was so relaxing.  It was so warm.  It was a time of imaginary thinking.  What shapes did the cloud resemble?  Would airplanes fly too high?  What birds were flying into the sky and swirling back to the farm?  Would my dog or cats find me?

I think that’s how I remember my faith journey during those formative years.  I was wrapped up in God’s love and safely held by my family, by the warm sun, and by the earth which gave me a foundation for life.