Friday, March 9, 2012

Wings, Fangs, and Flight- Part 1

Have you ever wandered into something and wondered, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’

That’s been, in some ways, the story of my life.

They say babies can sense angels, and while I don’t recall, I’m sure I’m someone who did…

All photos in this post from

Born a month late and having the worst case of jaundice Mom’s doc had ever seen, I came into the world. My name was Charity. It has since become the original name my parents were going to give me: Harmony. That day, I got my first three or four bouquets of roses… among other flowers, the first gifts of my life from human hearts.

My Grama didn’t recall my name when a box showed up for me at her house, at the back gate. All it said was, ‘For Charity,’ and she puzzled a while before realizing it wasn’t from someone thinking she and Grampa needed some help. Now, she can laugh at it, but back when it happened, she was mortified she had forgotten. You see, the reason my name was even Charity instead of Harmony was because the latter would have been combined with the same middle name she carried… and she didn’t like it for years. She didn’t want me ‘saddled’ with it. So, what did my parents do? They thought back to when they were expecting my brother… they had chosen two names: a boy and a girl. Charity was the girl’s name then… so, they recycled it and gave it to me.

Makes it sound special, right? It was, but it didn’t always feel that way. Then, when I changed my name to Harmony, it was my Mom who couldn’t remember what it was for the longest time and several others refused to use it. But that’s getting ahead of the story…

The enemy has been trying unsuccessfully to take me out since I was born. First the jaundice, and then at one, a neighbor kid with a tire iron who told Mom he wanted to see what brains looked like… these early attempts on my life are pretty obvious looking back. ‘There must be something about this child’, satan thought, and tried to take a bite!
Spiritually speaking, I had been ‘born into’ the church; my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were regular Campmeeting and church attendees in the Church of God (Anderson), and I followed suit. This set the stage for a lot of their beliefs which I still cling to, and for upset of other beliefs that I have since shifted paradigm on, with the help of the Holy Spirit. The first such clash came at the age of three… before I even knew what exactly was happening. I was in my rocking chair one day, singing to God. This was pretty normal for me… music has always been a huge part of my life and heart from the very beginning. I was singing in English as well as in a prayer language… I didn’t know that’s what it was called then… but I knew God had given it to me to speak to Him. Well, one of my parents came into the room and castigated me for it, telling me I was using the devil’s language. Spiritually speaking, these are the first fangs I remember coming out from the enemy of my soul, and he used a parent. God had given me wings, and the enemy took a bite right through them.

Achy Breaky Heart - Billy Ray Cyrus.

There was a lot of negative talk about people in the media, and only a few shows and singers were “parent approved.” This went against the grain with my heart and a belief in God’s love of all people from the start… some of this was rebellion, some of it was a prayer warrior’s heart. I had what my friend Lisa calls HIT LISTS… prayer lists for people that were on my heart in the media. I didn’t write them down, usually memorizing them, and several are still on that list of prayers. The perspective of my family seemed to be that people in the media were hopeless if they didn’t already know Jesus Christ going in, and stick with Him. Now, the story is different, but then, that was the impression they gave. Then, fangs bit again. I kept the wings, but they were in hiding.

A month after I turned three, my Dad – who I now call Poppi – was in an industrial accident that changed the course of our family life forever. I have only one memory of him prior to this that stands out at all… one of three or four memories that were prior to the accident. We were at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. I remember not wanting to touch the anemones – which I still don’t want to touch – but I was fascinated with the octopus that was in the tank appropriate to my own height. I reached in gently. I stroked some of the octopi tentacles. As I went to stroke and pet the beautiful and wondrous creature, my Dad next to me watching, I heard someone start to scream at me. Why? “The octopus still has ink in it, you stupid kid!! Get out of there!” My heart jumped, my hand rocketed out of the tank away from the octopus, and for the only time in my life that I ever witnessed it and recall, my Dad… came to my defense. “If there’s ink in the octopus, why is it out here in the petting area? That’s what’s stupid, not my daughter.” A protected and delicious feeling overcame me then… I knew without a doubt my Dad loved me… and then he had his accident.

The accident led to behavior change due to the treatment he needed. His whole personality became different. I didn’t recognize my own father, and after a while, didn’t even remember him other than the Octopus Incident. I still don’t. There is a hint of him being on the boat in the memory I have of ‘driving’ my uncle’s boat as I sat on his lap at the age of two… but I really recall the wheel in front of me and my hands there, inside the hands of my uncle, ‘steering’ down the Columbia River.

With Dad’s accident and the subsequent change in personality, I felt I had lost my father. Fang bite! That one really smarted!! Sensitive a child as I was, I felt my wings had been torn asunder and tossed onto the ground at that point. For years, I did what I could to avoid saying or doing anything to anger or frustrate my parents, on one hand, but on the other, I rebelled because of how confused I was; how hurt I was; I wanted my ‘old Dad.’ I wanted things to stay the way they were before the accident. I wanted life to be better… not harder. We struggled financially and relationally. I ended up having to attend alternative schools because of a combination of my acting out and their thinking I was crazy due to what they now know was fibromyalgia.

You might be asking, well, what happened in school? What happened in church? What about other family? Was there any support at all?

In terms of family, I spent a lot of time growing up with my grandparents… sometimes going to the beach and once to Disneyland, Sea World, and Knott’s Berry Farm. My parents took us (brother, sister and I) to Vancouver, BC a few times, but I don’t recall those trips. I wish I did.

I had a few friends in the early years. Some better than others in how they treated me, but each was important to me.

Lindsay was my first best friend. I don’t remember her. I remember she moved away. I don’t recall having a fit about it and freaking out that I had been abandoned, or my parents’ response to take me to see her in Idaho. I remember Idaho. Vaguely.

Shamanna moved in not too long after that, and because we were neighbors and still small, we became instant friends.

Stay tuned to find out what happened next!!

UPDATE 7/16/13-- COME OVER and check out my FUNDRAISER! Journey to a Thousand Voices...