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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sentimental Journey

I went to upper Michigan for two things. The first involved being rejected in 32 minutes by the local Northeast Wisconsin small-minded, myopic, hypocrite ELCA Lutheran candidacy committee for going to seminary to serve as an Associate in Ministry. They didn't know what to do with me, and were intimidated by my hymnal and newspaper publishing and what I can do to serve. After telling me all the personal things they thought were wrong with me, which was like my crucifixion,  I left very troubled. I tried to understand how four clergy and two lay people could be so horrid and cruel. One pastor grilled me with passive aggressive questions for  my job history and then went after my grief, trying to make it look like I had a mental problem  losing two parents in one year.

I had to endure what no Christian should have to put up with by fellow Christians, or pastors serving the church!

They missed the boat with someone who's grandfather served as a pastor for 52 years, and our cousin, Rev. J.A. Eklund, was the Bishop of the Lutheran Church of Sweden. We are supposed to be related to Martin Luther too on my German side. Boy, did they miss the boat! I am  afraid they would have rejected Jesus if  he had walked into their midst. If Luther were alive, he would have told them  a few choice words. My Dad would have told them  off on the spot, and called them  "protoplasm" as he referred to people who were dead and worthless in charge.

They would not be a good fit for me either, I decided, and I am  free to go to a seminary on my own without a gatekeeper.

If my late Mother was there, she would have told them  (in true pastor's kid rebellion) "OH GO PISS UP A ROPE!"

I left the Lutheran camp where it took place and I hope they all saw my middle finger extended in the rear view mirror!

The second part of my trip turned into a sentimental journey.

My journey then took me to the Swedish Mission Covenant Bible camp (Covenant Point)  where my mother and grandparents had been.  Pastor Bob Bird gave me a tour and showed me where my Mom  had gone to camp. He prayed over me to heal from  my grief and horrible experience with the Lutherans.  I saw the island Mom  was stranded on, which she wrote about on her blog...

It is in the same spot where the cross is that the original dock was where Mom  was brought back in the sherif'f's boat  after being stranded on the island.

Grandma Eklund at Covenant Point 1940

Same spot today 2012

It was really neat seeing where all her stories had happened.

Then I drove across Hwy 2 to Mom's second hometown of Ironwood, Michigan. I had never been there.

Rev. Axel G. & Frida Eklund
I found my Swedish grandparent's graves, and the church my grandpa served in, and got a tour of the parsonage. Everyone in town was nice to me, including the people I met who knew my Mom  and grandparents there.  I put Swedish flags, and  flowers on my grandparents graves, and then soaked up the local color.  I devoured two pastys at Joe's Pasty shop, and saw Hurley, WI, across the stream  where the bars were. Grandpa and other pastors had a mission there to try to save the drunks and prostitutes back in the 1930's-1940's.  Mom  played the piano in the mission for Grandpa while he led services to the drunks.

Mom and Grandma Frida in parsonage kitchen 1941

Same kitchen 2012

Grandson in same spot 2012

Grandpa Eklund in front of his church 1940

I found the schools where Mom  went, and sites she told stories about. Ironwood sits in a beautiful area of trees and hills and was a town noted for iron ore. My grandparents were adored by the townspeople there and ended up being buried there.

Downtown Ironwood where Mom plied the streets growing up
At a Lutheran church there, I found several elderly people who had known my grandparents and grew up with Mom.. It was comforting to hear stories about her.  One lady named Bonnie told me Mom  was always late to school. I smiled and said she was late to everything!

I drove back feeling like I had finally felt complete with my Mom, now I can move on from her death.

I found the people of Ironwood very nice and friendly.  Today they are running a story in the Daily Globe newspaper there about my visit and my Mom!

It was a bittersweet journey, the first part was terrible, and the second was wonderful. Funny how God has that for us, just like Good Friday and Easter.

p.s. I did let the committee that rejected me know what I felt about their horsemanure... I hope they slip in it. :)