Saturday, December 27, 2014

Halfway There

Excerpts from my memoir threaten to overrun this page, so I have moved them to the right column, under St. Joseph’s watchful eye. About halfway through my exercise of posting these short pieces, it’s time for a recap.

After a short prolog that defines the spiritual dilemma I faced at midlife, my story begins in Minnesota. I (left) was raised by good church-going parents, including a father who taught me about the varieties of sexual experience. We went to Congregational and Episcopal churches, but I developed an interest in saints, which wasn’t on the program in either place. When I went away to boarding school at The Cilley Academy, I lost my religion.

Off to college at Whambam and no longer churching, I met a guru, Gulliver, at a growth center named Lilliput. When Lilliput went bust, Gulliver took me to Europe with him, a “grand tour” with some disastrous consequences. But Europe also introduced me to Catholic culture, in which Gulliver was well versed. My experience at Lourdes was a highlight of this introduction to Catholicism.

Back in the States, Gulliver and I returned to school, he as a professor of psychology, I as an undergraduate. Meanwhile, he founded an alternative bookshop, Dulcinea, where I volunteered, then worked as president. Here I deepened my reading in Christian literature begun in Europe. Here too I met and dated and was torn up by my relationship with Stephanie, a beautiful young woman Gulliver instructed me to marry.

After this fresh disaster, I left Dulcinea and Gulliver, though not the Gurdjieff Work which he claimed to have mastered. It would be a long walk home for me from Gurdjieff circa 1976 to the Catholic Church, which received me in 2008. I had much help along the way, like that from my grandmother, “Ammie.”

More stories of help and hindrance, before and after Ammie, will be posted in the days ahead. Thanks for reading!

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