I’m sitting on a Metro North train, on my way to Irvington, NY, for a client gig. But my mind is not on my client. My mind is on my past.
Irvington is the station we used when we visited my mother. The Church properties were mostly in Tarrytown, but Irvington was the closest train station. I sit on the train and I remember them all. Belvedere, where Father would speak every Sunday morning at 6am. Watching the sunrise as the Messiah gave direction and guidance. What could be better? Jacob House, the nursery where my mother worked and lived. She cared for the babies of Church members who were out on “missions” around the country and the world. Even then I thought it was a bit ironic that she couldn’t live with and care for us because she had to live with and care for other children…who couldn’t live with and be cared for by their parents. Gracemere, the second nursery my mother worked and lived at – only there she was the cook. The White House, a house that was white, where a Church leader lived. The memories flood through me and it feels good.
I look out the window as the train travels. This track is along the Hudson River, which is partially iced over. I swam in the Hudson River. Not here, near New York City. Not even in Tarrytown. But during our first trip into the heart of the Church, the first time my mother took us with her to Barrytown – a seminary in upstate New York that the Church had bought – so that we could discover the new religion that was inspiring her. That weekend we heard Father speak, sat in lectures and learned the doctrine, ate at the large round tables in the huge dining room, and swam in the Hudson River with all our brothers and sisters. (Church members are referred to as brothers and sisters because we’re all in God’s family, under the guidance of Father and Mother, Rev. and Mrs. Moon.)
I get off the train in Irvington. As I wait for my business partner to come and get me, I flash back to being picked up at the train station on Friday nights, at the bottom of the long hill of Main Street, so excited to get to see my mother, and being dropped off on Sunday afternoons, never wanting to leave. I remember the people and the places. It never depresses me to remember these things. It somehow fills me with love.
We drive to the conference center that we’ll be working at and memories continue to overtake me. I know the conference center is literally right across the street from East Garden. Where Father lived. Where I played with his daughters. Where I sat at his table and swam in his pool and was always in awe.
I’ve come to terms with much of my childhood. I’ve gotten to the point where the triggers that used to set me off, that used to instantly bring up pain or fear, are lessened. Where I often have the space to choose not to be triggered. And I love remembering so many of these moments of my childhood. So many of the people and places.
I wonder why I love remembering this so much. My brother doesn’t. I think it’s my way of continuing to heal. I think it’s my way of finding the good in all that happened to and around me. I think it makes sense because in leaving the Church it was like I erased everything and everyone I ever knew and loved from my life, so remembering it all allows me to know that it was real. It did happen. I didn’t make it up. And I think it’s because I’ve built myself, and my life, around love – giving love, being love, noticing love, and receiving love. And looking back, to Tarrytown, to Barrytown, to swimming in the Hudson River, gives me more reasons to love.
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