The North Star
I was born on Winter Solstice on December 21st, in Alexandria, Louisiana, and I was the second child. My brother Keith was two years older than me, and my sister Diana was three years younger.
As the middle child, I was shy, compliant, a daydreamer, and reclusive. Some might call me a “wallflower” because I was also ignored. It wasn’t long before I started to see myself less valuable than Keith and Diana because the adults in my family paid more attention to them than to me. I would try to speak out, but my still, small voice was too soft for them to hear as Keith’s and Diana’s voices would drown mine out. I was overlooked, but I didn’t want to rock the boat in the family, so I played alone in the world of my imagination.
I came from a fatherless single-mother family and practically raised myself as a latch-key kid. At age eight, I was already making my own breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as vacuuming the house at 3605 Grace Drive in Lexington, Kentucky.
I learned at an early age not to ask people questions because whenever I had a question, Mom would just shove the dictionary at me and say she hadn’t the time to answer me. She was either working or studying her notes from her classes at the University of Kentucky. And, instead of the Holy Bible, Mom gave me an astrology book entitled, Sun Signs by Linda Goodman. Needless to say, my social skills, boundaries, and communication skills were sadly lacking.
This was not healthy as I did not develop the ability to express my feelings until much later in life. I would, therefore, avoid activities that required intimate social interaction. I was convinced that to protect myself from conflict; I had to avoid intimacy. I often felt like a nobody unneeded, worthless, and lost in a world of strangers.
Dad’s mother, Granny, never really liked Mom. She did not like how Dad married “a foreigner.” Mom was a Polish immigrant from Canada, and Dad was French-Irish from Pineville, Louisiana, USA. And although our grandfather Papa was okay with the marriage, Granny did not really give her blessing.
This and other factors caused a rift in the family. Our family broke-up in 1973, and Mom got custody of us three kids.
Around that time, Mom moved us into a house in Lexington, Kentucky. When I was seven, Mom dropped Diana, Keith, and me off at the movies to see some Walt Disney film. After it was finished, we all waited in the parking lot in the dark for Mom to come pick us up. We waited and waited until the whole parking lot was empty, but she never showed.
I remember saying to Keith, “Take Diana’s hand, Keith. I know the way back home. Let’s just walk it.” Of course, I did not know the way back to our address, and no one taught me how to pray, but I was praying to God as we walked along the gravel roads, “Lord, I’m going to follow that North Star in the night sky here because I have heard somewhere that You say the North Star will always lead you home. Please lead us home, Lord.”
Just then, a car pulled up on the side of the road. The window rolled down, and some lady called out to us, “Are you kids lost? Cause if you are, we can give you a lift.”
Keith immediately opened the car door and jumped into the back seat with Diana. I hesitated for a minute, thinking, “Lord, is it safe?” I looked at the woman and the man in the front seat and saw a glowing light around their bodies. Then Keith yelled at me to get inside, so I slowly stepped into the backseat with my eyes on the glowing strangers. After I shut the passenger door, I told the man driving what our address was. He said he knew where it was. The drive was smooth and a short one, and sure enough, we arrived safely.
After we all got out of the car, we noticed how our driveway was empty. Mom still wasn’t back yet. Mom did not leave a key with us to get inside the house, so Keith decided to break the basement window. The sound of glass breaking shocked me into the realization that maybe Mom was trying to get rid of us kids. Maybe she had had enough of us.
When Keith was inside, he went upstairs to the kitchen door and unlocked it. “The kitchen is open!” he yelled out to us. When all three of us were inside, we went to our bedrooms and slept.
The next morning when we saw Mom, none of us asked about the night before, but I knew God had rescued us kids.
Looking back on it now, I personally believe those two people in the car were actually angels whom God sent to help us get home safely. That was my first experience with God, but it was not my last.