A statue in our city stands in honor of the past. It seems to stand a bit more tall today. This son of Erik (Leif by name) recalls my heritage as well as those whose kin came from Norway.
The Viking spirit prompted those to seek a better life. Courageously (with strength) they persevered. Though homesick, they embraced their dreams of making a new start. These Nordic pilgrims challenged what they feared.
Hipp, hipp, hurra!
On this Syttende Mai (17th of May) I’m honoring the legacy of my grandfather (Gunder Birkeland) and his brothers who left Norway for America, settling in the Seattle area beginning in 1902.
She sang about the good old days. With love she built a bridge that helped her run away from the “black dog.” She knew where she was going when her day for dying came. Naomi (from her youth) reached out to God.
“Don’t be cruel!” she prayed intently as she’d cry herself to sleep. “Your Baby’s Got the Blues” was in her head. The rhythm of the rain drowned out the morning birds who’d chirp. A change of heart is what she daily pled.
But still this mother languished from depression’s dreaded spell. She verbalized her pain most publicly. Her country music lyrics often called to mind young love as she dreamed of joy and freedom. “Why not me?”
This Mother’s Day two daughters will be grieving for their mom who couldn’t bear the torture one more day. May Ashley and Wynona recognize love is alive. Please carry them, dear Father, this I pray.
** My introduction to The Judds came as I was spinning records as a deejay while working at KICY radio in Nome, Alaska. It was the summer of 1987. I had just turned thirty-five years of age. My wife and I along with our children accepted an invitation to serve as short-term missionaries at a radio station owned and operated by our denomination (The Evangelical Covenant Church). Much of the music played on the station that served the rural villages of Western Alaska was country/western.
“I Know Where I’m Going” by The Judds was on our play list. I loved the harmony of the mother/daughter duo. I also loved the title. Although the song was not spiritual in the least, it was an invitation to trust the Lord to lead me to a future of His choosing. While I didn’t know the details to what my life and ministry held in store, my Father knew. He knew where He was going with my life. He invited me to come, too.
Curiously, I just turned seventy. As I look back it’s hard to realize that experience in Nome was half my life ago.