11.24.09

Finding My Own Way

Posted in Family and Friends at 11:22 am by admin

During the process of writing Divine Betrayal, I became aware that some of my family would disapprove of my story, but I had no idea it would be displayed with such fervor.

I sent two review copies (galleys) to two cousins. One cousin who was the closest to me refused to comment on anything she read. A few days later I received a telephone call from the second cousin who in a very sweet voice, said, “Thank you for sending me your book, but….” She went on to question places, dates, the facts of my memory, and my feelings. At one point she said: “I don’t remember you being sad or depressed during that time.”

I found myself feeling the need to justify my feelings—feelings that she would never have known or suspected. I had to explain to my cousin that different people will remember an incident in different ways and each person will tell a story differently. This doesn’t make it right or wrong—it’s simply a different perspective. My memoir is “my memory,” and the way I remember seeing and experiencing my life. Your memory may be very different from mine. So be it.

Family more than anyone will question how you perceive certain things—especially when those memories contradict their memories, and in this case, the way they remember my father—or maybe the way they want to remember my father. Please, don’t get me wrong, my father was a wonderful man, and a wonderful father, but surely people can’t think our life was picture perfect?

Only two weeks ago I went to visit relatives who live about 150 miles from me. When I arrived I noticed that my cousin had spread out an array of my father’s books on the coffee table. All of my father’s books, and pamphlets, and even books in German (although none of these cousins read German) were spread very conspicuously across the table; of course my book was not among them. To me the message was clear: “We approve of your Dad’s books, but not yours.” I didn’t say anything at the time, but deep down I was fuming.

The next day I called my cousin to tell her I was hurt. She denied everything and quickly went on to talk about her family and other events. I interrupted her: “I know you refuse to talk about my book, Divine Betrayal, and you don’t accept it, let alone recommend it. Whether you like it or not, it is my memoir, my story and if you reject my memoir, you reject my life and me.” She would not acknowledge this statement and went on talking about other matters.

Baptising converts

While I’m not surprised, I realized that I had harbored some hope that they would accept me just as I am. But as I think about it, if they had accepted me and my book, it would have meant that they were denying a certain amount of their own religious beliefs. In their eyes, my questioning of my father’s teaching is a sin and perhaps a double sin for them. In their eyes, my father, John Peter Kolenda, was perfect and a dedicated man of God who knew the Bible as well as any human being. To them I imagine it is unacceptable for me to question my father. So in a way, not only have I questioned my father’s religion and their religion, but I have rejected them and found my own way.

Warmly,

Graceann Deters, author of Divine Betrayal

3 Responses to “Finding My Own Way”

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