Michigan Guest Blogger

Today I am sharing a writing from my mom on my blog. She wrote this for her religion class and she shared this with me after she took me to the park she writes about. This weekend I am surrounded by family as we all gather around the country for our family reunion in Michigan. What a perfect weekend to share a writing from my mother.I love this story and I love my mommy.
Enjoy! xoxo

My Church
By: Melissa Chronister

In my life I have struggled with many hardships. I have struggled and overcome many addictions. Addictions not only to many drugs, but also to many people that didn’t need to be in my life, that caused more damage than they were worth. I have struggled very hard to become the person I am now. A person who really is what you see in front of you without any secrets in the closet.
I have thought about religion and wished that there was a place I could go where I would hear the words I needed to hear that would heal all my wounds. I made the big move here from the East covered in bruises and with a taste for vodka and a craving for the bar room and the fun you found in them.
I have never walked into a church alone .I have always been talked into it by someone in my life who I had admired their faith. This time it was a little Presbyterian church in Fenton. This town was so cute .It was worlds away from the ugly drug filled streets of New Jersey and N.Y.C It’s defiantly going to be the answer for me. As usual, the abuse shows its ugly head and the “good Christian “turns out to be another hiding in the walls of the church for forgiveness I’m sure. I decided then and there that church was not for me. Organized religion was not going to save my life.
When I moved to Brighton I had an apartment that backed up to a beautiful state park. I was a runner and would run the trails on a regular basis. I decided every Sunday morning I would take an extra-long hike and explore different trails and really take in the beauty of the park. I called this church. I would spend an hour or two just sorting out my thoughts. I did this religiously once a week. I traded in my Sunday best for my hiking clothes, my offering plate money for park entrance fee.
About eight years ago I met my now boyfriend who on our first date took me to this very park. I did not tell him where I lived and that I had been enjoying this park for at this time at least three years. He took me to an area I had never seen before. This was a very beautiful abandoned gravel mine that the state had purchased. I was blown away at how picturesque the landscape was. There are three lakes with crystal clear water. The most beautiful birds migrate through this area, along with butterflies. It also is filled with sand dunes and miles of trails for hiking. This place brought peace to my heart and soul.
Immediately I started going to this place to swim and hike, run the dunes. It was my “sacred place”. I later moved into my house. I continued to frequent this place daily for my piece of mind and my serenity. I now have dogs that seem to get their peace of mind there also. It makes me happy to take them there to run free. Very rarely do we run into people there .It is my very special, special place. When my kids come to visit we walk together and they love it as much as mom.
I learned that stopping this ritual is not an option. There have been times in my life where I neglected myself and over scheduled myself, so I didn’t allow for my walks .I noticed the ugliness it brings .My attitude changes. I need this place .I need this place about five times a week sometimes more. There is nothing that can keep me from it .I schedule my life around this now. This is me, no matter the weather. I enjoy the snowy winters as much as the beautiful flowers in the spring and summer. This summer was a hot one so I made sure I took my water socks daily to stop and cool off in the pristine lakes .By the time you walk from one to the other you need a dip.
I have worked out so many of my woes walking in this lovely place my God has given me.I have shed tears and screamed why to the sky many, many times .My answers flow into my heart and many of lights have turned on on these trails . I’ve had days where life was too tough to leave my sacred safe zone. I’ve traded the barstool in for a tree stump along the lakeshore. My soul is at peace here always.
The other day on my way out of the park I passed an old weathered lady dressed for the cold. She warned me she would be running her dogs. She is training them to do something??? I had seen her before and wondered what she was doing. She is very old, and she is in that park as much as I am. I thought “what a crazy old lady with her dogs” That thought was instantly replaced with “There for the grace of God go I”. I would be grateful to spend my last day in this park. It has changed my life .and maybe that’s just why I ended up here in Michigan.


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