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The Voyage Home

By Neal Stone --

A life long search, a discovery, a voyage home...

For a while I haven't posted and am sure some of you may wonder where I went. I am still here and read the articles when I can. Daily if possible.

Family Reunion Quilt Front SideFamily Reunion Quilt image by simple girl, simple life via Flickr
But I have been a bit distracted as my life story is about to take an different turn. I have discovered and made contact with relatives from my dad's side after a 40 year search. My dad left when I was two years old and haven't seen him since, but he is well and is in contact with his family.

As a result of this find my wife, sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew and I will embark on a journey in May if all goes well. Oh, and the dog is going too. Six of us in a mid sized RV taking a journey across the United States to visit Alabama and Georgia.

But wait, how does this apply to ExChristian stories? It is religion, specifically Christianity that played a large role in me losing contact and never being able to find my long lost family.

When I was five, I was diagnosed with Epilepsy. Now back in the 70's treatment for seizure disorders was still experimental and I was one of the guinea pigs. I spent a large part of my childhood as a zombie which is why I have little memory of it.

To complicate things my step-dad came into the picture and made us join a local church. A church that was very cult like in how it controlled people and their lives. My step-dad was also like this as well and kept me and my mom under his thumb. He tried this with my siblings and threw them out when they resisted accusing them of being rebellious. I now know the real truth.

My real dad would send me letters along with his child support payments. Letters I never got as my step-dad was more than happy to throw them away and cash the check. This is the kind of person he is, using others for his own benefit. Whether it be taking your money or using your name for something.

When I came off the medications (the Epilepsy vanished) my eyes opened a bit and my head started to clear. But it would take years for all the clouds to lift. Now you can say I was healed all you want, but the fact is I fought back and took the first of many steps to taking my life back. Years later I would have another eye opening experience at how much of my life was wasted as a result of Christianity and my step-dad.

I don't care who you are or who you think you are, you have no right to control others and their lives. You have no right to call me a dirty rotten sinner and degrade me because I reject your belief. You have no right to use others for your own gain. People have the right to decide for themselves their future and life.

When you sit there on a date or with a friend and you hear all they did with their lives and you realize you have no stories or adventures of your own to tell, it can be a deep depressing feeling. A way of feeling out of place and not belonging. Knowing you life was wasted because of someone else's control over it.

Flash forward to 2006. My sister located a retired soldiers home in Washington D.C. and felt it may be where my dad is. I located the home on Google and wrote an e-mail to the staff with instructions to give it to my dad if he was indeed a resident there. He was! After a week or two of waiting I got a letter from my dad. It was a rejection letter and left me broken hearted, but I thought I would give it one more shot and let him have the freedom to choose to write back or not. A few weeks later I got another letter, but not from dad, but his sister, my aunt. I never wrote her back as I was hurt and soon after my mother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She passed away in summer of 2007. Follow that with moving to a new home and dealing with possible layoffs, so writing my aunt got put off.

Then in summer of 2009, I started asking my sister for her info so I could sit down and write her finally. My sister search and discovered her obituary. I was broken hearted and felt my search was about to end sadly. But this wasn't to be the case, for listed in the obituary were family members. My sister went on Facebook and looked them up and found some of them. She sent me a name and I made the first contact. It was my uncle Ron. He wrote me back 30 minutes after I wrote him and was excited to hear from me. Soon after I started chatting and making contact with other family members. It was an on-line reunion.

And now this May, if all goes as planned, I will embark on the journey of my life. Another step in taking my life back.

This is not the result in some miracle or God's intervention. If anything it is belief in God and the twisting of those beliefs that has resulted in this all being delayed. My step-dad and his church did all they could to shelter me so they alone could have control over me and my resources.

This is all a result of my determination to restore my life and take back that which was lost or taken away. And in May, this search will have a happy ending. Piece by piece the puzzle of my life comes together. Funny thing is, the Christian pieces don't seem to fit anywhere.

I plan to blog on my trip with updates of what happens along the way and when we get there. I will embark on the greatest adventure of my life and can't wait to see what happens next.

A lot was taking away from me because of someone's beliefs and ideals and I am taking it back. It is my life, not yours! The resistance has begun!

““The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudice.” -- Rod Serling