September 13, 2014. Saturday, 7:48 AM.

The sun is shining but the forecast predicts fog, overcast skies, and more rain. I’m going to ignore the forecast and appreciate the sunshine while it lasts. Maybe I should go to the beach and walk.

Joel and Sarah arrived yesterday with their kids. Joel came first, separately. We went with Mom to the beach. She hadn’t been to the beach in many years and seemed to enjoy herself but tired quickly.

Last night I asked her why Dad went to jail all those years ago. It was attempted kidnapping in Virginia. He had handcuffs and a knife and tried to kidnap a girl because he planned to rob a drug store and “needed a hostage.” He needed the money to score heroin. The girl fought like crazy and got away. He drove to our house and my mother cleaned the drug paraphernalia out of the car. Detectives arrested him in Coudersport, PA.

When you are a child you don’t understand the complex world of adults, but it still affects you. The reasons are nebulous, out there in the aether. I just knew Dad was gone a lot.

By degrees it occurred to me what a mess my parents were. My mother was a classic enabler, trying to save a self-destructive, angry man. My Dad was that man, permanently stuck in the pains and rejections of his childhood. They were so consumed by their own issues that neither of them was really available to us kids.

I told Mom last night that I still struggle with faith because of these things. Sometimes it’s hard to believe in God when you wonder why He didn’t change your family.

But at some level, I think human free will has a lot to do with what happens to us and the situations we end up in. We were called to have dominion, not be tossed around by every wave.

In the light of morning I pray for wisdom to steer my family through our storms.