Written by Berna Swodeck
It all began with a train ride from New Mexico to California. I was still
being housed by my mother, feeling safe midst the chug, chug, chugging, and the sounds of the wheels riding along the train tracks. I was to be born any minute, and mommy was desperately trying to hold on to my birthing, hoping to make sure the train pulled into the station in time to make it to the local hospital. Palm Springs was the destination, with my Aunt Lucy anxiously waiting with the car to transport me and my mommy to a safe delivery. Breathing heavily all entered the hospital corridors just in time.
Berna Lee was born. She was healthy, with a full head of hair, and sweeping eyelashes. Most of the relatives were still in New Mexico, including her daddy. He would soon follow and they would be a family again. As part of his husband duties, daddy secured a nice little apartment in the city. His 6 foot frame, flashing blue eyes and wavy black hair allowed him to place a deposit for a rental immediately, as the landlady favored him! Mommy and I arrived a few days later. A few borrowed baby items were strategically placed for a family to settle in until spring came. After a little while, there was a knock on the door. The landlady who was so gracious to daddy, asked him a question with a somewhat stern voice, “Who is that lady with the baby that you brought to ‘my’ apartment? “ He answered, “She is my wife and this is my new little daughter Berna Lee!” “Well” she said, “You all can’t live here! No Indians allowed!” So, by the next morning, all packed up, my parents proceeded to another apartment above a store, on the ‘other side’ of town. There was not enough room for a bassinet, or especially a crib, so for the next three months my head rested each time I slept in a cozy dresser drawer.
Life for these 61 years has been spent pursuing my dreams, while I have also felt the reality of someone else’s decision – halting any hopes I might have had. Kevin Spacey recently said in House of Cards that power is greater than money. Although I never chose to have great power, I did find the secret of God’s amazing infusion of power in relationship to Him. Being settled in my heart as a friend of His has given me the capacity to live these years of my life at times powerless to change man at times, or to influence him for the good, but able to remain powerful enough to choose how I would respond. A beautiful bassinet was the dream, but the dresser drawer proved to be a place of comfort. A rejection in life simply became a catalyst for kindness, love and grace. The decision to choose well, the determination to pray and believe, and the perseverance to continue when all else may fail is power, in its greatest form!
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. (New Living Translation)
Berna Swodeck is my older sister that helped raise me when I was growing up. She as been more than an inspiration to me, she has been a light. I love her creativity and wit, often enjoying good food and long talks! You’ll enjoy more blogs from her, this will be one of many!