17 July 2013
Years ago my husband and I moved temporarily from Western Australia to a town in the north of England close to where I was born. At the time we’d been trying unsuccessfully to start a family for several years. I agreed to go reluctantly, as I felt that the stress of moving just made it less likely that I’d conceive. Soon after we arrived two things happened – I experienced a break-through in my spiritual life that had been eluding me for a long time, and I fell pregnant.
At the time I felt a strong sense that somehow both events were tied to my being where I was. It was as if I had to be back in that location to deal with something that was blocking my progress both spiritually and physically. Yet I had, and still have, no idea what that ‘something’ was. If there was ‘spiritual warfare’ going on, I wasn’t consciously aware of it. I certainly hadn’t gone there looking for answers.
The experience came back to me this week when I discovered that my grandfather was baptised in the same church that we attended every week for two years while we were living in England. My daughter was also baptised in the same church before we returned to Australia. Until now I had no idea that we had any family connections with that particular church, although I knew that my grandparents’ family had lived in another town not far away and went to church there.
By another strange co-incidence, my other daughter chose to move interstate to Adelaide to do her post-graduate studies. While she was there I discovered that three generations of my grandmother’s family had lived in Adelaide in the 19th century. Previously I was vaguely aware that my great grandmother had been born ‘somewhere in Australia’ while her father was stationed there as a soldier, but I knew nothing about her mother’s family being resident in Adelaide. I had always assumed that the soldier had his English wife with him when he was posted.
I’ve heard other people’s stories of choosing to visit a place for seemingly rational and mundane reasons and then finding that they had some strong, previously unknown, family connection to the place. My logical brain doesn’t know what to make of this, except to say, “well, it’s probably all co-incidence or based on sub-conscious knowledge”. My evangelical education doesn’t provide any theories about spiritual connections to place, and would probably be suspicious of such ideas. Other cultures have a much stronger sense of the importance of place.
My gut feeling is that we somehow do have ties to places that we are unaware of at a conscious level, and that can influence our choices. But I don’t know what to make of it. Any suggestions or comments would be welcome.