Crazy for God

Crazy for God by Frank Schaeffer Read Free Book Online

Book: Crazy for God by Frank Schaeffer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Frank Schaeffer
ideals, often blinded to the realities of life or of our lives. As a dreamer and a highly artistic individual
my mother created her own life with passion and hard work. I compare her to early discoverers of the North Pole. She pursued her objectives with determination, though bits of bodies all around her were lost to frostbite. The havoc she caused to all around her, as they were dragged in to help her meet self-imposed deadlines and goals, was phenomenal and scarring to me as a child. The force of her personality was such that I, at least, never even thought of refusing. Also, I would say, that though my father taught me the love of the Real, my mother’s idealism has taken years to peel away.
    Much love,
    Debby

7
    W hen I was six, I went to America for an operation on my polio leg. (I turned seven in America.) In 1959 we crossed the ocean on a freighter, the Coroveglia. She was owned by the André Shipping Line, a Swiss company that belonged to the André family. They were the wealthiest people we knew, a special subject of awe and resentment. Amazingly for “dark post-Reformation” Switzerland, the Andrés were born-again evangelical Christians. They were rich, and from time to time they gave a gift to L’Abri, but never one large enough to impress Mom. “They could give so much more if they wanted to!” she would say. “Are they the richest people in the world?” I asked.
    “No, dear, but they are probably the richest people in Lausanne, and some of the wealthiest people in Switzerland, and that is saying something,” said Mom.
    “They don’t seem rich,” said Debby.
    “That is because they aren’t like some rich people who flaunt their wealth.”
    “Do they have their own plane?” I asked.
    “I don’t know, dear, but it wouldn’t surprise me.”
    “What else do they have?” I asked.
    “Who knows what else, places in South America I think and
offices everywhere for the shipping line, but when you visit them in Lausanne they’re just in their ordinary nice middle-class home and Mrs. André is peeling carrots like any Swiss housewife and Mr. André comes home for lunch like anybody else and they don’t even have a maid, just someone to help clean. At least I didn’t see a maid. It is really admirable, in that Swiss way.”
    When we traveled on the Coroveglia, Mom pointed out that “We still have to pay for the tickets, only less than we would otherwise.” The idea was that because we were in the Lord’s work, any person with a lot of money who was truly discerning would have given us the boat passage and to do less was something like Mary and Martha charging Christ for supper.
    We sailed from Hamburg. The ship was carrying coal dust. I rolled in the dust and got covered from head to toe. I remember the crew urging me on and Mom being angry and my eyes stinging.
    When I was two, I had traveled to the States and returned on the Ile de France, the ship I got polio on. But the voyage when I was six was the first I made where I discovered that life on shipboard, even a small old freighter, is wonderful. The feel of the engine vibrating under my feet, the roll of the ship, the sense of inexorable forward motion day and night, the lash of the moist wind on deck and the stale interior air down below, the dramatic moment each day as we moved our clocks forward: I loved it all, even the ubiquitous yellow linoleum that the cabins and narrow passages were covered with.
    The first mate kept a picture of a bare-breasted woman in his cabin. It was a black-and-white photo that had been tinted. Her nipples were mauve. It was my first view of pornography.
I had seen plenty of nude statues and paintings, but I somehow knew this picture was different and didn’t mention it to my parents. I knew that if they saw it, my visits to the first mate’s cabin would end.
    I played on the bridge, went down to the engine room any time I wanted, and appreciatively breathed in the hot oil smell. I wandered all day from stem

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