Text Illustrations
“I Needed my past” - Keith Miller – “Habitations of Dragons”

I’ll never forget Alice’s face. We were in a small group of adults, and were getting acquainted by going around the room, each of us telling something about our childhood. One older lady had had a good many disappointments and seemed bitter about her past. Then it was Alice’s turn. She spoke to us hesitantly: “When I was a little girl, I was put in an orphanage. I was not pretty at all, and no one wanted me. But I can recall longing to be adopted and loved by a family as far back as I can remember. I thought about it day and night. But everything I did seemed to go wrong. I tried too hard to please everybody who came to look me over, and all I did was drive people away.

“Then one day, the head of the orphanage told me a family was coming to take me home with them. I was so excited I jumped up and down and cried. The matron reminded me that I was on trial and that it might not be a permanent arrangement. But I just knew it would be.

“So I went with this family and started school in their town – a very happy little girl. And life began to open up for me…

Then one day, a few months later, I skipped home from school and ran in the front door of the big old house we lived in. No one was home, but there in the middle of the front hall was my battered old suitcase with my little coat thrown over it. As I stood there it suddenly dawned on me what it meant: they didn’t want me! And I hadn’t even suspected.”

Alice stopped speaking, but we didn’t notice. We were each standing in that front hall looking at the battered suitcase and trying not to cry. Then Alice cleared her throat and said almost matter-of-factly, “That happened to me seven times before I was 13 years old.”

I looked at this tall, grey-haired woman sitting across the room and wept. I had just met Alice, but I found myself loving her and feeling a great compassion for her. She looked up, surprised and touched at the way we were responding to her story. But she held up her hand and shook her head slightly. “don’t feel sorry for me,” she said with a genuinely happy smile. “I needed my past. You see – it brought me to God”