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Visiting my family and my hometown is a bittersweet affair, but this time I am filled mostly with sadness. I was raised in a small village just outside the Wallowa Whitman National Forest and grew up in lands that I believe are sacred. Being sacred and being the place of my birth through young adulthood, I am especially attached to the life and memories that I made here. I came on this trip not only to visit family, but to connect with the Sacred more deeply. This I was/am able to do quite easily, but it is my living relatives that have added the difficulty, confusion, and sadness to the mix.

My Gma is quickly approaching 100+ years of age. However, I can see a great decline in her health with this visit. She has been forgetting a lot and is not able to get around well without assistance. The change is so dramatic that it makes me very sad. She is the last living relative that has accepted and loved me without question. I never have to prove myself to her, and to boot, she is one of my heroes. I shall treasure the time I have with her during this trip. It will not be nearly long enough.

Then there is my family. I love them, as one should with family, but I would never choose them if given that option again. My family is Christian, which does not make them bad people. I have nothing against Christianity or other such associated religions. What I do have issue with is the way religion is used to persecute or judge others. My family does this. In fact, just yesterday my sister and I got into it because she justified saying hateful things about homosexuals because of her religious beliefs.

My problem in this situation is that I cannot keep my mouth shut when someone spouts off such ignorance. The best I could do was to walk away. It is never my aim to argue with someone else about their beliefs, but if you blatantly put them in my face for the purposes of a reaction, I find it nearly impossible to bite my tongue to keep from biting your head off. It is sad that my family is populated by bigots.

So, as I prepare to move on to the next leg of my journey, I do so with a bit of relief. The land is where my heart is, not so much with the people.

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