Blast from the past…
I have enjoyed the retired professor’s essays to say the least. He has been able to express very vividly a line of logic that reveals the man that was behind the curtain, The Wizard of Odd, HWA. Fortunately for the professor his awakening started in college at an early age. Mine not so soon.
I was raised in the church. When it came time to go to college I was turned down by Ambassador, thankfully, and instead continued with my life. This was 1969 and as members at the time will remember all of this was to end in 1975. So I fell into a career just to be a tithe payer and started a family. I was intellectually asleep for some 22 years as I labored to support my family and waited for the pending return of Christ.
That all ended in 1988. My wife whom I met and married within the church was tired of our financial situation. She knew that in order for us to do better she needed to be educated in a career and get a job. I thought that this would go away soon and that my place in the recliner was secure. After all it was much easier to exist in the state of slumber than to be an active participant in life. My wife thought differently.
As B.J. started taking classes something wonderful began to take place in her. She began to blossom as an individual. She began to question her environment, our place in life, and our faith. We started having stimulating conversations about various topics. My mind was being challenged and it hurt. I wanted to sleep, to fold my hands and just wait for the second coming.
After about two years of going to school part-time and continuing to be a housewife, B.J. started encouraging me to go to college. She explained that by taking the same classes together at the local community college we could share the books and save money. Besides because of our economic state we qualified for educational grants that would pay our tuition and give us a little gas money to boot.
At first I resisted, then after awhile I agreed to enroll with her just to get her off my back. My plan was to flunk out and then return to my recliner. Something happened to me. My mind slowly began to awaken. Our conversations and discussions were going to a deeper level. I was enjoying the stimulation. I was learning new things, interesting things like sociology, psychology, and archeology. My belief system was being challenged. I was awakening and my friends at
church could see it. Some rejoiced with me, others shunned me.
I aced that first semester. I had a talent for college. I got it. I enjoyed it. I liked what was happening to me and my wife. Our life together was getting better and better. Yet I was very fearful. I was leaving my comfort zone. I was being pushed into the real world and it was scary, very scary. As a team we pushed on. B.J. eventually got her Masters in Social Work after 13 hard years. I graduated with a double major in Graphic Design and Illustration in seven. We both had chosen fields we liked but that didn’t pay too well.
So after graduation came student loans, low paying jobs, grandkids, and a new life. We left the church with the courage we had developed by going to school in our forties. We were broke and weary looking for a nice rut to get into so we could prepare for retirement. We bought a house trailer and paid it off but still had many debts to dispatch before we could retire. B.J.’s student loans totaled over $50,000 alone. Yet we had come so far in a short time. Yet the chains of slumber still ensnared us. After all it was the easy way. Get into a routine, slide into retirement. Sit on the porch along the way.
Life has a way of shaking one out of a slumber. As I was slowly drifting into another type of sleep my security blanket was ripped from me. B.J., my wife of 33 years was suddenly taken from me. She was killed in a head-on collision just blocks from our home. Now what was I to do? As the dust settled I began to see two paths before me. Continue in the rut alone, or wake up and begin to live life to its fullest. Again I found myself in very new territory. I was once again
tossed into the world, but this time it didn’t seem so scary.
I decided to find another life partner that I could share life with. I went online and met a wonderful woman who right from the start challenged me to open my heart, my mind and my very being to what life had to offer me. She taught me that it wasn’t the scary place that I had been taught and that life wasn’t to be endured but celebrated in abundance and joy. Such a different way of thinking. I married her.
Once again I had fallen asleep waiting. This time it wasn’t for the second coming but for retirement and eventually death. After all we had accomplished we had allowed ourselves to be lulled into a slumber. Maybe it was because the struggle had been for so long and so hard. Maybe it was because our upbringing ingrained in us that life was only to be endured so we could partake of the “kingdom of heaven”. I don’t know. I’m just glad I awoke before it was too late. It’s really sad that it took the loss of someone very close to me to wake me up. I thank my new wife, Chris, for helping me in the process. Never will I allow myself to go to sleep again.