To receive my blog posts, please enter your email address here

Thursday, June 28, 2012

First-Year University: Guys

“What! Twelve minutes to eight? It can’t be?” Throwing off my blankets, I bolted for the communal bathroom of our eighth-floor dormitory. Had there been an Olympic record for length of time brushing one’s teeth, I would have broken it, for sure. Darting back in the room, grabbing a notebook off the desk, my winter boots and thick jacket, I headed for the elevator. I had eight floors to get those boots on my feet and the jacket zipped up to my neck. No time to find my gloves, which did not happen to be in the pockets of the jacket as one might have thought.

I hit the front door at a dead run and tried not to slow down when that 20-below-freezing air hit my bare legs. I really needed to turn my baby doll pajamas in on some long flannel if this turned into more than a one-time mishap. Running through the mountains of piled snow on both sides of the sidewalk, I realized I had not taken a pen with the random notebook I swiped off my desk. Hopefully, someone would lend me something with which to write, if I made it on time. The African-American instructor for the course was the university’s team trainer and talk about discipline! There was absolutely no admittance to his class once that door was closed at precisely 8 AM. Okay, I was stomping up those flights of stairs and heating up with each turn of the handrail. By the time I reached the classroom door, I had unzipped my jacket, holding it closed with one hand. The trainer was closing the door as I slipped through. The rest of the 90 students in the long, narrow classroom were staring at me and laughing. I was not all that surprised when the whistling started. It was a class made up of 88 males and only two females, one of whom had just entered the room and was side-stepping her way into the last row. As one might expect, the jacket did not stay closed and more than one exclamation followed, “Hey guys, Baby Doll pajamas! Now, there’s a fashion statement on this cold winter’s day! Must be a really hot little mama!” Calls for order from the front of the classroom took a while to get the crowd of football and basketball players turning their eyes forward again. Believe me, humiliation is way too mild a word for what I was feeling! Mr. R was not all that excited to have girls in his class in the first place, and I had just managed to contribute to his already firm belief. Not only that, but I was a first-year student and this was a second-year course. I had needed special permission to enroll in Care and prevention of Athletic Injuries before next year. My Fall Quarter Anatomy and Physiology grades convinced the powers that be to give me a chance at the course. I could always repeat it if I flunked. Fortunately, classroom attire was not part of the grading system.

“So, alarm clock fail ya this mornin’?” Chris was smiling as, hand-in-hand, we made our way down the steps of the building. “You’ll probably be wanting to go get more clothes on, so I’ll just meet up with you after Chemistry.” He would be taking some ribbing about my appearance, too, but he was being a good sport about it all.

Curt and I had broken up so I would have the rest of the school year to get to know some of the guys I was meeting in my classes. Chris and I were just in the early stages of a relationship; I loved the feeling of his strong hand holding mine. Chris was a couple of years older than me; and, other than a few classes and the love of sports, we didn’t really have a lot in common. However, his company was enjoyable, even when we were not talking.

“So, what do ya think about the Peppermint Prince Ball? Wanna go?” The other first-year students in my dorm were talking about it and making plans for the big event.

“Ball? Do ya really want to go to that formal dance? I mean, the only ball I really know anything about…”

“Oh, yeah, I know, the only ball you know anything about is one you kick. But, don’t you think it’d be fun? Because I’m a freshman, we wouldn’t even need to pay for the tickets.” I was laughing and pleading.

“Okay, okay. What day is it already?” We began to make plans for the weekend event just days away now. No mention was made of the dance after that, except with my dormmates. All the girls were so excited and I was no exception.

At last it was the day of the Peppermint Prince Ball. I could hardly wait, though I was not that great a dancer. I figured Chris wasn’t either since he was just going because I wanted to go. We’d probably sit out a lot of dances but that’d be okay. I was just heading for the showers when the phone rang, so I grabbed it up on my way through the open door. I figured it wouldn’t be for me so I would holler down the corridor for my roommate in the corner lounge when I found out who it was calling.


“Yes, this is Sojourner. Who’s this?” It was an adult voice I didn’t recognize at all.

“This is Chris’ mother. I wanted him to call you but he’s too embarrassed. The thing is, Sojourner, he’s left to go hang out with some guys overhauling an engine at our neighbor’s.” I was so stunned, I just couldn’t believe her.

“But, he’s supposed to take me to the Peppermint Prince Ball in two hours. Are you saying he’s not coming? He’s gonna stand me up?”

“Sadly, dear, that’s exactly what I’m saying. I begged him to call you but he just walked out of the house. I couldn’t let you get all dressed up and wait for a boy who isn’t coming. I’m so sorry. He hates formal things and he’ll never go. I’m just sorry he didn’t tell you himself.”

What a crushing blow to my feminine ego. Of course the tears fell in that shower I went to take anyway. No one would hear me in the roar of the water from the showerhead, and a nice long shower was just what I needed to process what had happened to me. It took a bit of time to admit that my insistence that Chris and I would have fun at the dance, no doubt, contributed to my own disappointment. I was too dense to accept that he didn’t really want to go, but it never occurred to me that he would just not show up. I had so much to learn and not everything would come from a textbook!

How comforting are the words of Romans 5:3-5…

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." (NLT)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

First-Year University: Mistake and Rescue, Conclusion

Alone in the darkest of nights, I walked, first in one direction and then another. I didn’t know which way to go so I kept changing, while tears soaked my face and collar. Reading Psalm 77 later on, I found myself in its verses:

“I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help.” (Verses 1-3, New Living Translation)

Certainly, this was an exact picture of the distraught young Sojourner. How I cried out for the Lord’s help… to protect me and to help me find my way back home. As I walked long into the night hours, I repented, mightily, for ever going where I knew I just did not belong. I was sorry for the mistake I had made, again, just trying to please a friend and rejecting what I knew was the right thing to do… stay away from the potential for illegal consumption of alcohol and unfaithfulness to my guy at home. How would Curt feel if he knew I was in this party, so overloaded with drunken guys? And, how did God feel about what I had done? Could I even ask for His help when it was my own fault that I’d found myself in this awful dilemma? Funnily enough, when I was much younger, I understood God a lot better than I seemed to now. I remembered those days as a child when God and I were great friends and I longed for that again. Parts of Psalm 77 could have been written, specifically, to help me describe that frighteningly lonely night.

“I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now.” (Verses 5-6)

I wondered if God would answer my cry for help or just how long He would be angry with me.

“Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion?” (Verses 7-9)

Up and down the streets I trod; my heavy heart overriding the fatigue my legs should be feeling. What could I do? I was about cried out and began what all people do in times of distress that has come upon them due to their own bad judgment or choice; I started to make promises to God. If only He would rescue me from this night, I would never forget all of His mighty works, past or present. I would always remember the stories in the Bible actually happened by the mighty hand of our powerful God. Our God who forgives kids when they mess up, royally.

“And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations. By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.” (Verses 10-15)

God had been in my own life, too, as a child but, somehow, I lost that closeness with Him when I began to grow up. Well, one thing I knew for sure… I couldn’t get myself back to the dorm but I knew God knew the way. If He led Moses and the people in the desert for forty years and then led them through the Red Sea, how hard could it be for God to get me back to the campus?

“Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there! You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.” (Verses 19-20)

Finding the right streets should be easier than that, right? I stopped walking, took a few deep breaths to calm myself, and asked God for specific directions. What came to my mind was to walk towards the main street nearest where I was. It didn’t matter if I knew the name, just head in that direction. I found “Brooks” on the sign and began to rejoice. I recognized the name, though I still didn’t know which way to go on Brooks, of course. I thought I should turn right but, as I did, I began feeling a huge lump of unease form in my stomach. Hmmm, okay, well left then. With each step I took, I began to feel better. Soon, I was even walking faster and nearly skipping with joy. I was on my way back to the dorm; I just knew it was the right way now. For the rest of the way to the sighting of that tall building, I followed the impressions to turn right or left. I had to get the security guard to break the rule just a bit to let me in so early in the morning, but I probably looked like the story I told him was true. He had mercy on me.

Elisa*? She came back sometime during the morning to retrieve her bag. The next time I saw her, she was one of my patients on the Surgical Floor. I was working as a Nurses Aid for the summer in 1969—nearly two years later. Her young face looked like railroad tracks gone amuck, so full of black silk thread stitches from a car-train accident. There was some internal damage, as well. She told me that she had taken marijuana and found herself stopping on the tracks of a railroad crossing because she was mesmerized by the headlight on its front. Had she been totally on the track, she would have died. Instead, she was just torn up badly in the collision of train to car. I cared for her while she was a patient and visited her at her parents’ home after she was discharged from the hospital. I lost contact with her following her recovery.

As for me, I never forgot this scary, dark night and just how I came to be alone and lost for hours, while the rest of the city slept. How grateful I am that God did, indeed, have His eyes upon me, as the Bible says. I cried out to Him, both in repenting and in pleading for His help to get me back safely. He heard me, forgave me and led me home. There is no doubt in my mind that God cares about us! He is our Heavenly Father, not just the Almighty God, Creator of everything in this universe!

*Name has been changed.

If you missed the start of this story, here’s the link:

Reference is made to Sojourner’s early years with God. Here are a couple of links to give you a bit more detail: (start of the series)

****First-Year University: Guys… Coming Tomorrow (weather permitting)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

First-Year University: Mistake and Rescue

“Hey, Elisa*! How’d ya find me? What a surprise!” Standing right there in front of my open dorm room door was Eliza, a girl from my graduating class. But, she lived 386 miles from here, since she had elected to live at home while going to college. There were thousands of students attending university here; I was dumbfounded. I was also very pleased since I had seen no one from home for weeks.

“Well, it’s not all that hard to figure out where you might be, Sojourner. Duh, this is the only all-Freshmen Women’s high-rise dorm on campus. I thought I would start here and then work my way through the other dorms that slip in the overflow first-year girls, if you weren’t in this one.” We laughed as, of course, this was also the dorm located right next to the street that passes by the main section of the campus so a likely place for anyone to start looking for a first-year student of the female gender.

“Well, c’mon in and take a load off. Here, do ya want the desk chair or the softer seat on the bed? I just can’t believe you’re here!” I was so excited; I’d been so homesick for school friends. Well, Elisa and I had not really been friends in school—more acquaintances—but she was from home and that meant everything to me at this stage in my first time away from home experience.

“Should I put my bag here in the closet or…?” I hadn’t noticed the bag before. Hmmm, we were supposed to get permission before having overnight guests.

“Go ahead and just put it there by the bed. My roommate’s out just now but should be back. I’ll see if she’s gonna leave for the weekend. It’s pretty tight in here when the two beds are pulled out from under this sideboard thing that makes it into a kind of sofa so, if she’s here, there won’t be any room for you to crash on the floor between the beds. Hmmm, but we can work that out later. She’s away a lot of weekends so maybe. Are ya here for the whole weekend or did ya have somethin’ else to do in town?” Since I had no notice that Elisa was coming, I also had no idea what her length of stay might be.

“I just thought I’d take advantage of a ride from a friend coming this way to drop in and se what the scene is over here. Figured I could crash with ya, right?”

“Uh, well, probably for one night, at least, if my roommate is not gonna be here. They have rules about the number of students in one room because of fire codes and stuff. I don’t really know anyone off-campus because all the freshmen have to live on campus. If I’d known you were coming, I’d have asked around just in case my roommate isn’t going somewhere. Hmmm, I may still be able to find someone; I’ll ask here on this floor and, if not, then I’ll ask at lunch. It is just so good to see you!”

As it turned out, “C’ as in “cat” was planning to be away Friday night but would return Saturday evening. It was fine for Elisa to stay Friday, as long as I got permission from the Resident Advisor, a third-year student in charge of our dorm floor. After a walking-tour of the campus, including a stop at the University Commons for a Coke and snack for Elisa who hadn’t eaten lunch, we struck out for the necessary permission. It was granted and we were all set.

“Uh, what’s happening tonight? It’s Friday so there must be somethin’ goin’ on here on this hippie campus?” The heat began to rise up my neck and across my cheeks so I was pretty sure I was blushing badly.

“Well, there is probably a movie at the student union or we could get a pizza delivered. I could ask some of the others who don’t have dates tonight if they want to play some games?”

“You’ve got to be kiddin’? Don’t ya know any guys here who have parties? You’ve been here nearly six weeks already? It’s a joke, right?” My red-hot face was joined in its discomfort by the growing ball of tension in my stomach.

“Actually, yeah, I do know some guys but I am still going steady with Curt so I don’t date here. There are other girls in the dorm who are in the same situation so we kind of hang out on weekends to help us be faithful to our guys back home. It is not yet legal for us to drink alcohol, anyway, so not a lot of the fourth-year students will even look at us. Jail-bait, they call us.”

“Awe, c’mon! Well, I’ll call the friend who brought me here and find out what time his party is. He asked me to bring you along so I will; He’ll pick us up right here at the curb.” Elisa was off the daybed and dialing before I had a chance to un-freeze my shock. “Okay, he’ll be here in ten minutes. It’s casual so you look fine like that.”

“Elisa, I don’t drink and I don’t want to be with any other guy. I can’t do this; I really can’t.”

“Of course you can! Don’t be so square. C’mon. Don’t tell me you’re gonna spend your entire first year in this swingin’ university and miss all the parties for an old high school boyfriend? Besides, he’s not here. He’ll never know you went.” I was feeling just sick.

I’ll know I went. When he calls on Sunday, he’ll know I’m guilty about something’; I know he will.” I was really torn. I didn’t really want to go to the party off-campus but Elisa was my guest. Shouldn’t I go so she can have a good time? I wouldn’t have to drink and I, certainly, wouldn’t let myself be isolated by one guy away from the group. Would it hurt anything to go?

Monday, June 25, 2012

First-Year University: Roommates

“Hi Guys! Hey, lemme me introduce you to my brother’s girlfriend and her roommate.” I’d just met my own roommate and turned from my unpacking to see the laughing, chattering first-year students worming their way through our boxes en route to the two desk chairs. “This is Jeri, Darrell’s honey and her roommate’s Kerry.”

“Hi! So, your names rhyme, too? Did you notice the sign they placed on our door?” The two heads turned to look at the open door.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Jeri laughed at the sight.

“What are the odds of that?” Kerry agreed. Somehow, the powers that be assigned me to a room with a girl whose name rhymed with mine, though it was not nearly as common as her two friends’ first names. I felt like I was part of some vaudeville act whenever the four of us went anywhere and had to introduce ourselves. Of course, the other kids just thought we were making them up ,and even went so far as to suggest we should have matched all four of them, not just settle for pairs of rhyming names.

There were no cell phones in those days so answering the phone in our dorm room usually sounded something like, “Did you want the girl whose name starts with a ‘C’, as in ‘cat’ or the one whose name starts with a ‘d’ as in dog’?” As you may have guessed, this was all-too soon shortened to the following: Hi! Is the dog there?” Good thing we had healthy egos to start with, eh?

Truly, the four of us had a great time those first weeks of university. Sadly, my roommate became ill and had to drop out during the second half of the first quarter. I was allowed to stay in that room for the remainder of that quarter but would have to move in to share a room with someone else for the second quarter. Okay, well I’d cross that bridge when I came to it and would have a blast with Kerry and Jeri in the meantime.

One of the last assignments in the huge Sociology 101 class we three attended was a research project of our own design. It was hard to come up with something original that would be fun, too. At 18, fun was a major component in any project they allowed us to design, of course. Lots of kids were choosing something related to winter and snow, since it was closing in on December and snow had been falling most of the last two months already. Then, Jeri and I decided on an experiment we thought would be unique and would take advantage of Kerry’s striking beauty at the same time. I must admit, it did take a bit of convincing Kerry she would enjoy it, too, but she, finally, did agree. The last minute touches were put on the plan and the specific grocery stores targeted.

We had never imagined the day would end up to be one of the coldest so far in the season and worried that it might be too cold. Kerry, however, was pumped to proceed so we did. Kerry entered the huge grocery store wearing tall, spiked heels and her bikini, while sporting a lovely smile. We had checked ahead of time to know just when the store would, normally, be the busiest so Jeri and I were thrilled to see the aisles full of gawking shoppers. We split up, notebooks hidden in pockets of our warm winter coats. As soon as Kerry rounded the end  of an aisle, one of us swooped in to make a comment about the bikini-clad teen, which always prompted a remark from the customer. These were, then, recorded in our notebooks as the shopper wheeled the cart away.

The older female shoppers usually said something like, “Humph, I didn’t think it was that warm out today.” The younger gals said something such as, “Oooh, I wish I had her courage to do that; but, man, she has to be freezing in that get-up.”

The guys, well, to a man—regardless of age, said an unsurprising, “Hubba-hubba, think I’ll go find my swimming trunks and follow this little lady home!; or, “Uh, you have any idea what her name is? It’s hard to approach her without, at least, calling her by name. She’d never believe I had met her somewhere if I didn’t even know her name, right?” We usually just agreed with them and never gave the guy her name. Jeri did let the elderly males know that their arthritis would probably act up a lot if they wore a swim suit on such a cold day.

When Kerry saw us slip out of the store at our designated time to depart, she made her way to the fast lane check-out with her two items and was met by us holding her winter coat as soon as she left the building. The experiment was a success even though we had to drop the last store off the list; Kerry was getting too cold to look natural in the bikini. It was a really fun way to spend a winter Saturday, doing homework.

When the next quarter began, I was living on the 8th Floor of the dorm, very near Kerry and Jeri’s room. My roommate was the daughter of a well-known political figure in the State. Sadly, I never really got to know her. My only recollection, other than her name, was the way she just loved to eat chocolate chip cookie dough out of the tubes found in the dairy case at the grocery store. Often it made her ill by the time she got ¾ of the way through and she complained of having the “flu.”

By the final quarter of the regular school year, I had to move again. Jeri was too lonely for Darrell so she wanted to move back home and go to a local university. As for Kerry, she would be traveling for that spring quarter so had dropped out during spring break. Apparently the pageant judges had agreed with the abovementioned men’s opinion, as Kerry was crowned Miss Montana-USA very shortly after this project. She would compete in the national Miss USA pageant and spend the next 12 months representing Montana in a variety of opportunities for the reigning beauty queen. Not sure what happened with my roommate; maybe she just wanted a single room so I needed to move? Could be.

In any case I spent the Spring Quarter on the 10th floor, rooming with the cousin of a girl I had met during the Winter Quarter. Hmm, I don’t even remember that girl’s name so, obviously, I lived in that room only because it was an available place. I don’t actually recall her being in the room often, though, so may have had a boyfriend occupying her time. In any case, her cousin and I had a lot of things in common and enjoyed studying and hanging out. By the end of the school year, we had already decided to spend summer in Eastern Washington, hopefully, finding summer jobs.

Looking back on what could have been, I am so grateful to the Lord for providing me with good friends that first year away from home. The girls were not interested in illegal consumption of alcohol or drugs; they just enjoyed what used to be called “good, clean fun.” Until that last quarter, I didn’t have a friend who would go to mass with me on Sunday, but I still enjoyed attending church. Clearly, God was answering my prayers both for academic success and helping me to fit in socially in a place where I had not known anyone.

I learned that God would help me to resist temptation at crucial junctures, after having let peer pressure lead me into dilemmas I should never have encountered. God understands that to grow up, one must be given a choice to make mistakes, too. However, God is right there to help us, if we will take the life-preserver he is tossing out to us!

****First-Year University: Mistake and Rescue… Coming Tomorrow (unless too much rain)

Friday, June 22, 2012

First-Year University: Work-Study

“C’mon, Sojourner, get the lead out! We need a dozen pieces of buttered toast over here like ten minutes ago; get with it, will you?” The line supervisor barked out his usual command and didn’t seem to care that it was just after six o’clock in the morning on a Monday. The freshman students waiting with their plates on trays at the toast bin didn’t seem to even be awake. Probably didn’t even notice they were waiting for toast, anyway.
“Well, if you want toast faster than this monster can spit it out, you’ll need to put in for a second beast. Do you see any dry toast just sitting here, waiting to be buttered?” As for me, I was standing in front of the hot, rolling contraption, buttering brush in hand, poised for the next offering of dry toast to shoot out from the bottom of the monstrous upright, metal appliance. The thing was slow because the bread had to have time to toast on both sides; but, when the next batch of toast began to emerge, it was a frantic bit of brushing the dry toast and placing them in the waiting serving bin, while flipping fresh pieces of bread onto the rolling upright belt.  A real rhythm had to be achieved in order to keep the process going… for the next four hours. Okay, now was that last batch white or wheat bread? These needed to be alternated… in case you thought there was already enough for the toastmaster to keep track of on an early morning work assignment! I was just glad I had passed that orientation stage where the shouting criticism of the line supervisor made me about cry with humiliation and frustration. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning of Winter and Spring Quarters was passed in this way that first year.
Tuesday and Thursday we did not serve toast so, as would naturally follow, I became the flipper for the French toast or pancakes four hours each Tuesday and Thursday. The lifetime ramification of this twice-weekly breakfast menu selection was that I never again chose to eat either breakfast item, if given a choice. I would be polite and eat it if a guest in someone’s home; but, otherwise, I did not eat French toast or pancakes for the rest of my life. Just writing about it now, I can smell them… and it as been 44 years! 
I had Saturdays off and only worked dinner some Sundays. Usually, I was the one to scoop ice cream out of those huge containers. They were deep enough that I had ice cream in every flavor decorating my forearms up to my elbows by the end of the shift. Uh, no, it never did put me off eating ice cream, but did, indeed, put another job on my list of employment I would never want to do for a living! I hated the feeling of sticky goo up and down my arms, not to mention how slippery it is to work with. At least, it wasn’t every weekend. 
My father encouraged me to go on to university, in spite of the recommendation of the high school guidance counselor, but let me know that my parents would only pay for the Fall Quarter expenses. If I wanted to continue after that, the financing would be up to me. At that time, Freshmen were not allowed to live off-campus, unless they lived with a relative in town. That meant I would need to come up with funds for the dorm, as well as books and tuition. 
This was really a wise move on the part of my parents, though I’m not sure they could have afforded to pay for the whole year at that time had they wanted to do it. If I was going to be independent of them, I would need to learn just how to do it. If I was going to make a life for myself out there in the world, I would need to learn budgeting and earning a living, while getting an academic education. A tall order for an 18-year-old’s first time away from home!
The first quarter I checked into the possibilities and found the best one that worked for me was the Work-Study Program. I would work four hours a day and get a student loan to cover what the paycheck would not. I had to arrange for late afternoon Chemistry labs so I could work the four hours in the mornings, but this was the only way I could get the work hours in with my class schedule. The other two quarters of the school year were thus financed and I was happy to know I had done it all on my own. It felt good to be “taking care of myself.” I planned to get some job skills under my belt during the summer months so I would not be working that breakfast line my second year. 
I did work my way through my university education, doing quite a variety of jobs. My parents had taught us to work hard and to give our best effort to whatever job we were doing. They raised no slackards and let us know that we were their representatives to the working world. Our shoddy behavior in the workplace would reflect badly on them so… do a good job! A good job included always being on time, always looking ready for work in every way (clean body, hair and clothing), having a good attitude, willing to do what was asked during the working hours, never leaving work early nor taking breaks longer than allowed, and putting in a full shift with the very best I was able to do. I am so grateful to God for my parents and the solid principles with which they raised me, by their own example as much as by their words.
The King James Version of the Bible says in Proverbs 22 verse 6:
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Well, now I am closing in on “old” and, indeed, I am not departing from that training of my parents. I still want to do the very best job I can!
You missed reading some related posts, but don’t know where to find them? Here you are, with the first link in the series:
Advice of high school guidance counselor:  Nuggets from High School: Career Guidance
Sojourner’s first ever work experience as a small child:  Snow Business, Scene 2
Sojourner’s first real job at age 14:  Adolescent Milestones: First Real Job 
****Have a Fun Weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First-Year University: Church?

“If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the mo-or-orning. I’d hammer in the eve-eve-ning, all over this land. I’d hammer out danger. I’d hammer out a warning. I’d hammer out the love between my brothers and my sisters… all over this land.”* (Feel free to just sing along, Baby Boomers!) What do Peter, Paul and Mary have to do with a first-year student going to church? Ah-ha, in the year 1967, everything! You see, our church, Christ the King Parish, had a “Guitar Mass” and we sang this very tune right along with words changed to reflect worship of God. We swayed, but did not clap like the Protestant churches were doing somewhere else in the city. The Newman Center was for Catholic university students and I loved it there. The priest in charge of things was a youngish fellow and had a smile every single time we saw him anywhere. He really loved the Christian life and he loved students, too. His name was Father Numan (though I may not have spelled it correctly here. It sounded exactly like the Newman Center but was spelled differently.)

You may have recalled from earlier posts that I just plain enjoyed going to church and had a variety of denominational experiences during my childhood years. When I reached that first year of liberation and making my own choices, I thought I really needed to make a choice and stick to one church. While most of the previous year I had attended St. Anthony’s with the Catholic friend I lived with as we cared for her ill mother, I still had a dropping-in kind of attendance with the Methodist Church, too. The First Methodist Church was a long walk from the dorm, though, so that helped make the decision a lot easier! We didn’t have vehicles that first year at university. Christ the King Parish was close to the campus.

I was searching for something concrete in my spiritual life and, it seemed to me, that the Catholic denomination offered what I was looking for, as well as the formality of the liturgical worship. Yes, I swayed myself through the beautiful strings of the folk-style worship of the Guitar Mass, but I often slipped in for one of the “regular” masses, too. I loved the solemnity and reverence of the High Mass. It was easy to see why Father Numan was always so happy; the Newman Center was a great place to hang out.

When, at last, I decided that this was the place for me, I asked Father Numan what I needed to do to become a member of Christ the King Parish. Well, as it turned out, I would have to wait a few months for the new members class… unless I wanted to join the Pre-Cana Classes just beginning? If you are not a Catholic but are aware that the first miracle of Jesus was done at the wedding in Cana, you may have already figured out I would be the only non-engaged student in the class! Nevermind, I didn’t want to wait.

I do realize that for some of you, you may be like a few of my friends were back in the 60’s and shaking your head and thinking I had gone off on the wrong path in, finally, just deciding to toss out my many years with the Methodists and other Protestant denominations. Well, dear Reader, let me assure you, I tossed nothing out. I learned much from all of them and have a lot of love for my Methodist friends and teachers, as well as the other denominations I frequented less often than the Methodists or Catholics. I was what we call a “seeker”. I wanted to know God and how to worship Him. I was not locked into what my parents did or didn’t do. I did not think I needed to stay with the same church just for the sake of loyalty. I felt that my loyalty was to God and not a building, really. He knew how much I wanted to find Him. At this point in my life, I felt like I was communing with God in the most profound way at Christ the King Parish.

The time would come later when the Lord opened up an entirely new door of relationship with Him. I would, at last, find the rest of what I had been looking for since my early childhood years when I had been too young to read the Bible but still walked and talked with God. I wanted to find that again and, in His time, I did! My understanding Father God knew I was seeking Him!

“God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” (Psalm 53:2)

Not only that, but He promises that we will find Him when we, earnestly and honestly seek Him!

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Even if you are in a tough place, God knows and will hear you!

Deuteronomy 4:29 “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

God loves you, dear Reader, and I pray that you keep seeking Him until you find Him!

****First-Year University: Work-Study… Coming Tomorrow

If you missed the post on Sojourner’s prayer challenge at age 7, you can find it here:

*Lyrics for “If I Had A Hammer” (In case you want to finish singing the song!)
If I had a hammer
I'd hammer in the morning
I'd hammer in the evening
All over this land
I'd hammer out danger
I'd hammer out a warning
I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land
If I had a bell
I'd ring it in the morning
I'd ring it in the evening
All over this land
I'd ring out danger
I'd ring out a warning
I'd ring out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land
If I had a song
I'd sing it in the morning
I'd sing it in the evening
All over this land
I'd sing out danger
I'd sing out a warning
I'd sing out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land
Well I've got a hammer
And I've got a bell
And I've got a song to sing
All over this land
It's the hammer of justice
It's the bell of freedom
It's the song about love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land
©1958, 1962 (renewed), 1986 (renewed)
TRO-Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Final Two Years: Freshman

“Now. Ladies, you must never wear patent leather shoes because it will reflect your undergarments and the boys don’t need to see them. You must never wear jewelry on your ears or around your neck that will reflect your bosom either. This is just not proper for a lady.” The elderly House-Mother was reiterating what the Dean of Women had advised us in her orientation for freshman women. The small group of us, dressed in our Sunday finest, sat with knees together and demitasse cups held properly, pinkie finger straight out from the handle. Did these women realize it was 1967? None of us had worn patent leather shoes since elementary level Sunday School classes and, for some reason, my very proper British-trained mother had missed the vile revelation that I was showing all the little boys my undergarments every Sunday. If she wants to talk normal attire, here, let’s talk about jeans, tee shirts and sneakers, when we weren’t wearing cowboy  or hiking boots…. none of us planned to wear anything to reflect our bosoms and it is hard to reflect anything through the legs of blue-jeans, isn’t it? Our undergarments remained safely out of view of all males trying to get a peek on the way to class. Let’s just say our most positive assessment of this required Tea Party with our dorm’s House-Mother was that the tiny cookies were good. I felt sorry for this lady, having to repeat this performance so many times to get all of the girls in with only space in her small apartment for five or six at one time. It was a high-rise dormitory of first-year teens! Since I was in Room 201, I was amongst the first group of “party-goers” and I wondered how the precious late middle-aged grandmother would do by room 1002! Hers was, definitely, one job to mark off the possible list of employment opportunities in my future.

Most of the orientation sessions and activities were of more relevant information. This was well-before the current trend for on-line class registrations so we stood in long serpentine lines, hoping that there would still be room in the class by the time we were face-to-face with whatever graduate student happened to be so unfortunate to be appointed to signing up first-year students for a specific class. Class-by-class, we made our way through lines and got the necessary signatures on our class schedule cards. It took hours and then more lines to actually pay for the quarter and lab fees. Then, of course, there were lines to wait for ID photos to go on that mandatory Student ID card… a pass for so many things, therefore, not something possible to just skip in this long day of lines and waiting.

During Winter Quarter registration, things were even worse because it was ski season in this mountain university. The crowd for payment of fees was so dense that the entire lobby of the Administration Building filled the foyer, quite literally, standing room only. The line at the cashier’s office moved so slowly and the area became so overloaded with students’ warm bodies and expelled carbon dioxide, that one or two students actually fainted. However, there was not a single bit of floor space to accommodate their unconscious bodies when they collapsed. The crowd just moved them along in line! No, I’m not kidding nor reporting an exaggerated rumor… I saw it with my own eyes.

To be a first-year student meant that you had a lot of required early morning classes, the later hours reserved for upperclassmen, or so it seemed to those of us in Chemistry, at least. So many changes and so much liberty for our 18-year-old lives. No one to shake us awake and push a piece of buttered toast in our hand, eyes barely open while we chewed. We had to get ourselves up, out to breakfast at the Freshman Commons (a distance about the length of a football field away from the dorm’s front door), and, then over to the right Department’s multi-level building and classroom … all before that 8 o’clock bell. Notebook? What notebook? Okay, well, probably that first week no one said anything we needed to take notes on anyway, right? Groan! It was a more difficult adjustment for some than others. Plus, at the end of the day, there was no one to see that we actually read the assignments or did the Algebra problems. With up to 500 kids in a class, who would check on such things? No one… until exam time, that is. Homework could just wait.

Weekends were the biggest challenge for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness… as the American Declaration of Independence would say. We were now very independent teens with no rules other than those our parents had ingrained in us. But, they were not there to enforce the rules… in fact, there were few university rules for off-hours. We had a curfew for the dorm because the front door would be locked at a certain hour and the legal drinking age was still 21, but, otherwise, no one laid any restrictions on us. They were, at this point, only those deeply entrenched in our own moral code. We were on our own.

No doubt our parents were hoping that something like the verse in I. Corinthians Chapter 13 would describe our newly independent lives… that we proved ourselves to be respectable, hard-working young adults who no longer needed monitoring!

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” (Verse 11)

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Final Two Years

Dear Reader,

We have come to the next transition point in the journey; though, perhaps, I should call it a “mini-transition” because the second decade has not yet come to an end.

In American cultural experience, a teenager finishes secondary school around age 18. The last two years of this decade are usually spent in any number of ways: studying in institutions of higher education such as community college or university, entering vocational training programs, joining the military service or getting a regular job to earn enough money to live on their own. Though times they are a changin’ (as that old song goes), when I was 18 kids left home to pursue independent lives. If they did not have enough money to actually support themselves while studying, they elected to live at home to use what money their part-time jobs brought in for tuition and books. Even so, there was always that search for just how to move out and live independently of parents as soon as possible. Today, the kids are not as anxious to assume total financial responsibility for their lives and don’t mind staying dependent on Mom and Dad for a lot more years than we did. Not sure why that is but probably lots of reasons.

What is important, from the point of the study of our sojourn to understand God, is that this time in the life of a young adult is crucial to his or her spiritual development. It is the time questions arise about everything we have ever been taught by our parents or the adults in our lives. It is the time we want to find the truth for ourselves and make our own decisions. We are “grown up” now and have  a right to decide for ourselves, don’t we? For years kids have heard their parents warn them to do this or don’t do that for “as long as your feet are sitting under my table” but, now, we have our own table and can make our own rules of conduct for our home. We are experimenting with what seems best to us. Fortunately, many of those “good rules” are retained but the grey areas are where the real struggle comes in because society is changing as to what the majority believes is good.

There are a lot of folks out there in academia who want to help the young newbie embrace the professor’s way of thinking. Many universities have quite liberal-thinking faculty members whose door is always open to students seeking views and ammunition with which to counter their upbringing at the hands of their conservative parents. Likewise, campuses all over America have organizations of Christian university students who are busily crusading to add members to their growing ranks of new Believers.

The 18-year-old first-year student, formerly called Frosh or Freshman, is being approached and “wooed” from both sides. If he has no solid convictions when he begins tertiary education, he will be like a piece of driftwood in a hurricane, tossed and twisted until he is unable to really sort it out before rescued from the storm. Many kids start university studies with a “working knowledge” of Christianity but not really a personal relationship with God. Kind of like the person who goes to church on Christmas and Easter knows the basics of Christianity but would be hard pressed to find the location of a Scripture verse called out from the pulpit. They are Christian in their moral beliefs but it doesn’t much affect their daily lives. These students are ripe for the picking of seriously liberal theologians in the Religious Studies Department. We must not be deceived when our teen tells us he is taking a class in the Religious Studies building; it is not necessarily a good thing. If he does not firmly believe those things he has been taught, the course may, actually, undo all that you and your church leadership have taught your child since early Sunday School days! He’s deciding these things for himself now, remember?

My own sojourn took me down the academic road for these final two years of the Tween/Teen Decade so it is from that vantage point I have experience to share. Many of you may have taken another road and I would love to hear your story. Feel free to email me, if you would rather not expound on your late teen years in the blog.

****The Final Two Years: Freshman … Coming Tomorrow (unless it rains too much)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mortality: Parents, Conclusion

On the way to the Homecoming activities at the UM in Missoula, my best friend, Martha*, was stopped by the Highway Patrol. The trooper told them they needed to return home. A short time before my boyfriend arrived with the anticipated gigantic smile, bearhug, and kiss, the phone in my dorm room startled me out of my daydreams of the weekend. “My father’s dead.” How could it be happening to her, to them? It had only been a few short months since the death of her mother. Needless to say, my own boyfriend was not any too excited to get back in his car and return, with his sobbing girlfriend pressed close to his side. They were his friends, too, so he understood a change in plans was needed. I had so long anticipated our first reunion after heading off to higher education would be full of excited details of what our new lives had been like so far. I still got the smile, bearhug and kiss but the long drive back home was pretty sobering and quiet. When we arrived at Martha’s doorstep, her greeting was a solemn declaration of the facts.

“We’re orphans now.” Nothing much anyone can say at such a moment.

How can anything good come out of this horrible experience for Martha and her family? Where was God in all of this pain? Why didn’t He stop it? Yes, I hear your questions, dear Reader; I’ve been there, too!

First, let me say that God’s plan and purpose for our lives does not always make a lot of sense to us. That’s because our thoughts are not His thoughts and our ways not His ways, according to the Bible. We are not perfect. We do not see what is ahead of us and can remember little of what is behind us. We only know the present moment and how the present event is affecting us right now. God knows what has gone in the past, what is happening in the present and what will be in the future. He takes all of this information into account when He either acts or doesn’t act in the way we would prefer. At all times He is just and His way is perfect for He can be no other way; He is God. Don’t confuse that with us having a pain-free life, however. Pain has its purpose, too.

One thing I can tell you is that, while it was a very difficult time for her family, this experience with her mother molded Martha’s choice of careers. Yes, she did become a nurse and, I have no doubt, was a really good one. Still, she longed for more education in the sciences and became a medical doctor in her 30’s. I had the joy of a reunion with her after four decades, in April of 2011. Martha is the Medical Director of a Hospice in Washington. The wonderfully loving care of a team of professionally-licensed people that was not available to her own mother in the last months of her life, is now being offered to many families with a loved one in that same situation, under Martha’s capable direction. She knows how it feels; she knows what is needed.  Martha sees that the families are cared for as much as the terminally ill patient’s needs are met. Dying is a family affair and the hospice programs have arisen to meet that need. Dr. Martha is a key player for many such families.

The issue of why God doesn’t always step in to prevent such sorrow when it just seems to be the right thing for Him to do in our eyes, will be dealt with in a later post. I dare say, there are a lot of things about life along this journey that are a puzzle. What I do know is God is just and never does anything without a good reason… including not stepping in. We may not know the why’s now, but we can trust Him. In the meantime, we can learn from the words of King Solomon… there is a time for everything under Heaven.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 3:

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die…” (Verse 2)  

“a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… “(Verse 4)

”…a time to be silent and a time to speak,” (Verse 7)

I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.” (Verses 10-14)

*Name has been changed.

****Have a good weekend and Happy Fathers Day, Dads!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mortality: Parents

“I need you to come home now.” My mother didn’t usually call me but maybe she had a chore she needed help with this morning.

“Okay, Mom. I was just gathering up my laundry and had planned to come a bit later anyway.”

“Come now. Bring whatever laundry you have collected and come.” Hmm, okay, something was up. Mom’s voice was a bit shaky, or so it seemed to me; maybe it wasn’t and it was just the surprise of her insistence?

“I’ll be right there, Mom.”

The walk home wasn’t a long one. Just across the park, passed the football field and high school plus, maybe, four blocks. Graduation had happened just a couple weeks earlier and, while it was probably a good time of celebrating,  I have very few memories at all of that momentous milestone in my life. What I do remember is that my best friend’s mother was dying. She had been diagnosed with cancer earlier in the school year and Hospice didn’t exist in those days. Instead, my friend, Martha*, and I worked with the school nurse to provide nursing coverage for Mary while she lived her last months at home with her husband and five children, ages 5-18. We were only 17 years old but learned a whole lot in a great hurry to be able to care for Mary.

Crossing the grassy field, laundry bag in hand, I thought of the many times I had made this quick walk to and from school during my final year of high school. Martha and I didn’t have Study Hall during that time because Mary needed someone with her at all times. We shuffled around schedules and, with a lot of help from the nurse, we took care of this precious lady. I learned more about the physical side of dying than I ever wanted to know. Her hallucinations from the morphine were so hard because there wasn’t a single thing we could do about it. I held Mary’s hand until the frightening episode was over. Did she know I was holding her hand so she wasn’t alone? Most of the time, I think she did. Lately, though, she was not very responsive. Clearly, Mary’s struggle would soon be over and her suffering at an end.

Coming through the kitchen door, I called to my mother, “I’m home, Mom. Should I just throw my clothes in the washer now or…?” I was standing in front of the basement steps as I asked.

“No, come here. I want to talk to you first.” I dropped the sack at the top of the steps and moved into the living room.

“Okay, Mom, what’s up? Is something wrong? I had planned to come home last night but Mary’s really not doing well, the nurse thinks she may die soon so I didn’t want to leave.”

“It’s your father. I just had a phone call and he’s had a heart attack.” My father was only 47 years old so I just couldn’t take that in. Dad was commanding maneuvers at a military camp hundreds of miles from us for half of June. How could this be? Heart attack?

“But, Mom, what happened? He’s too young for that, isn’t he?” I was stunned, shocked and puzzled all at the same time.

Mom did not have many details at this point; they had just phoned. Dad was being air-lifted to a hospital to be stabilized, then decisions would be made as to whether or not he could be transported closer to home. We would just need to wait. I was glad to have my laundry to do so I could actually do something besides sit there in that sullen silence with my many thoughts of how could this be and what will happen to us if…

It wasn’t long before a ringing phone broke the quiet. Of course, we held our collective breath, waiting to hear news of Dad. But, it wasn’t about Dad. My precious Mary, who had become a second mother to me, had just slipped away from our grasp. No longer would she suffer on this earth. No longer would our every waking thought be of what she might need or how we might make her more comfortable. No more nights would be abruptly ended as Mary’s groans from the bed next to ours let us know care was needed. Mary was smiling now and Jesus was probably giving her a tour of her new home. The tears were ours, not hers. That battle was over for all of us.

While I desperately wanted to run back to my friend’s house, I knew I needed to stay with my mother. The call about Dad might come while I was gone. When I reported why my mother had called me home, I was told to stay because the dear auntie who had been helping with the meals and other kids was coming. There would be enough help. This remains one of the most traumatic days in my memories of adolescence. The death of my best friend’s mother and the news of my own father’s heart attack… both within the same hour.

My father recovered from that heart attack and about a dozen others over the next 36 years of his life. While we lived with the fear that one of those attacks would be his last, it wasn’t his heart condition that ended his days. Instead, he died of liver cancer, probably provoked by decades of medicine to keep him from that fatal heart attack.

In the fall, I went on to the University of Montana (The UM was just under 400 miles from home), while Martha entered nursing education in a program closer to her siblings and father. Homecoming weekend at the UM would be lots of fun because the car traveling about two hours behind my boyfriend carried Martha and her steady guy… the four of us would enjoy the activities together. I was so excited as I had really missed these dear friends over these first weeks away. None of us saw the football game nor the dance floor, however. Tragedy struck my friend’s family, again.

*Name has been changed.

****Mortality: Parents, Conclusion… Coming Tomorrow (if it doesn’t rain too much!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mortality: Teens

“Get your crew. Motorcycle accident on the hill. Two victims. No details.” Grabbing the keys to the ambulance, I swung by the scheduled attendant’s house. I had been re-stocking the ambulance compartments and my co-worker was near enough that I could just swing by if we got a call instead of both of us driving across town to the ambulance barn.

“Any idea what’s up?” he asked as I slid out of the driver’s seat.

“Nothing more than you heard. Should hear more from the radio, though. I can hear the cops talking to dispatch now.” I ran around and jumped in the back of the vehicle as Ken* tuned the emergency frequency a bit. As he zoomed to the scene, I pulled out what I thought we might need for the victims of a motorcycle accident.

“What I can hear, sounds like those guys who just graduated a couple of weeks ago. A set of twins with high school wrestling trophies on their shelves. Apparently, they headed up the hill, single file. They got a bit too close to each other, for some reason. The wheel of the one in back clipped the wheel of the one in front and flipped him. Not sure if both boys are hurt.” Ken was looking straight ahead with his eyes but turning his head slightly to shout the report at the pass-through window.

“Helmets?” I shouted back at him.

“That’s a negative.”

Arriving on the scene, one boy was up trying to give the story through his panicked tears and the other boy was lying, quietly, on the ground. I headed for the downed victim while my partner stepped over to check on the agitated speaker. I didn’t’ have to look his direction to know that Ken had reached the boy.

“No, not me; I’m fine. Help my brother!” He was gesticulating with both hands and moving all over the place as Ken approached.

“It’s okay, son. My partner’s checking on your brother. Lemme have a look at you.”

“No, there’s nothin’ wrong with me! It’s my brother; go help my brother.”

Kneeling next to the young man, I began my assessment. I was, instantly, taken by just how calm his face looked. The nearly total absence of blood made it look like he had just decided to take a nap by the side of the road. He matched his brother’s chic look with the denim bib overalls over a bare, muscular chest. No helmet anywhere in sight. The absence of a carotid pulse and silent chest told the sad story. Life was over for this newly graduated teen. Literally the only scratch on his body was a small mark on his temporal area. When he flew off the motorcycle, he landed on a stone that pierced the side of his skull. His life had come to an end and life, as his brother knew it, would change forever; his twin was gone.

I was, also, affected deeply by this incident; I had only five years on these boys. It was a stark reminder that life could end at any time for any of us. Yes, it is true that not all motorcycle riders who spurn the helmet rule will become a statistic of the road, but some do every single day.

Other teens think speed behind the wheel will help them escape whatever pain they are living through; while, at the same time, other teens use the drug “speed” to send them to a totally different planet for a brief break from reality.

The adolescent never considers that his life could end; he’s simply too young to die. That false sense of security builds an unsafe platform for all kinds of dangerous experiences. The reality, however, is that none of us knows when the Lord will come for us. Not the hour of the day or the day of the year. We have no guarantee as to how many years we will live on this earth. It is a sojourn with no uniform timeline. Truly, every day could be our last. We would do well to live our life with that truth in mind.

Whether the completion of the number of days appointed for us to live rolls around (Ps. 139:16); or, through unwise choices, we shorten the days of the sojourn, the fact is that the days will end. Even if our earthly journey occurs during the period of time immediately preceding the return of Jesus so that our earthly bodies don’t decay in the usual way, still, we will stand before Jesus to give an account of how we lived our life here on earth. None of us knows how old we will be at that point in time. Some of us will be teenagers, while others will be nearing that century mark. Only God knows.

In Matthew Chapter 24 there are two verses of Scripture that apply to the present life we are living, as well as to the returning date of Jesus:

Verse 42: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”  
Many false prophets have tried to give us a certain date on the calendar when Jesus will return, but the Bible says no one knows that day or the hour. We just need to be ready to meet the Lord at any hour of any day. Even if Jesus is not coming because it is the time of His Return, He may come for one of us at any time. Verse 44 lets us know we won’t be finding it on our Day-Planner, so we should live every day as though it were our last… regardless of how old or young we are right now!

Verse 44: So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Why? Sounds a bit underhanded, doesn’t it? I mean, why hide the date of His Coming or, in fact, why keep it a secret what day each of us will die? What’s the big deal?

God understands the creation He has made to the minutest detail. He has made us in such a way that we will find peace and fulfillment only when we obey the laws He made for us, His creation. If God told us we would die on a certain date, wow, would we clean up our act about a week before that date, right? Meanwhile we have lived without His peace and our whole life has been an emotional roller-coaster for no reason whatsoever… except for one week, when we committed ourselves to getting right with God. God made us to have relationship with Him for all of our life, on earth and in Heaven. Since God cannot look upon sin, He has given us His Word so we can learn what will separate us from God. If we can understand the love God has for us, we will begin to understand why being in relationship with Him for all of our life, not just the last week we live, is vitally important to Father God. He made us and He wants us to share in His love.

*Name has been changed.

****Mortality: Parents… Coming Tomorrow