Somehow I thought that the radiology program I had enrolled in would let me off the hook with chemistry. Ha, what a joke. I was beginning to wonder if there was anything for which we didn’t need some knowledge of chemistry. Chemistry was needed in order to understand the chemicals used in manually developing x-ray film, amongst other things. During the regular work day, our films were processed through a machine that did the job, effortlessly, in ninety seconds. However, there were plenty of times when those films had to be processed manually and, we had to admit, it was important to understand the chemical reactions to remember just how and when to dunk the film that had been clipped to the processing frame. The incorrect solution or length of time could ruin the film. No way around it, complaints or not, some knowledge of chemistry was necessary.
We poured over chemistry notes in preparation for the next exam. This next exam was a very special test. The elevation of its status had nothing to do with academics, however. The Chief announced to our class that the person who scored the highest on the next chemistry exam would win a pair of tickets to the Trini Lopez concert slated for the next weekend. It would be a live performance by the entertainer and the seats were in the middle of the third row.
Well, I had not a clue who Trini Lopez might be but, hey, competition? That’s great! I set out to win. There was a good reason to study chemistry, at last.
Should such a proposal be held before us now, we could just go online to see who the entertainer was, right? Nothing like that existed way back in 1969 but, truthfully, it didn’t matter to me who he was. It was the thrill of the competition that energized me, not the prize at the end.
My roommate, Joyce, and I quizzed one another every free minute. I began to realize that she knew the material as well as I did. Hmmm? Would Joyce win the tickets? It was very possible and may just come to who was relaxed enough to spit out the answers more than who actually knew the right answer. Now, I had something else to worry about; would I freeze?
At last, the day of the exam arrived. Soon our mealtime conversations wouldn’t include chemical reactions and equations. I was so nervous all morning until the signal came to head for the classroom… and the chemistry examination.
Before he handed out our test papers, the Chief reminded us of the contest, like any of us had forgotten, duh. I looked at the blank lines and spaces and my heart jumped into my throat. Okay, at least, write your name on the top, I told myself.
I could see Joyce whipping through the problems and questions. I, on the other hand, slogged through each one like walking through a deep, boggy marsh. You can do this, I told myself. Take a deep breath and read the next question. Okay, skip it and go to the next one. Thus passed the two hours until I had written something after each question.
Joyce was delighted to have the test over. Her smile and chuckles at my dragging body accompanied us out of the classroom. My drawn eyebrows and somber expression just managed to increase her joy right into all-out laughter. Well, okay, so what if she had won? She was my best friend so I’d be happy for her. I need not win; the contest had served a higher purpose… to get me to learn the material, right? Oh yeah, sure.
When the results of the examination were announced, I nearly jumped out of my chair. I had won! Only by two points, though; Joyce was a close second. I gladly offered her the second ticket, since she came so close to beating me.
In the end, we did attend the concert and had a great time. The entertainer was very good. He had a lot of energy and talent, really pulling us away from any thoughts of the troubles or difficulties of the week. It was a terrific evening.
I had never imagined that doing well on a chemistry test would ever find me sitting so close to the stage that I could just reach out and about touch the entertainer; but that was exactly the case that weekend so long ago. It remains my best “chemistry memory”, as you might have figured.
What does God have to do with this? Ah yes, I can see your confusion here. The answer is that God understands just when we need something we had no idea we even needed. As I said, I hadn’t heard of this entertainer and, most definitely, had no money to purchase concert tickets in premium seating even if I had. God knew the entertainer and, more than that, He knew just what routine he would perform that evening. So many of his jokes and songs were perfectly fitted for our current situation. I laughed so much and, at one point, we even got to join with him in belting out an old favorite. It was just really a “cut loose” time that helped us go to a world of fun and laughter for a couple of hours. I don’t know anyone who couldn’t benefit from such a diversion now and then. Plus, God, Who knew our finances, saw that this treat was a totally free offering. All we had to do was study hard for a chemistry exam… something we should be doing anyway, right?
Rewarding us for the study effort with such a fun evening is exactly like our understanding God, Whose heart is tender to all those Who call Him Father!
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