What happens to a twenty-year-old student radiology technician who experiences the total transformation of her life, following an encounter with Almighty God? This saga began with the post entitled A New Door Opens, with the pivotal post, A New Door Opens, Conclusion. You may need to read those to understand the details of this post but, then, maybe not. Maybe it is the norm for a twenty-year-old to do impetuous things!
My nature is to want all my ducks in a row; to analyze the heck out of any decision I need to make; and, to take a crowbar to move me out of the box I am currently in. That’s why I can look back on what happened next and just shake my head in wonder. If anything, it is confirmation that my experience at the foot of the cross was real and, indeed, transforming.
“What do you mean you are quitting?” The head of our program was shouting at me over the phone. Guess he’d found the letter I left on the borrowed textbooks I’d returned very early that morning. “You can’t quit! You’re doing an excellent job and are at the top of your class, for G_d’s sake! What do you think you’re doing? You’re throwing your life away.” His face must be beet-red, his eyeballs probably bulging.
“I just need to leave, Sir. I don’t belong here. Did you read my letter?” I had tried to explain in a letter what had happened to me and what I wanted to do with my life. Truth is, though, I had not wanted to have this conversation with the chief and had hoped to just leave without encountering any resistance.
“Letter! Letter! Of course, I read that… that letter! Are you out of your mind? Has some cult latched on to you or something?”
“No, Sir, there isn’t anything anyone has said to me. I just know that I need time to sort things out and figure out what to do with my life. All I know is that this isn’t it, so I’m going home.”
“Is it the class work? Are you fed up with the homework and tests, or something? You are nearly at the end of that phase, only a couple more weeks. Then you won’t have so many classes and will be at a stage when you can spend most of the day taking the x-rays and assisting with procedures.”
“No, Sir, it isn’t the homework or tests. I don’t mind the classes and will, probably, go back to university”
“Well, have you told your parents you’re coming home? I’ve sent them a photocopy of this letter. Can’t you just wait until they get it and talk to them?”
“It won’t make any difference; I’m going home.” The slamming down of the receiver on the other end of the line spoke volumes. I feared he would come over and throttle me into finishing the eighteen months left in the program.
I had not called my parents but one thing I knew, for sure… if I wanted to come home, for any reason, my parents would never tell me no. In those days sexual harassment in the work place just happened and only the women cared. If my mother and father heard how this guy had treated us, his ugly remarks and his inappropriate touching when no one else was there to witness his behavior, they would be glad I had come home. I didn’t add that to my explanation to him and it was not in the letter. Truthfully, while such things were very unpleasant and I hated to hear him coming in the workroom when I was alone, his distasteful behavior had nothing at all to do with my quitting. Had I not had the encounter with the Lord, in all likelihood, I would have finished the program.
I tried to carry on with my normal routine but found it nearly impossible to focus on normal things. I took my Bible to the hospital and read it on every break. I felt like a thirsty kid crawling the Sahara, an insatiable thirst for God’s Word. By June, I knew I just couldn’t stay there; I wanted to go home and re-group. I had surrendered my life to God and needed to know what God wanted me to do with my life. No, joining a convent never entered the list of possibilities, though I would probably have considered it had I sensed it was what God wanted me to do. I reckon God knew that the celibacy thing would be a deal-breaker for me; I wanted to get married one day and have children.
So, my dear boyfriend returned to load his car with my packed boxes and suitcases. He’d had no car trouble on the trip to Colorado but the return was another matter. Somewhere just into Wyoming, something broke and we limped the hundreds of miles home at twenty-five miles per hour. Well, it gave us a longer time to get caught up, right?
Back home, my parents held the letter in hand and asked me to explain. I tried but, really, I had written it all in the letter and it sounded just as strange to them in person as it had on photocopy paper. “Now what?” My father, the very practical one, was concerned that I not join some hippie group and hang around with the flower children somewhere in the wilderness.
“Well, I want to get some sleep, to start with, because I haven’t had much of that since I left here. Then, I’ll get a job for the summer and, hopefully, in that time I will figure out what I want to do in the fall. I just don’t know right now.”
“Okay, Honey, well, we’re glad you’re home. It’ll all work out.” My mother’s kind remarks were comforting but I so wished I could explain things better.
Well, my fatigue turned out to be mononucleosis, not just the result of many nights of less than four hours of sleep over the last months. I spent the next three or four weeks pretty much sleeping, when I wasn’t eating, hanging out with Curt, or reading my Bible.
Joyce? Well, she left the program, too, but for a much more traditional reason, she and Rey got married. In fact, today is their 43rd Wedding Anniversary. Their life together began with Rey enrolled as a student in the Baptist seminary in Denver… no surprise there, right?
****Back in the Real World… Next Post