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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Final-Year University: Flip-Side

Once we hit our 60’s, we can usually look back at the 20’s and shake our heads at some of the things we did, wondering just how many of God’s rescue angels were needed to ward off a certain crisis-in-the-making. At the time, of course, it all seems normal and danger is far from our thoughts. I usually don’t want to own up to such events in my life, but as I looked at where to go with this blog account of my sojourn, I decided I owed it to you to be honest…lest you think my life was lived totally in a rose garden. Ha, far from it! In my twenties I did some really dumb things. Buying a motorcycle at the start of a Montana spring was one of them. Here’s how the final year at university played out, which will show you how I could have decided I owed it to myself to buy a motorcycle, regardless of the weather.

Fall Quarter of my Senior, and final, year at university brought with it the start of some of the most painful times in my life. In only a few weeks, I’d be going to court to have my marriage annulled. As for many women, food became my comfort. Our off-campus apartment was located on one side of the block, and behind us, a fast food hamburger joint. Now, talk about your recipes for disaster in the weight department! When one’s tears can be soothed with the consumption of hundreds of calories by just descending the stairs and walking across the alley…nothing good can come out of this proximity. Sadly, some of the weight remained as a permanent souvenir of those awful weeks.

Unfortunately, the comfort-eating didn’t stop when my lawyer spoke those ugly words, “Okay, girl, you’re now free, white and twenty-one.” His lighthearted attempt at humor with this commonly heard phrase was only one-third correct. I was white, but I was twenty-two and, most certainly, not free. Everyone who has ever been through the dissolution of a marriage will know what I mean; there is residue, scars, and more. Wounded would be a better, more-encompassing term for how I felt; food became my band-aid.

Sometimes, I ordered double what I ever wanted to eat, just in case I wanted more when I had finished the meal. I was still with it enough to be embarrassed that I was ordering for two, so I also ordered a second Coke, Diet, of course. Having been raised in the “clean your plate” model of pleasing one’s parents, I ate both meals, even though I wasn’t hungry. In fact, I rarely had the sensation of hunger; nevertheless, I still ate like I’d not had a meal in days. It took a long time before I felt disgusted with myself and even tried to do anything to stop it.

The daily life went on as always, exteriorly; but inside, I was just totally numb. When people were around, I had a fairly affective mask so few really knew what was happening at home. Back in the apartment, I sat in the old, sagging, blue winged chair and ate. The television was going sometimes and sometimes I put on music but I never listened to either. It was just to cover up the sound of silence, nothing more.

Where was God in all of this suffering? God was there but I didn’t care. I didn’t let Him comfort me; I just bought another hamburger or order of fries. God didn’t insist that I receive His comfort or follow His Word. He let me choose for myself. Too bad, really.

****Final-Year University: Academic Catastrophes…Next Post

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