Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Spiritual Journey--through the summer of 1950

You might want to read part 1 of my spiritual journey if you missed it. 


Beaverton Union High School graduation

Deadly Accident






My childhood Bible

Its tattered and torn, but it served me well during those 'tween years before college.  The King James Version was the only version I had seen as a young person.  I found it laborious to read, hard to understand, at times, and often struggled with consistency in being in the Word.  During my teen years I look back and see that I was a fairly "pompous" Christian, priding myself on what I did not do, rather than Whom I served!!  I realize now, with hindsight, that I knew very little about a 'gut-level' relationship with the Lord, nor did I have a grasp of what it meant to grieve the Holy Spirit.

I was outwardly pious, but inwardly I was something of a rebel.  I had two vices--one was dragging Broadway in downtown Portland on Saturday nights, and the other was an addiction to roller skating!!

I had a good friend (Christian family) who had no limits put on her and she had the use of a car.  So....I often spent the night with her  where there were no curfews...and we were on the wild side--nothing terrible, but I would have embarrassed my mother if she had seen me yelling out of the car windows on Broadway!!

I graduated from high school in 1950 and  I had my acceptance letter from Westmont College in Santa Barbara.  I was elated over going away to college and excited about planning all I would need to take with me, shopping for clothes, and all the things that go with going out of state for school.  Little did I know what lay ahead that summer....

During the summer of 1950, my adored uncle (my mom's youngest brother), in a terrible accident, backed over and killed his own little four year son.  This had happened at a southern Oregon beach town, so it was the next day that a friend drove them to our home where they stayed for many weeks.  It was the darkest time I had ever experienced.  I remember standing in my bedroom and shaking my fist at God and yelling. "Why? Why? Why?" and feeling such anger at God.  I scared myself!

Until that day, I had never seen my Father cry.  Family gathered at our home waiting for my Uncle and family to arrive.  I saw my big, strong, farmer Uncle (Mom's oldest brother), who came with his family, walk in and stretch out on my parents' bed and sob like a baby.  Later in the day we all received the grieving family into our home, our hearts,  and into our arms.  

Family--what an all encompassing word!  

We huddled close, we wept, we planned a funeral, we viewed the remains of a beautiful little golden-haired child.....and we wept some more.

It was terrible to see my handsome young uncle, who stood 6 feet, 6 inches, reduced to a sobbing confused, childlike man, who had just turned 40!  Even as I write this, almost sixty years later, my heart wrenches in remembrance!  We actually spoon fed him, for in his grief, he could not eat without help.  (My Uncle lived another forty years, had two more sons, but the twinkle in his eye, died with his little David!)

A root of bitterness welled up in me that summer against God, and I was overwhelmed, watching my aunt and uncle trying to mend their shattered lives, as they dealt with grief in a way that I had had yet to experience.

This was my first "valley" experience.  There were to be many more, but none have been quite so raw as this one was.

coming--the college years and healing


Sassy Granny ... said...

I was only two when you were dragging Broadway, but I certainly followed suit in the mid-60s when I "dragged the strip" (aka, 6th Avenue in Tacoma). It was great fun; and innocent, so thank you for allowing me to relive it a bit.

That tattered Bible speaks to me. It says as much about you as your words, though these particular words are so rich, so authentic. Both it and them choked me up. I could feel the pain of loss of one so young and so loved.

How blessed are we that profit from this journey you're taking us on.


Kim said...

Thanks for sharing, Joan, and I look forward to the next installment!

By the way, that Bible looks exactly like the one I was issued at my Christian High School. I need to go dig it out now and thumb through it.

Anonymous said...

Oh this reminds me of the Steven Curtis Chapman accident with hos older son hitting and killing the little sister. How I cried over that. This is the most devastating accident one can imagine! Ugh. It tears at my heart to imagine the grief of this man and his family!

Anonymous said...

How greatly the incident with David colored not only Uncle Ray & Hazel's life....but spilled out on ALL of you...considering that utlimate trauma which Ray had to deal with for the next 50 years, one has to remember to to grant him compassion in other areas.

A real test of Faith for all of you. But without your faith...where would you have been? Wow!


Technonana said...

Oh My Sweet Friend Joan... I felt as if I were right there by your side.... Thank you for sharing from your heart...and anyone can see why this memory is still so raw... my heart ached as you told it. What a devastatingly awful thing!!! This reminded me so much of what happened in Steven Curtis Chapman's family.
Thank God your family handled it the way you did!!

sister sheri said...

Joan - I know it must be difficult to go back and taste some of the bitterness. Perhaps the Lord will continue to bring healing. Perhaps the Lord will use your story to touch others. I so appreciate your vulnerability here. What a glimpse into your life!

I so adored our afternoon together. As always the time flies by so quickly. I can't wait to share the beautiful bookmarks. Thanks for your wonderful hospitality! Looking forward to another outing. Much love!

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

I really am gaining insight from these beautiful post...hugs...m..

Ruthie said...

I am enjoying catching up on your blog, since we were gone so much this summer.
Blessings to you. I've missed all my blogging buddies. :)

Amy said...

What a tremendously difficult thing to go through. It's hard to understand why sometimes!