TWO NOVEMBER 22nd QUESTIONS

(These plague me every year.  I think they were a big part of this week’s Funk.     Maybe I can exorcise them by writing them down.)

Of course,  the first question is common to us all,  to us who were alive in 1963:  “Where were you when you heard that President Kennedy got shot?”

kennedy

Perhaps if you weren’t alive then,  you can’t understand what  an important question that was.   Where were you”-  and then we’d tell each other, because this was a common shared national experience and we needed to connect our “local,”  personal experience with the bigger picture.

(Me?)

studyhall

( I was in study hall on November 22,  studying along with my class for a big chemistry exam.   We were all in a bit of a shock,  but strangely enough not only was our chemistry exam not canceled,  but school was not canceled for the rest of the day.    I heard other schools closed on that memorable Friday.)

I knew we’d get through this as a nation.  We’ve had other presidents assassinated, and we got through.    What remains tragic and depressing is the obvious cover-up that we all saw developing right away.    I hear President Trump was pretty angry with all the redacted pages in the recently released “Kennedy Files.”      Who decides that stuff?  It keeps us on edge.

My Second November 22nd   Question:

Well, this is more personal,  but deeper and maybe still troubling.

dating    November 22 is the date of a guy’s birthday.  A guy I was engaged to but did not marry.     We were young and all passionately in love – the kind where you don’t think about anything else except each other.   He was in the Air Force, so we were separated a lot.

“Passionately” in those days did not automatically mean “physical,”  if you  know what I mean.   I “saved myself” for my eventual real  Hubbie, as it should be.    But this first guy, well, we met in church.

Kind of  like this.church

Everything was in black and white in those days.    This guy had everything going for him:  “Youth leader,”   Good singer.   Pastor’s friend.   And a genuine born-again Christian who read his Bible and talked about it with me.   Oh, yes:  blond, blue-eyed, and handsome.

men's trio

Most commonly I saw him from this angle with his friends,  singing on stage.    He was tenor in a young men’s trio, and I was usually down below, banging away at the piano in accompaniment.  Seemed like everything was going right for us.

 

But then,  you know,  I was seeing behind the mind of a young male evangelical Christian.   He and his friends.   And I myself was seeing some big things wrong in the teachings.    Though we talked the same talk,  we were heading in separate directions.

It’s a matter of authority.   When you’re a Protestant,  you’re at the top of your heap, so to speak.  You get to decide what to believe,  what Bible verses mean,  who you agree with,  what pastor and what theologian your going to follow,  and you even get to pronounce absolution on yourself, deciding if and when you are forgiven.

Within that one little church there were dozens of different “truths.”     Dozens of different Jesuses.   And none of them connected historically to the beginning of Christianity,  (unless you said so).

So, sadly,   we parted.   No overt argument or harsh words.   We said we’d be friends, but that was hard to do since he had another girlfriend with him.  And then,  so I was told, a string of girlfriends,  and . . .  children.    He went downhill, morally, and I know what his thinking was.    I have always felt somewhat responsible for  . . .   his  . . .   for the changes.   I’m not, of course.

November 22nd,  his birthday, and I know that every year.    What would have happened if we had married?    Was it Providence that stopped us?     Predestination?    Fate?   Or was it that the children that Hubbie and I brought into this world were meant to be.

No regrets.  No regrets at all.

But . . .  that date.

Maybe I can put it to rest now.

Like lancing a boil.

.

 

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