Throughout my college years I maintained what LC called a pre-law concentration. That, for me, added up to a double major in English and Economics with a minor in Philosophy. That’s only important here and now because it was one of my freshman classes that introduced me to Dr. Mary Bowman. This little old lady was certainly more dangerous than she looked. Dr. Bowman was a feisty history teacher and an accomplished world traveler and especially given the short time I knew her, she made a remarkable impact on my life. This was primarily because she called me to her office one day to press me – to insist; to demand – that I make a decision I thought I could not possibly make.
Her timing was impeccable. I was weary of the mendacium, tired of fellow students questioning whether I was a “liberal” or a “conservative,” (I now know that I would never escape this trap – and why bother? I am me, regardless.) and eager for an escape.
I succumbed to her pressure and agreed that at some point in life I would travel abroad. Not that I would try to, or think about it, or plan to, but that I would. More specifically, she wanted to me to join the LC overseas program to study in London, England for a semester, but she insisted on two points: 1. that I promise myself to go at some point, and 2. that this promise was the first step of progress toward going in the very next semester. She was a master at manipulating young minds for their own benefit. Under her direction, I decided to go home for the weekend and talk to my parents about funds for the trip. I told her I knew what the answer would be, but she was quite persuasive.
As I drove home that Friday afternoon, the oddest thing happened: just on the south side of Monroe, as I was passing an abandoned concrete block building with all the doors and glass gone, I noticed something graffitied on the interior back wall of the structure. “London.” Just that. Nothing more.
I made it home, unloaded my dirty laundry as a good college student does, examined the contents of the refrigerator, and decided not to mention it yet. Whatever “the right time” was, that’s when I would bring it up. At some point on Saturday, I took the plunge, explaining Dr. Bowman’s sales pitch (as they saw it), the “once in a lifetime opportunity” (as I saw it) and then general pleading. They had meritorious arguments against it: unrest in the Persian Gulf, (this was 1990) Irish terrorism (IRA) was active in England, it was a long way away for a long time, it was expensive….
I accepted the idea that I would not be going that January, while trying to maintain the Dr. Bowman attitude that I would go at some point.
The next morning we attended church as always, and they granted my petition. I can’t say I remember anything after that, other than driving back to school and seeing “London” painted on that wall again. I signed up to leave in January for my first flight ever, to leave the country for the first time, to live and study in London, England.
We were still in the spring semester though, and that meant I had one full fall semester in the states before my semester in England. I agreed with my parents to attend that semester at Northeast Louisiana University, to save money and bring up grades before I went abroad.
By this point, I thought I had mostly resolved my crisis of belief. I was confident of the existence of the one God, Jehovah, and His Trinity of being. Not just because the Bible said so, but based on extrinsic and empirical evidence. I accepted the Bible as truth with a lot of parable and figurative language. I wasn’t sure which was which, and I still wasn’t confident on whether it was Man’s work about God, God’s work about Himself and Man, or a mixture of the two. My mind was largely open to both sides of the multitudes of ideological fences before me.
(Here I would caution anyone staying with me to watch the NUMBERS in the titles if you care about correct chronology. These aren’t being posted in chronological order so much as in order of remembrance. The numbers reflect the accurate chronology. Thx for following – more fun to come)