Saturday, April 21, 2012

Twenty Years Ago

Last week I took my NIV Study Bible to a bookbinder to be re-bound. [The original binding, genuine faux imitation leather, was showing its age]. So tonight, when heading out to my weekly Bible study, I had to find another Bible. I grabbed one of my favorite translations, the Good News Bible, from the bookshelf. I have not used this version in a long time, but I remember buying it and using it for some of the first Bible studies I participated in as a young wife and Mother.

I flipped through the familiar and well-worn pages of this paperback and found the usual assortment of papers, bulletin fragments, etc. that I often stuff in my Bible. A couple of those were dated - 1992 - so I guessed that was the last time I had used this particular Bible. Because I'm a whiz at math, I quickly realized that 20 years had passed and of course I was immediately struck by the thought of how quickly they had passed too!

I've spent some time trying to remember what was happening in my life and in the world that year. You can go to any number of websites to research the latter. I will only share a few of the former memories with you. I do have a written journal, but alas, I didn't start that until 1997, and of course "blogging" was a thing of the future. [In fact, in 1992, the phrase "surfing the Internet" was first coined, but the White House did not yet have e-mail servers and you could not order pizza on-line!] In 1992 my boys were 12 and 10 and I had been selling Discovery Toys for 10 years; plus my Daddy was still living. I'm sure 1992 was a good year, although I can't remember many details, but the next year my world would fall apart.

Three events occurred in 1993 that changed my life - my Father was diagnosed with lung cancer and died within four months, my husband retired from IBM after a 27 year career and our children left private school and began attending the local public schools. I might have been able to deal with one of these things, but the combination of these three events sent me into a deep depression. In thinking about them now, I realize that all three events had something in common:  they were a full frontal assault on my sense of security.

Of course my Daddy represented the security I'd known since childhood. He was still a powerful force in my life, and I was very close to him (and my Mother) even as an adult. My husband's IBM career represented our livelihood, our financial security. We weren't close to being able to retire permanently and our children were still young. How would we survive economically? And although I knew that private school was a luxury that we probably couldn't afford for the boys indefinitely, I was not prepared for the move to public schools in 1992 - with one son in 5th grade and the other starting middle school. Private school had been a safe and secure cocoon for me and the kids for 7 years. I wasn't ready to leave the nest!

Eventually, of course, I was able to come to terms with the new circumstances of our life. I still miss my Daddy, but mourning cannot and does not last forever. We experienced several years of financial  uncertainty as well as some new job situations that were hard on our family in other ways. I went back to work, first part-time and later full-time. The boys did not adjust immediately to their new schools, and there were many days when we all cried, but in hindsight, at least one of the boys adjusted very well. I still have guilt feelings about the other son in light of his subsequent difficulties with school.

But, all-in-all, we coped. We adapted. We survived. And maybe we were a stronger family as a result. One thing is for certain, God brought us through all the changes and upheaval. He always does. And I know that He is the real soucrce of my security. I may not have known it then, but I know it now! It's never too late to learn that lesson is it?