Untotaled: Stepping 63 (October 18th, 1970) Three… April 18, 2015

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2564)

(Transcript)

Jane, Mike and Diane.

Three people.

Please remember their names. I will get back to them shortly.

Leaving Buffalo, Dollie and I had much to talk about on our way to Ohio. We had decided not to abort our child, but that particular determination did not take away the problem we were facing upon our return.

How do you tell people who are already disapproving of your relationship that you’ve lied to them about a pregnancy, and that the baby is due in about 3 months?

We tried to be mature.

It was very difficult.

We wanted to pretend a little longer, hoping we could gain some acceptance, and then spring it on people at the last moment.

But we decided that the parents needed to know, and that we would let it flow from there.

We tried to get hold of Dollie’s parents but they refused to take the call. So we wrote them a letter, explaining that Dollie was pregnant.

When we sat down with my mother, she shook her head, whimpered a little bit, and then told us that “she figured there must be something like that going on.”

We then told the pastor and his wife, and once those floodgates were open, we tried to inform everybody we knew as quickly as possible–before it became the grist for the gossip mill.

It didn’t take long.

Within 4 days everyone in the community was aware that we were in the process of having a baby out-of-wedlock. (It didn’t seem to matter that we were now married and were trying to make the best of the situation.)

The general consensus was that “they already knew,” they wished us well, and they were pretty well certain that our relationship was doomed.

There were three folks who stepped out of the pack, and to this day I remember their courage.

Jane was a friend from school who decided to come over and give her support to us. I don’t know why.

Mike, one of the guys who used to be in my singing group, continued to talk to me at church, sing with me from time to time, and never gave up on our closeness.

And Diane, my sister-in-law, stepped in the gap and let Dollie know about a doctor to visit, who would help her through the final 3 months of the pregnancy and the birth.

They were shining lights in the presence of dimness.

I would never want to portray that the people of our community were mean, nor that they were wrong in their assessment of our situation. It’s just that their form of evaluation left us out in the cold, without the warmth we needed to find our escape from the iceberg we had created.

It was a lonely week. I shall never forget it.

It often comes to my mind whenever I am encouraged by others to alienate individuals who may have fallen from grace. Reminding errant souls of their sin is similar to going to a dermatologist for treatment for your acne, and having him repulsed by your complexion.

We needed more than mercy–we needed some human tenderness.

Had it not been for those three souls who stepped in the gap to be grace to us, we might have turned completely sour, never to return to faith again.

From that point on, I wanted to make sure that I always found myself as part of the “chosen three.”

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 59 (September 9th, 1970) Welcome Home–NOT… March 21, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2538)

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(Transcript)

Troubled souls require a soft pillow on which to fall when their great plans bring them crashing to the earth.

There was no such cushion awaiting my girlfriend and myself when we landed in Columbus, Ohio, having hatched a plan to be together–to the chagrin or disapproval of all outsiders.

  • Her parents disowned her.
  • Our high school friends stopped calling.
  • And our church stood at an adequate, Biblical distance, careful not to pass along any semblance of support, while also insisting they were not “negative.”

We had obviously failed. We had broken the protocol.

For some, it was an issue of right and wrong. For others, it fell into the realm of proper or improper. But really, in the long run, the greatest fear of any small town is that actions are not “normal,” forcing them to be declared “weird.”

Once we received such a cool reception from our community, we found it impossible to share that a baby was on the way, especially since such a revelation, in 1970, was just short of abomination and well within the realm of unforgivable sin.

We were scared. We were two people desperately in need of counsel. We found no consolation, only affixed stares.

So we decided to drive down to Nashville, Tennessee, using some of my girlfriend’s college money, to see what life was like outside our burg. Because we were gone for the entire weekend, people assumed we got married, and when we returned unhitched, the persecution increased.

I was informed that I was no longer welcome to be in charge of the coffee house, which had been my great affection all through my high school years.

I don’t want you to misunderstand me–I am not saying that the path we chose was conventional or even worthy of any type of praise.

We were just young.

We needed consideration instead of condemnation–and it was just easier for them to set us to the side than to take us aside and set us straight.

So because of all of this scrutiny, we decided that we needed to go somewhere in the deep South and find a state where we could get married as quickly as possible.

We were thrilled.

Everyone else pretended they didn’t notice.

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