Wednesday, March 31, 2010

(not) The Preacher's Wife

**good news, I added a group shot of Chi Kappa to last week's post.

Last week I dug out some old journals to see if I could find the actual wording of the Chi Kappa pledge. I didn't find it, but in perusing through 6 or 7 journals I was struck by how often I wrote "I'm so depressed." Sometimes it was so sad and depressed, or maybe other slight variations, but almost every third sentence was "I'm so depressed" followed by the conclusion that I wasn't close enough to God, wasn't walking right, wasn't in God's will, etc. There are pages and pages filled up with these thoughts, followed by verses I wrote out; things I was trying so hard to hold on to and do, believe, something.

I went to BJ not knowing anyone or (in retrospect), anything. I didn't know what I was getting into. I thought it was just a sleep-over version of my former life. I was a rebel without trying because I didn't get the system. Then I spent several semesters desperately trying to fit in, to wear enough big white-collar shirts or ankle-length pleated skirts to be holy. And after all of that window dressing and verse-writing in my journal, a preacher boy boyfriend told me I was wearing too much eyeliner (it was the mid-90's and minimalist fashion was reaching a tentative finger into the overdressed world of conservative dress codes; thick black eyeliner was very cool just then). His exact (to my memory) words: "There are girls on this campus who you can tell just by looking at them that they love God."

Chew on that for awhile. Apparently that wasn't me.

(I have tried several times to upload a picture to illustrate my point but they are all uploading tiny and I'm not trying anymore tonight.)

And for that boy, I took "The Preacher's Wife" taught by none other than Beneth Jones herself. Beneth Jones as in wife of Dr. Bob Jones III. There was another woman teaching with her -a preacher's wife who said something that really helped me and has stayed with me over the years: when she was feeling like she wasn't saved, when satan was attacking her and lying to her, or she was doubting her salvation, she would just say "fine. Then I'll get saved now." This was amazing to me, there didn't have to be the drama and tears and aggravated soul-searching that I was getting from this preacher boy (who was out with an evangelistic team but that's another story); one day he was really cranky and finally burst out with "I'm doubting my salvation, OK?" I guess that meant he couldn't hold a polite conversation.

We did a project involving collecting bulletins and ladies' events flyers and stuff like that from churches. This was to build an idea file that we would use down the road when we were running women's ministries. or something. I actually think mine might still be at my parents' house. I'm seriously going to have to look the next time I'm there. Who knows what fantastic and possibly out dated ideas that accordion file will produce.

The other thing I remember about that class is sitting there with the girls who were actually dating preacher boys or maybe even engaged to one, wanting so much to be one of them, all of us in awe of Beneth. She was so tall, and put-together, and had such fine diction. She was our Jackie O. We wanted to be her.

I wasted a lot of credits in classes I didn't need. Sewing. Creative Writing. College Algebra. The Preacher's Wife (those are the ones I can think of now). I probably could have graduated on time if I had started with any sort of clue about prerequisites and required classes.