First and foremost, I have always been open about my age. I am 61 years old and I have never deviated from that fact nor have I endeavored to place myself in a bygone era. And while I have no desire to return to my youth, or my much younger days, I look back to the person that I was at that particular time, and what I would do to change her.
I was a very homely, awkward teen who struggled through that period of life. If ever I thought differently about myself, there were a bevy of individuals on hand to remind me that I was indeed homely with few, if any, redeeming qualities.
Things changed on the cusp of my 20th birthday. I did not become a raving beauty by any means but instead I developed a biting wit, an outrageous nature, and a vivacious personality, all of which caused my circle of friends and associates to expand. Still, the Margaret that I knew then made a desperate search for love in the faces of the various men who appeared before her. My choices remained dastardly and pulled me even further away from the most fervent desire of my heart.
Although I was quick to profess Catholicism when asked about my religious beliefs, my actual knowledge of God was nil. I had no relationship with Him and my Bible was relegated to the bottom of the closet along with other antiquated, discarded items. It had little meaning for me and aside from the Crucifixion, I regarded much of it as relevant as Alsop’s Fables.
Born-again Christians were to be laughed at – indeed, was anything funnier? Nevertheless I was outwardly polite and would always accept an offered tract. In my last semester of college, I had a lunch date with a man of interest. Carl was a cop and I liked him but he quickly let me know that we would first attend a meeting of The Seekers, the on-campus Christian group, after which we would then have lunch. I did all I could to dissuade Carl from this seemingly preposterous idea…”You’re Catholic…I’m Catholic…what if someone were to see us??”! However Carl was determined and with an air of resignation I went with him. Someone played a guitar as all the attendees sat in a circle. There was prayer, Bible study, and one hour later it was mercifully over. I was not moved and when Carl remarked “Margaret, I feel something”, I was quick to retort “You’re hungry…that’s what you feel!!”
I don’t know if Carl ever returned to the Seeker meetings. Graduation came soon thereafter and while I remained behind for the MA program, Carl disappeared from campus.
During the intervening years, I was able to progress in both my education and employment. My ways, however, remained restless, and though I was now an active participant in my childhood parish, I continued in my pursuit of love. Fornication and adultery, to me, were not sins particularly if either one or both would serve to bring about what I desired most which was a husband. I no longer wanted to be outrageous and sought to settle down. I also became weary of looking for love in all the wrong places, but I knew not what else to do.
Carolyn became my coworker in November 1983. She had a peaceful countenance and for the first time in my then 30-years, I encountered a Christian who spoke the truth as to the factors that led her to Christ. Most whom I had met previously appeared to have existed on chimerical clouds both before and after their conversion. In my very fractured state, Carolyn’s counsel generated into my heart and in March 1984, I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Through His grace and through His mercy, I was also freed from sexual sin. I chose to live as a new creature in Christ. I also knew that He had a plan for my life and as He reminded me in Psalm 37:4, if I delighted myself in Him, He would give me the desires of my heart. However we are flesh…we are human…and while some old habits die hard, He is there for us, as He was for me, on the path of spiritual maturation.
Though I sometimes reflect on the young Margaret and what I would say to her if afforded the opportunity, I try not to do it often as we are told in Isaiah 43:5 “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.” In this present age, there are so many who have walked an identical path and the gift of God is the ability to share with them the hope for change and the new life that can be found in Christ Jesus. He is not a myth, nor is He relegated to mention in a Sunday service only, but He is real and His Word can change the very course of our existence.