Famiy Friday #1 The beginning

January 5, 2024 0 By Mirm

Ok, I am not sure about this or whether or not I will keep it up but I need to build consistency into my writing times. Connor’s grandfather wrote a “memoir” through StoryWorth prompts and Emily was saying how she really wanted some more things from her dad. I don’t want to invest in another writing opportunity but since I have this blog maybe it will work to dedicate something specific here.

I am calling it Family Fridays with the hope that the kids may make a guest appearance once in awhile as we reflect and remember Jim while we still know what he “looked and sounded” like. While I have done some of that in this blog, perhaps I can focus on His life with more intentionality, rather than on his death, which has helped me process my grief.

So, I guess I will start at the beginning, which is my beginning with Jim. I was a new freshman at Biola.  An accomplished clarinetist, I was not planning to play my clarinet in college. I had not even brought it to the dorm. My dad had shared with Mr. Lutke, the band director at the time, that I played while at a parent orientation prior to the fall semester. Mr. Lutke relentlessly pursued me until I would play for him. I did and he talked me into at least giving the symphonic winds a try. So, before the semester even began, I found myself reluctantly at a band retreat. During the weekend, there was this older student – a senior trombonist –  who shared that his mother had passed away a few weeks earlier. He shared it so matter of factly and most of the band members who had been in band the previous year knew she had been sick with cancer and had been praying for her. I was startled and this definitely made an impression on me.  This was August 1977 and even though my mom and I were happy for the “break” from each other, I did not know anyone whose parent had died and I certainly could not fathom losing mine! That is my first memory of Jim.

I quickly made friends at Biola, both in the band and in the dorm, but by the end of my freshman year the band was my main college community and Jim was among my circle of friends. We did not date until nearly 2 years later. In fact, when I went to Biola, I had a boyfriend from church; it did not last long because I didn’t want to miss life at school to go home or to go out with someone who was not part of my college life. Also, I need to mention that the first time I did go out with Jim on a double date, we were each with another person.

Jim used to tell people that his first memory of me was during a band chapel during that early fall semester 1977. He was struck by the prayer I prayed enough to open his eyes and look up, watching me with interest while I talked to God. He thought to himself that, although I seemed spiritually “deep” I was a freshman and he was not interested in dating a freshman. I find this very curious since he went on many dates with other girls in band before we went out  at the end of my sophomore year, and many of them were freshmen!

When we did start dating, it was awkward as we unintentionally hurt the feelings of other band members. But that is another story.