My Autobiography

Part Five–Liberty

That summer I worked as a YMCA camp counselor. One afternoon, after I had got home from work, my mom questioned me about what I was going to do in the fall. “Attend Harvard By the Highway I guess,” I said. That was what we called the local community college. A few days later, I received a letter in the mail. Even though I had never applied before, I was granted a half-scholarship to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. This is the school that Jerry Falwell is the chancellor of. I found out later that the school had taken a financial hit due to its involvement in the Jim Bakker’s PTL scandal. They were handing out scholarships like candy. I made a quick decision and decided to go. I decided my major would be Communications with an emphasis in Radio Broadcasting. I had always wanted to be a disc jockey.

In August of 1994, I arrived in Lynchburg, Virginia on the campus of Liberty University. I soon met my roommate. His name was Paul and he was from the Bahamas. Paul and I soon discovered that there had been a mistake made with our room selection. We were put in a room with two Spiritual Life Directors or SLD’s. SLD’s were the dorm pastors. They were to pray for the dorm and all it’s occupants and assist with any spiritual issues that the students may have. Because of this, they weren’t supposed to have anybody else room with them. Paul and I were told to wait until things died down with housing in a week or so and then go see the Resident Director and we would get our new room assignments. One night, as I was studying, I heard Ben and Jim, the SLD’s praying around the bunk around me. I heard them pray for many things and they called several students name out aloud in prayer. Something stuck me profoundly with the way they were praying. It was not the pompous prayers of legalism, hypocrisy and pride that I had heard before. They were praying boldly, yet with humility. They prayed so intimately, like they were talking to their best friend.

I quickly make friends with some of the guys. Among those guys was Steve Sparks who was from the suburbs of Detroit. Clint Fortune was from Miami. Chris Gurgen was from Baton Rouge. Ben, the SLD, was family with Clint. Jim, the other SLD was from Philadelphia. I begin to hang out with these guys on a regular basis. With college came women. I started to date a girl named Allison. That ended rather abruptly when I realized that the girl was mentally unstable. No lie. In my pain, a girl named Rachel comforted me. We soon began to go out. That also ended rather abruptly when she decided that she wanted to be with her ex-boyfriend again. One night, shortly after we had broken up, we were talking on the phone. We had remained friends after our break-up. I was venting to Rachel about some of the things I had been going through. I had recognized the cycle of rebellion in my life and I had begun to see the godly living in some of the guys I hung out with and I began to realize that I just didn’t seem to fit. They seemed to have something that I did not. I told Rachel, “I feel like I’m beating my head against a wall, like I can only go so far.”

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