During my freshman year and half of my sophomore year in college,
I lived on the same dorm floor.
It was the early 80’s and MTV had just started to make it way to our
small town’s cable televisions.
Several of us, who had survived a year together, crammed into a single room
and watched music videos.
We laughed and tried to mimic the dance moves.
It was new and it felt revolutionary.
We all were equally having a blast.
As time began to evaporate, we each realized there were more crucial
activities than trying to define A Flock of Seagulls’ hair like studying or heading to class.
For no apparent reason, other than perhaps it had been a burning
question since freshman year, the television owner looked me
straight in the eyes and said,
“Hey, what are you? Are you Catholic?”
To be honest, inwardly I smiled.
If you know my story, you might recall that as a child after viewing several
movies about nuns, I wanted to be one.
In my young mind and heart, I could not fathom how to be
closer to God than to be cloistered.
Somehow that hope didn’t mesh with my Presbyterian upbringing.
I didn’t share this tidbit to my friend who was known for her frequent declarations that
as a communication major she was destined to be the next MTV VJ.
Instead, in my quiet voice, I said,
“No, I simply love Jesus.”
I have been thinking a lot about that assertion from 1983.
No truer words.
Lately I have been reading so many debating words on the Christian front.
How have we come to this place in 2014 where we have to label everything as either
good or bad?
Conservative or liberal?
Pro this and anti that?
Millennial this or not?
Young or old?
Some of the descriptors I don’t even understand to be perfectly honest.
My spiritual walk has been shaped by old and new.
I embrace liturgy and praise choruses.
I love opening Bibles crammed with tissue paper as well as listening to it read on my
smart phone (by a voice sounding like Jeremy Irons, no less).
My heart finds rest in the King James as well as The Message.
Hymns remind me of this vast faith journey of those before me.
Rock concert-like worship can send me to my knees just as much as
singing The Lord’s Prayer.
My heart swells knowing God delights in all my complicated ways of finding Him just as
much as He finds pleasure in the one who always wears a tie to church.
He scoots up beside the one who has a bold
ink story applied to her arms.
His ways are old and yet new every single dawn.
His ways are deep and profoundly simple.
His way is the loving way.
The best way I have found.
The collection of books pictured above are ones I grabbed from my shelves, night table
and dare I say, the floor.
They have been teachers in simply loving Jesus.
They are old and they are new.
One day even the new will be old, if it remains against the expanse of years.
Just like in 1975 when I first said yes to Jesus.
Just like in that packed dorm room in 1983 when I defined myself apart from
Just like today in 2014,
My name is Helen and I simply love Jesus.
This reality never gets old.