I stayed with Robert and Jane until the summer of my sixteenth year. For some reason I developed a rebellious streak and didn’t want to be ruled by anyone. I started sneaking out at night to party and what not. There was one evening when I crawled out of my bedroom window and climbed down the TV tower antenna only to find Robert standing at the bottom. I picked up smoking and drinking and being a smart mouth. I understand now, that Robert and Jane could not allow my behavior to disrupt their home and impact their children, and that is why they made the decision that I return to the Center.
I wasn’t that upset about being at the Center, as I went to a cottage where my sister JoAnn was. However, she had changed since the last time I had seen her. She was withdrawn and sad. I would find out later that she had suffered some very traumatic experiences in her own life that had severely impacted her emotionally. She would never recover.
It was difficult to feel part of the Center environment. There was a different mentality. Some people use the word “institutionalized” to explain the way people think and feel about the world around them, who have spent time in a place like the Center. I also, struggled making friends at the new high school because; I had to take a yellow school bus with the name of the Center written in bold black letters on the side, that identified me as a “Homie”. That’s what the other kids called those who lived at the “Children’s Center”. Everyone looked down on the kids that came from the “Home”. I looked for any way to be involved and accepted, so when I was invited by a very popular girl named Barbie to spend the weekend at her house I was thrilled. When I got to her house she let me know that we were going to hitchhike to a party town in a neighboring state. I had never done anything like that before. Another girl named Maggie came along too.
It didn’t take long for us to get a ride. A trucker picked us up; I was not comfortable, he immediately gave me an uneasy feeling in my stomach. We didn’t get too far down the road before he asked with a disgusting laugh, which one of us was going to “pay” for the ride. I demanded that he pull over immediately and let us out. I made quite a fuss and he pulled over. The other girls were freaked out too. We soon got another ride that took us to the bar where we were to meet some friends of Barbie’s.
I must admit I was out of my element and was kind of wishing I hadn’t come along. Of course I wasn’t going to let anyone know that. I just tried to act cool, like I knew what I was doing. I was served a turquoise colored drink that hit me pretty hard. The next thing I knew Barbie was shaking me as I was lying on the bathroom floor of the bar, which is a very disgusting place to find oneself. The next time I would regain consciousness would be late Sunday afternoon with no memory of the events of the weekend.
1Peter 5:8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion; seeking someone to devour.” They only way I can make sense out of the experiences of my life, is that God plays by the rules. It is not because God can’t, He is all-powerful; it is because He won’t override our free choice or the free choice of others. “God never forces the will or the conscience, but Satan’s constant resort is to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce – compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience and to secure homage to himself.” (E.G. White; Mind, Character, and Personality, Vol. 1, Page 324.4) The Holy Spirit calls out to all of us to give our will to Him, to protect it. We find ourselves in difficult situations, that if we are honest, we have brought upon ourselves and must pay the consequences. However, remember Micah 7:8 “Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise, when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light unto me.” Further, Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may find mercy and grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 13:5 is a promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Oh praise the name of Jesus for His promises are sure!