I’d decided to follow Jesus. I had daily quiet times of prayer and Bible study; I went to church and Christian Union meetings; I went to weekly Bible studies with fellow students who were also living in lodgings.
One member of my digs group [digs – UK English for student lodgings] had been converted in the same week as myself. We used to compare notes: ‘How’s the not swearing coming along?’, ‘Still smoking?’ I really thought he was the one – the love of my life.
After a 6 month honeymoon period in my walk with God, J came back from the summer vacation and said he didn’t believe anymore. I was devastated.
To me, J’s faith had been as real as my own. I respected his intellect. My own faith remained – but for how long?
I continued with my Christian pursuits, and also kept up the friendship with J.
At some point during that year, I told J’s room-mate how I felt about him. J told me that we needed to talk, and then gently informed me that he didn’t feel the same way about me. I was disappointed, but not devastated in the way I had been over his loss of faith.
The thorns were starting to grow. Thorns as described by Jesus in the parable of the sower: the worries of this life, and the desire for other things choking the seedlings of faith so that they don’t mature.
By my final year, I was in a mess. There was a postal strike for 7 weeks, during which time I had no contact with my family. They didn’t have a phone – only landlines back then, no mobiles.
I became suicidal over something which to this day I don’t remember. The following day I went off on my motorbike for a few days. On my return, I found that the police were looking for me.
My studies suffered and I almost didn’t sit my final exams: I felt I hadn’t done enough work. To my amazement, I gained a 2:2 (lower second class honours). A mediocre degree; but I felt guilty knowing that others on my course had slogged away at their books and gained the same as me.
Where to go next? Before going to Uni, I’d had thoughts of doing medical research. A 2:2’s not good enough for that; although I did spend a few months as a research assistant at a polytechnic inLondon.
I was now entering what I call the ‘dark years’ of my life – which had probably started during my second year of Uni. The dark years – periods of suicidal thoughts, guilt, shallow relationships: drifting through life with no real plan or sense of purpose…
See at: https://delemares.wordpress.com/category/my-story/ for earlier parts of my story.