50 Year Legacy – How I Became a Jesus Follower: Part Two

Circa 1970’s

I am celebrating a Golden Anniversary!  50 years ago this July I started following Jesus. Here’s how it began in May of 1970…

In spite of my “I’ve got it all together” mantra,  I knew I was somewhat spinning in who I was now, who I was becoming and quite uncertain of my grounding.

My “experiential” lifestyle had about run it’s course and I was weary.  But who had time to sort all that out? I had classes to finish, protests to attend, and gatherings with new friends to discuss the perennial questions of the meaning of life. No one seemed to have the answer.

To take a break, over Memorial Day weekend I took off with some no longer remembered friends to a rock festival in the woods a couple hours away from campus.  The “Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival” was loosely based on Woodstock which had occurred the previous summer in upstate New York. During that Saturday afternoon with the music blaring across the fields, I found myself holding a sugar lump of LSD in my hand which was placed there by a complete stranger. Dropping acid was not something I had tried.

The inner struggle to pop it in my mouth or not was a crossroads for me and I knew it then. By the grace of God, I handed it back. I see that as a turning point of my life. I was walking away from a tried-on lifestyle but what was I walking towards?

Meanwhile, the soundtrack of my life was Simon & Garfunkel’s “I Am a Rock.” “I am a rock, I am an island, a rock feels no pain, an island never cries.” But I did. Sophomore year ended and I headed back home but hopefully not for long. The Jesus of my youth seemed far away.

I had big plans for the summer of 1970. Actually, my only plan was to go to Colorado and do something. I decided I needed mountains to provide the perfect setting to think deep thoughts. The previous summer I spent working at a camp in Massachusetts which allowed me to get to the ocean every few weeks. Why not try the mountains this summer?

As you might imagine, that plan was way too vague for my parents. We wrestled back and forth on that. Finally, it was time to make a decision, was I going or not.  I remained adamant as did they.

On an early summer evening, I went to the drive-in movies with my friends. Before I left, my mom said she was going to pray the whole time I was gone about whether or not they would allow me to go. If you knew my mom now, that wouldn’t be a surprise but at the time, I don’t remember her ever talking like that before.

When I returned, she was up waiting for me. “I don’t really like this but I feel a sense that we need to let you go.” I was shocked. She added the caveat that I couldn’t just roam around the mountains but had to take summer school and have a structure. I quickly agreed.

In a short matter of time I was registered at Denver University to take two psychology courses as that was my major. I packed my bags and they put me on a plane. A friend of mine whom I had somewhat dated picked me up and drove me to campus. He was eager to reconnect, I sensed I was going in a different direction. One weekend camping trip with his friends to the mountains clarified that for me. I was out.

But where was I going to be in?

This was my first time living in an apartment. The small complex was part of student housing and right on campus. My two roommates were Hazel and Marilyn and we seemed to click. BTW, Hazel and I are still friends and see each other when we can as she now lives in Idaho. I remember unpacking and listening to the two big hits from that summer, “Close to You” by the Carpenters and “Make it With You” by Bread.

Being on this campus felt like a fresh start, just what I needed after the wrung out spring. I wasn’t looking to pursue any particular lifestyle but just to take a deep breath. I liked my two classes, got a very part time job and spent a lot of time gazing at those beautiful mountains so visible everywhere.

But my heart was deeply unsettled and I longed to stop the churning. (To be continued next Thursday.)

PS If you missed part one you can find it on the right. Better yet, subscribe to the blog.

4 Responses to “50 Year Legacy – How I Became a Jesus Follower: Part Two”


  1. 1 Jan July 9, 2020 at 2:05 PM

    After all these years (about 50) I still remember your story and a sad song.

  2. 3 Megan Pool July 11, 2020 at 7:21 AM

    Loved reading this! Thank you for sharing.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >


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