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Category: Testimonies
Topic: How did a Kid from Bournemouth England End up Running a Homeless Shelter in Alb. NM?

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I lay in bed and listened to the muffled, angry voices coming from the living room. My heart began to pound. Mom and dad were arguing again. What about I did not know; I just knew they were arguing.

At eleven years old, I hated my parents' almost nightly fights. I knew my mother was not happy living with my wheelchair-bound father, diagnosed several years earlier with multiple sclerosis. On a number of occasions, she had told me that if dad had not been sick, she would have left him. On other occasions, mom informed me that I should be grateful she stuck around to take care of my older brother and me. Lots of parents would not have done the same, she added. Mom explained to me that she only married my father because he had told her that he would apply for a commissioned officer's position in Britain's Royal Air Force. He did not apply, and now, because of his disability, there was no chance of that. She felt cheated and angry.

As sharp tones filtered through the muffled voices, I focused on the one bright spot on the horizon—I would be leaving for boarding school in a few weeks. That which I initially looked forward to as an escape from family tensions, however, became my own private nightmare. Nights brought on being the victim of schoolboy pranks, like having my bed shortsheeted. Days were filled with planning escapes from hockey games, rugby football, cricket or cross-country running—depending on the semester. I did not seem to fit in anywhere, so I retreated into a world of books, where no one demanded anything from me.

The school was in Bournemouth, only about an hour's bus ride from my home on England's south coast. Ironically, my escape was to go home many weekends—to the home I had been trying so hard to escape from. I guess I concluded that the tension at home was preferable to the abject misery I endured at school.

Admittedly, there were a few fun times. One early morning, all the kids in my dorm awoke at about two o'clock, buzzing with excitement. The chapel was on fire. Since a destroyed chapel meant no church services in the morning, and maybe for a long time, the kids were elated. In my pre-Jesus days, these chapel services were extremely boring for me—just something else in my life to be endured.

Of course, the next morning, the fire and how it was discovered were the talk of the campus, and did we love what we found out! The word was that the school chaplain had gone to a dance in a nearby town. Returning in the early hours of the morning, he found the chapel on fire. However, this “hip” spiritual advisor had not gone to the dance dressed in robe and cassock. He had been dressed in full sixties regalia, including a Beatles-style wig and high-heeled boots. Naturally, we all thought this was hilarious. No one talked of anything else for days after.

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Posted: 2005-06-03 17:12:00

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