When I was a sophmore in High School, I was a cheerleader. Go Mustangs!!
That year we went to Cheer Camp at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB). It was fun as you can imagine. During my senior year I started looking at colleges and UCSB was on the top of my list. I love the ocean and it was right there. I had some familiarity with the school having spent a week there at camp.
I applied to some other schools when the time came and, of course, filled out all those financial aid and grant applications. I waited…and then the acceptance letters started coming in. I was a good student and was accepted to every school I applied to.
Now the time came to decide which school to go to… I chose UCSB. For many reasons one of which was that my boyfriend at the time lived in Southern California and we could continue our long distance relationship. Now to wait to hear on the financial aid… Sure enough, being a child in a low income single parent family helped me to be eligible for just about everything out there. My good grades and test scores didn’t hurt either! I was approved for the Pell grant and the Cal grant and all sorts of other things that I can’t remember now! I was set and ready. My costs were covered and I was looking at a bright and interesting future as a Psychology major in the fall.
Then I met my husband to be..and Jesus…and my new life of Christianity.
When I started seeing my future husband, I was a senior in high school, the female lead in “Bye Bye Birdie,” an alto in the “audition only” Jazz Choir and had a taste for fun, boys and rebellion. No one could tell me what to do. If they tried, I would blow them off and do what I pleased. I guess you could say I was strong-willed, hard-headed and a bit wild around the edges. I was also only 17.
When I met Dale, he shared his faith with me as I have described before. I looked up to him. I idolized him. I practically worshiped him. He was Jesus with skin on to me. What ever he said, I swallowed hook, line and sinker. He was so honest, so kind, so grateful to me for any little thing I did for him. He was also older than me and had already graduated.
I remember talking with him one day about my upcoming school plans – going to UCSB and how it was all paid for with the grants and scholarships I qualified for. He looked me straight in the eye and asked me if I thought my moms had been totally honest when we filled out the paperwork on our financial situation.
Hmmm…I wasn’t sure.
You see, ever since I had gotten mixed up with this guy, I looked at my moms with suspicion. They were living an immoral lifestyle after all. And they didn’t approve of my dating Dale in the slightest. In fact, he was the only boy they forbade me to date. Didn’t work for me as I just did my usual and blew them off.
So this question about their honesty in filling out the forms really brought me up short. I never asked my moms if they had fudged on the forms. There really would have been no need as we lived under the poverty level. But because of my new-found negative attitude toward them, I figured they MUST have lied. I mean, hey, they already were sinners beyond belief weren’t they? Of course they would have lied. Just so that they wouldn’t have to pay any money for my education. All these thought went through my head in a matter of seconds. I replied to Dale that I guess they could have been dishonest on the forms.
He said to me,”Well, then you can’t take that money. It would be stealing.” He was absolutely right…wasn’t he? I mean, I was a new baby Christian and I couldn’t figure these things out for myself. I wanted so much to please him and God and do what I thought they wanted me to. Surely it would be wrong and a sin for me to take the money.
I said,”Thanks, but no thanks” to all the grants and scholarships and told UCSB I would not be attending in the Fall. I never talked to my moms about it that I can remember. I never went to college. I got married 5 months later and that was that.
It’s as if when I met Dale, I turned off my brain. It has taken 25 years to find the on/off switch and turn it on again.
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