When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
The day my friend Louisa and I drove to Stillwater, Oklahoma to explore the possibility of me doing some radio work with KOSU, I told her over an Eskimo-Joe lunch about the working title for my memoir: The Sex I Didn’t Have, The Drugs I Didn’t Do, The Rock That Didn’t Roll.
That rock being the Solid Rock, as in hymn 92 in the Church of the Nazarene’s Worship in Song Hymnal.
I appreciate the fact she laughed hysterically because it would have been a real bummer if she’d just sat there and felt sorry for me.
Jene’ Jackson could probably write that exact same memoir. She’s a girl I went to college with at Southern Nazarene University in the late 80s and early 90s. She was a couple years behind me in school, but we were good friends. We both majored in political science and were involved in student journalism. We were also both dyed-in-the-wool Nazarene preacher’s kids. Back then, the Nazarene manual forbid dancing and movies. Rural churches and those located in more conservative areas of the country even frowned upon swimming with the opposite sex. They called it “mixed bathing.” To do even these things equated to sowing wild oats.
It wasn’t a bad way to raise your kids, and I draw upon many of these principles in the raising of my own children. Chastity and holiness were things my father drilled into my head and grilled me over during my teen years. I am sure his influence saved me a lot of heartache. But, I have to tell you something. You can be so innocent and naive that you don’t even recognize disaster. Even when people tell you the house is on fire you can’t really appreciate the flames because you can’t even see them.
I can’t remember when I reconnected with Jene’ on Facebook, but it was only recently that I learned about her work on The Oat Project. Jene’ writes:
Four summers ago, several mom-friends were stunned to learn that at 37, I’d never been drunk in my life. After hearing of my conservative Christian, Nazarene preacher’s daughter past, they gleefully made a list of 25 wild oats I’d “missed out” on sowing, thanks to my fears of eternal damnation. And so began The Oat Project.
The Oat Project includes a memoir about sowing wild oats. It’s being written in chapter increments and you’ll be able to download different chapters as the months go by. As someone who has so much in common with Jene’, I must admit, I choked up while reading her first excerpt. Here’s a portion:
Though my parents weren’t oppressively restrictive, our church and community pounded fear into me. Go out into the world, and I might wreck my car while drunk, or get a sexual disease, or cancer from instantly-addictive cigarettes. But worse, I’d harm my spiritual life, potentially doomed to hell, separated from God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit for eternity. Thinking about wildish things meant I was spiritually weak. Doing them was to flirt with hell itself.
I’m not saying I hadn’t experienced Life, and I certainly wasn’t yearning to reclaim my youth. I’d lived all over the U.S., married and had sex (in that order), had three children, friends, a community, and a burgeoning writing career…
The Oat Project also includes a new forum where you can share stories about your own wild-oat-sowing.
Do you still need or want to sow your wild oats?
Do you think sowing wild oats will separate you from God?