Wings to Fly - 6.5
High School Years (1970 to 1974) - Continued
I let go of my new found Jesus. From Sophomore year to Senior year I only knew one thing. I must do well in academics. My parents and grandfather had high hopes for me and I must not let them down. I wanted to alleviate some of their life pains through my success and more than that I wanted them to full fill their dreams through me.
As a person, I was not significant nor exceptional in anything. Yet I tried. In academics I studied hard and attempted high grades. Each summer I kept myself busy with any type of program that would stretch me. My Junior summer was special. I am not sure if I was selected because of my artistic ability or if I volunteered and they liked my art work. We formed a tight group and painted murals. This project was headed up by an art professor from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and his assistant graduate art student. I was one of the three students from different high schools. So five of us met daily and planned, sketched, and painted. I thoroughly enjoyed that summer (1973) activity. I had no idea that it would bring me recognition beyond my expectation.
After our mural(s) were done, Chicago Tribune magazine did a story on us and our work. It had many photos in a several page story. All of the sudden I became a notoriety. Teachers I did not even know seeked me out and shook my hand. Kids who never knew I existed let me know that they read about me and our group and our mural(s). In a high school of four thousand students I was noticed and commended. It was such a contrast from what I was, a shy and quiet student about as noticeable as painting on a wall.
Then I was notified that we would be receiving a special award from Mayor Daley of Chicago; something along the line of Beautifying the City of Chicago Award. I should be basking in my glory yet what I saw of that time was a glimpse of my future. If I was to continue in my pursuit of success and fame I may experience something similar in a larger scale. I could not understand what I was experiencing within me. I experienced void and emptiness. One day after a full day of congratulations by friends, peers, and teachers, I came home and wept for a long time. "Dear God, Is this all there is to a success? A sense of void?"
Then I remembered just two summers ago, the complete sense of joy and satisfaction that came with accepting the Lord into my heart. I remembered the two weeks of bliss while I was doing nothing but reading the bible in total envelopment of God's love. I thought, Oh to experience that joy, that peace...once again. I prayed, "Dear Lord, if You are real, please bring me back to experience you the way I experienced You the first time." That was a Wednesday in April of 1974.
I believe two days later I ran into several young people who invited me to a young people's gathering. They said they loved Jesus.... This would change my life in ways never dreamt...