I have described some of the experiences my mom had as a child praying “Thy Will Be Done.” When she was twelve, however, she came upon the STARS AND STRIPES write-up of the Nuremberg trials – the Nazi war crimes trials from World War II. The horrors depicted in this series of articles – the terrible things that humans had done to other humans – were so abhorrent to her that a gloom fell over her whole life.
For years, throughout the rest of junior high and high school, my mom lived under a cloud of darkness, feeling that the world was a dark and depraved place. She would come home from school and pray, sometimes several hours a day, but the sense of horror and depression remained.
This continued into college. Mom went to Principia, a small religious college in Illinois. (She was in the same class – and drama group – as Robert Duvall and writer Paul O Williams.) Compared to New York City, the people at Principia seemed so genuinely joyful that it began to break through the cloud of gloom. This, combined with more prayer, finally lifted the sense of doom all together, and joy returned to her life!
Some years later, an artist friend of my mom introduced her to, of all people, the man who had written the articles she read at the age of twelve! That man asked her out on a date, and, two year later, they were married.
After the testimony meeting, I asked Mom if she had ever told my dad, while he was alive, about how she had read his articles at the age of twelve and the effect they had had on her. She said she never did, because she was afraid it would make him sad.
My dad never really recovered from the effects of the terrible things he had seen during the War, but he struggled daily for a higher, more prayerful, sense of life. I cannot help but think that there was a reason and a purpose to why he was led to marry the woman who had put so much time into praying specifically about dispelling the ghosts that haunted him.