Sue and I roomed together at Houghton College from 1964- 1966. Having completed her pre-nursing course, she traded the bucolic Genesee Valley of western New York and the rigid rules of Houghton for Cornell Medical Center in New York City. Wow! Quite the culture shock! Sue spent three solid years (summers included) and finished in 1969 with a BSN. She married, had a son, and we didn’t stay in touch much except through Christmas cards. But the threads woven into Christians, though varied in color and texture, create a strong fabric that holds up well over the years.
My career path took me into the world of high school teaching and guidance counseling. Sue began her nursing career in public health nursing, but a Masters from Clemson and a Doctorate from West Virginia University also took her into education. She began the four-year BSN program at the University of Charleston (W V) and later, the 2-year program at WV State. She’s pioneered two amazing programs.
Illness has visited each of us, and our gait reflects a slower pace than she or I had hoped would be our lot in our 60s. After all, isn’t 60 the new 40?
We have both buried our parents. Our marital status is different, but we both love our roles as grandmothers.
But the greatest thread that binds is still Jesus Christ. In Sue’s three-day visit here last week, I learned for the first time that her mom pushed Sue to attend a 4 or 5-year college program to earn a BS when Sue simply wanted a nursing diploma. That’s how Sue got to Houghton.I attended Houghton because my pastor and his wife had graduated from there adn offered it as a good option for me if I wanted to teach.
And while we talked throughout our visit about family and some of our college antics with girlfriends, we returned over and over again to snatches of God’s faithfulness through hard times and the ways He brings meaning and joy into our days.
I think of the huge price tag on Christian colleges today, consider where our grandchildren will seek higher education, what the university culture will be in 10-20 years, what the costs will be by then. Frankly, neither Sue nor I can figure how her mom or my parents ever spent what they did for our education in the 60s. We decided, however, we were thankful they made the sacrifices for us.