In my last installment about my adventures with Campus Crusade for Christ, I tried to describe my Bible Study’s dysfunction. I think it’s only fair that I also share my own eccentricities.
I’ve always struggled with depression, and in the 90’s it was so pervasive that I got used to it. I know that sounds strange, but at a certain point it becomes the norm and the incentive to try to overcome depression diminishes. I don’t wear my depression on my sleeve the way a lot of people do. I can play social butterfly and engage people and enjoy life and friendship, and in 90’s I got very good at it. So in a strange way, Campus Crusade was a big help. Granted, it added to my misery, but it gave me a chance to connect with people, and it also gave me great anecdotes to share.
In hindsight, my willingness to endure the unpleasantries of people who clearly wanted me to vanish amazes me even more than their dysfunction. Even at my lowest I’ve always maintained a perverse optimism about connecting with new people, so back then I ignored signals that I wasn’t really welcome. Although I almost always came away from a Bible Study meeting feeling aggravated or baffled, I kept going back. And when I commit to something, I go in all the way.
As a way to make up for my past transgressions with the women in the group, I offered to help prep for meetings. The leaders wanted to keep me far, far away from any lesson planning, so I was appointed the cookies-and-chips guy. And I was a shopping zealot; I always kept track of who liked diet soda, who wanted caffeine-free coke, and so on. And I always bought more than we needed.
How dedicated was I to my newfound role? Well, one night before Bible Study, I clipped my scalp while I was walking downstairs. I grabbed my head and doubled over, cursing myself for being so clumsy. When I removed my hand, it was covered in blood. I tried putting a wet washcloth on it, but more blood lapped up each time.
A sane person would have gone to the hospital. But I didn’t want to miss a night of spirited debate, so I headed off to the meeting with my bags of chips and soda and hoped for the best. I spent the whole meeting periodically touching my head and checking my hand. I could feel the blood tickling my scalp, and I had to wipe my fingers very carefully so people didn’t see the blood on them. I didn’t want to cause alarm, plus I figured I’d find out fast if any blood dribbled down my forehead. At the end of the night, I politely said goodnight and got four stitches at the emergency room.