I was still reeling from the separation and impending divorce from my first wife. I had never experienced that much emotional pain. Something like this was never supposed to happen to me, but it did.
At first, I didn’t deal with it well at all. I couldn’t think straight. I had forgotten what a decent night’s sleep was like. There was this huge, black hole in my heart, filled only with anger, an engulfing sense of unworthiness, and betrayal.
I hated November 1982. I thought it was the end of love in my life, but it was really the beginning of the most life-altering love I would ever experience. I just couldn’t see it then. The month that began in misery ended with events that would point me down a path of adventure I never could have foreseen.
My newly estranged wife stayed at our house in Richmond. I moved back in with my parents in northern Virginia; yet another blow to my young adult sense of self-worth. From there, I began planning to head to Texas to work on a horse ranch and test an ovulation detector for horses I was working on with a bio-engineering professor at Virginia Tech. We never could get the thing to give us a stable enough reading, but that’s another story.
I connected with a large horse breeding operation in Texas and started putting things together in November. On one of my trips to Tech to work on the ovulation detector, I visited my major professor from graduate school and updated him on what was happening. He told me that Mary Ashby, another graduate of the Animal Science Department was working in that area and gave me her phone number. Perhaps she could help me find a place to live.
The next day I called her. We had met before but I didn’t know her. She was helpful and friendly as I shared my plans. I even felt comfortable enough with her to mention my separation from my wife.
In that conversation, something strange happened. Mary just mentioned “God” in passing. Normally that would have passed my ears without any consideration, but when she said that word, I became VERY uncomfortable. After I hung up the phone, I thought, “Whoa, what was THAT about? Why did I get so uncomfortable?”
Next: 30 Years – Part 2 – November to Remember – Continued
God’s grace to you,
Steve Jennings, Executive Director