February 9, 1970
Nate and I were fast becoming good friends with Linda and Judy, along with their husbands. All of us were in our first year of marriage, making similar adjustments to each other and our new roles. Linda’s husband Ron was a salesman who traveled with his job, needing to stay out-of-town one or two nights a week.
Linda didn’t drive, so when she came for dinner, Nate picked her up at the Country Fair Apartments and brought her over, driving her home afterwards. One night, after another deep snowfall, the roads hadn’t been plowed, and Nate was taking her home. As they turned into her complex, he didn’t see one of the large white rocks edging the driveway, and he drove up and over it.
His VW got tightly stuck, refusing to move forward or back. So, using his bare hands (for lack of gloves), he kneeled in a snow bank and worked to dig away the packed snow from around the rock. Then he battled the heavy rock itself, eventually wrenching it out from under the car just enough so the car could move.
Linda cheered him through the long, cold process and felt bad about the whole thing, but of course it wasn’t her fault. In a report to me afterwards, she bubbled over with praise for Nate’s gallant good deed on her behalf. “He’s my unsung hero!” she said.
As we stockpiled experiences together, our friendships were deepening with the carpool couples and also with others. About this time our friends Cathy and John got married, adding to our group of newlywed pals. John and Nate were in law classes together while both Cathy and I worked to support our men. It helped all of us to know that others were in our same boat.
In addition to these, we were making new friends at Champaign’s First Baptist Church.
Pastor Ralph Nast and his wife Lottie taught the young married group, and a dozen couples gathered every Sunday morning before the church service to study what Scripture had to say to them, many of whom were newlyweds like us.
Pastor Ralph skillfully guided our discussions as we grappled with some of life’s prickly problems. And we learned that virtually every question we asked was answered in the Bible. It turned out to be a time of rapid spiritual growth for all of us.
Most of us recognized that this was a unique time in our lives, because we were in the midst of making some of the most significant, far-reaching decisions we would ever make. We’d all made two big ones, deciding to get married and to whom, but other important choices lay just ahead. Many in the group were also deciding yes or no to Jesus Christ.
Hashing things out with friends turned out to be a big help. And Pastor Ralph taught us that Jesus was offering to be a friend to all of us – a friend whose advice should always be carefully considered, because it would be superior to guidance from any other source.
Jesus said, “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)