Local Juvenile Delinquent Run Out Of Town!
Rapid City — September 8 — Local juvenile delinquent, Bill Boylan, left town early this morning enroute to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). Rapid City police officers were present to ensure Boylan left town without incident.
Those words could have been the actual headline and first paragraph of our local newspaper on September 8th of the 17th year of my earthly pilgrimage—the year I left my hometown enroute to United States military basic training.
Part of My Life Story
Many of my students and readers have asked me to write my “testimonial” about my own earthly pilgrimage, my own life-journey, my own trek through the wilderness of this life here on Planet Earth. Here are the first 18 years of my story… Right at the very beginning, I want you to clearly understand my life story is not about me; it’s about God!
My story begins when I was conceived. And that is a whole story in and of itself that you don’t wanna know in full. One Sunday dinner at my parents’ home a few years ago, my mother (a very outspoken woman) looked across the dinner table at me and blurted out in front of our gathered family members, “Bill, it’s time you knew when, where, and under what circumstances you were conceived!” And then she proceeded to tell me in graphic detail that part of my life story. It’s really very humorous, but I won’t share it with you right now; maybe another time and another place. When my mother told me about my conception that day, my other gathered family members and friends almost laughed themselves sick. And, sometimes when they see me now, they still point at me and chuckle… I’m still waiting for someone to erect a statue of me in front of the still-standing building where I was conceived… I’ll bet I’m one of the few people in your circle of friends or acquaintances who knows when and where they were conceived.
Enuff ‘bout that. Let’s pick up the story of my first 18 years after my conception… Last December, I wrote about Jesus, THE Time Traveler for 33 years here on planet earth. My earthly sojourn through this very brief segment of time and space so far has been a few years longer than his—with a few years yet to go, I believe! No matter how many solar years I have remaining for this mortal stage of my life-journey, so far these few fast-passing years have been wondrous and exciting, full of adventure with God and wondrous miracles far beyond my limited ability to describe fully to you. But I’m gonna give it a try…
Nine months after my notable conception, I emerged on this stage of my mortal existence at approximately 5 a.m. on February 28th one cold winter morning. There were no angels, no wise men, no shepherds—just Dad and Mother, an older sister, and 4 grandparents. Only an uncle and aunt, no cousins. A small family. One wing of the old hospital building where I was born is still standing only a few blocks from where I now live. I’m still waiting for them to erect a statue of me there, too… I was dispatched here to earth into a family I can only describe as a “modern pagan” family with little or no regard for God, for religion, or for spiritual matters. No church, no Sunday school, no Bible, no religious training except for what little bit I picked up by osmosis from the world around me.
Just some examples… I learned to smoke at age 6 and was smoking 4-5 packs a day by my early teen years. I began consuming alcohol at age 9 and was drinking large quantities daily during my teen years. In fact, many of the events of my teen years are lost to me in my memory because I lived in a drunken fog almost every day. Forgotten bits and pieces of those years still emerge from my subconscious mind a little at a time even now, many years later. I became a consummate liar at an early age. And, I became a skillful and clever thief by my early teens, ultimately leading to that early morning departure from my hometown on September 8th of the 17th year of my earthly pilgrimage.
I had a uniquely foul mouth, even being somewhat of a dubious, local teenage celebrity because of the way I could play word games, especially with the famous “F” word I used in almost every sentence and every conversation.
For reasons unknown to me at the time (I know them now) I felt I had a “mission” during my teen years to pick on, harass, hound, embarrass, and persecute authentic believers in Jesus (not mere hypocritical churchgoing folks, however; I could readily spot the differences). I enthusiastically fulfilled that mission throughout all my teen years! Also, for other bizarre reasons, I set out on a mission to shatter at least one window in every Christian church building in our community; I didn’t quite succeed in that mission before that morning of September 8th when I was forced to leave town. Dear reader, I’m not blaming God, or the devil, or life, or my family, or society, or a failed school system, or anyone but myself for the modern, atheist/agnostic pagan I became; I accept full responsibility. That was just the way life was for me during the first eighteen years of my mortal pilgrimage. was just one of many teenage pagans in mid-20th century USAmerica, thinking that’s just how life was meant to be lived. I was just being who I thought I was supposed to be. I was simply “doing what comes naturally,” as the words of an old song state.
Fast forward a few months. It’s now early January of the following year after my September 8th exodus from my hometown. I was still a 17-year old pagan teenager, except now I was wearing a U.S. military uniform. I was at my first assignment near Spokane, Washington, after having completed 16 grueling and arduous weeks of basic training near San Francisco, California. I visited the base library one evening out of boredom, leafing through the current weekly issue of Life magazine. That dates me, doesn’t it? Some of you younger readers have never seen that magazine except in a museum! I turned to an article that captured my attention; it was about some young American missionaries cruelly slaughtered recently by natives on the banks of a serpentine jungle river in South America.
Someone found a journal entry left behind by one of the slaughtered missionaries. In it were these words: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Those words began to haunt my every waking moment—and even my dreams. Something strange and unusual was going on inside me I was unable to control. Fast forward another few months. I was still maintaining my pagan lifestyle even though now wearing the U.S. military uniform. Nothing had changed. But it was about to…
It’s now April of my 18th year. A young sergeant nicknamed “Duke” had just returned from Japan to our base in the U.S., to await his honorable discharge in a few months. He outranked me and was placed in charge of our 50-man barracks.
Oh, No! One of Those Authentic Jesus-Believers!
Duke actually turned out to be a pretty decent guy. He had an aura of peace surrounding him that none of my accusatory barbs and taunts could penetrate. My foul, verbal persecution just rolled off him like water off a platypus’s back. For example, Duke happened to be the only one in our barracks who owned a car at the time. He would graciously take us to our bars and favorite haunts, but he would never drink alcohol with us. He never condemned us—just did things for us, ate with us, helped us, but it was clear he wasn’t one of us. He lived in another world and was driving me crazy! Everywhere he went, he either sung, hummed, or whistled the words to a Gospel song, It’s Real! Those words lodged in my mind and “stuck in my craw”; I couldn’t get away from them. I even began to sing and hum them myself just because of my daily association with Duke. Here are some of the words and chorus to that song that were driving me crazy:
“O how well do I remember
How I doubted day by day,
For I did not know for certain
That my sins were washed away.
When the Spirit tried to tell me,
I would not the truth receive;
I endeavored to be happy
And to make myself believe.
But it’s real, it’s real!
O I know it’s real!
Praise God, the doubts are settled,
For I know, I know it’s real!
My First “Shower-Event”
It’s now April 26th of the 18th year of my mortal pilgrimage on planet earth. I was standing in the shower in my barracks. Actually, I wasn’t simply standing there; that would have been weird. I was showering—just wanted to clarify that… No one else was in the barracks building at the time. All of a sudden I began weeping rivers of tears, wetting me almost as much as the shower. I was sobbing uncontrollably for no apparent reason. I shook my fist above my head and screamed out: “God, if you really are real like Duke claims you are, then, damn it, make yourself real to me, too!”
Little did I know that in that atomic moment suspended in space and time, a silent, but very real, Great Transaction occurred in my young life. Everything around me was very hushed and still; I couldn’t even hear the water of the shower cascading down my body and splashing on the floor. A miraculous peace washed over, encompassed, and filled me. I finished showering, got dressed, and went to my work assignment for the day. I didn’t have a clue about what had happened inside me; I just knew some type of inner transaction had occurred between me and “Someone” who was very real. Over the next couple of weeks, my thoughts, attitudes, and behavior rapidly changed. What in the world was happening to me? I was quickly morphing into a new person. When I looked into the mirror in the morning, it was me, but it really wasn’t…
“You must be born again.”–Jesus
I began to know in my “knower” that something very real had occurred in the center of my innermost being. I ascertained a short time later that in that shower on April 26th of my 18th year, I had been born2 (meaning born again, born twice, born from above, born anew, saved, converted, etc.), and had rapidly begun to become a brand-new person in and through Jesus Christ. I didn’t know it that day, but a lifelong—and eternal—process began that moment in the shower to transform me back into the image of God through Jesus Christ. Someone inside me began to transform my young, pagan life that very day.
“If any person becomes a believer in Jesus, that person becomes newly created inside; old things pass away, all things become new.” — 2 Corinthians 5 : 17
I will continue telling you about the first 18 years of my life story in next month’s issue of The Traveler…
To Think About This Month:
“There is something inherently spiritual in a journey. Travel makes pilgrims of us all, for we do not know what we will discover in our journeys. That is the adventure.” –Edward Grinnin
Life Enrichment Services, Inc
Revised and Updated December 2018