Signs in the Heavens | Courtship and Engagement

by Elouise

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Yesterday we had lunch with new-found friends who attended the Bible College at about the same time we did—in the 1960s. It’s always delicious to find BCers who ‘get it.’ Folks who understand the somewhat wacky, in-house culture of that institution in particular.

I’m not picking on the Bible College today. But it does offer an interesting memory, resurrected by our conversation yesterday. First, though, you need a little background so you can fully appreciate the importance of the memory.

Every institution has its symbolic universe, right? You know—the college flag, the beloved alma mater that everyone sings whether they understand it or not, the saints of old, the sinners of old, the miracles of old and the myths of old.

At the Bible College, there wasn’t much room for testing out relationships between women and men. Not much physical room. Not much calendar space. No tolerance at all for deviant space.

Let’s just say you could breathe together, talk together, eat together and walk together if you did it at the right times and in the right spirit—always made clear by the right physical gestures, or the right disciplined refusal of certain physical gestures.

In situations like this, private signs, wonders and omens take on almost supernatural importance. They become a secret code that strengthens and reinforces those ties that bind couples together. Invisibly, of course (No Physical Contact!).

No one was more aware of this than D. And though E found it somewhat amusing, she never protested anything. She happily went along to get along. Which was just about all the getting one got at the Bible College.

Being, however, introverts and somewhat academic by nature, D and E weren’t given to testimonials about all the signs and wonders that pointed the way to their future bliss.

Some people probably thought they were a ‘cute’ little couple. Always keeping the rules and then some. And so they did—at least on the outside. What escaped the Bible College—not by accident, but by God’s deliberate design—was what was happening on the inside.

That’s right. Even God knew where to draw needed boundaries!

That’s where all these ever so small yet ever so precious signs, wonders and omens come in. They were the elixir of choice for love-sick introverts like D and E. Believe it or not, they could spend a whole evening together blissfully overcome by the glory of it all. Surely God meant this relationship to be!

Why just look at that paper straw D is folding over in that empty little milk carton! And look at his eyes—the way he’s looking across the dining room at E! Now look at her. She just got all pinky pinky and blushy blushy. I wonder what that Bent Straw means, and whether the Dean saw that sly little move.

Which brings us to the omen. No one could have made this one up. It’s like the sun in the sky. You have to be blind not to see it! It was true then, and it’s true now. As with any good omen, all you have to do is be observant.

So here it is. Can you see it?

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

If I had any guts at all, I’d stop right here and take your responses. But I’m 71 and time’s awasting! If you haven’t seen it by now you probably won’t.

So let’s try again:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

See what I said? D and E and F! Definitely meant to be!

So now I’ve come clean. How about the rest of you? Any memories you’d like to share? Or not.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 14 July 2015
Image from phy.olemiss.edu