Gordon College boasts an impressive piece of property. Behind the college are paths that wind around ponds and a small lake, truly a beautiful place to be contemplative. During my stint at college, I loved romping on these paths while my mind wandered to thoughts, concepts and far off places. However, like so many gorgeous places on earth there was talk of satanic rituals occurring in these forests. The Salem witch trials distanced by many years was near by. Every once in a while someone would speak of the maintenance crew tearing down altars in the woods. This discussion would always emerge past midnight luring us to procrastinate. And we would somehow always come to the end times topic. Here we knew just enough about end times to do some theological damage.
One night I found myself hunted by terror in these woods. Till the day I die, I will never forget that night! My friend, Bill, and I decided to walk home from a memorial service held at one of the professor's home. This service was for our friend Becky Donaldson. The day she turned 21 she died. She was running with our friend, Lotty Wagner, and she completed four miles for her first time. Unbeknownst to her family, her heart had a problem. It was sudden, it was tragic, and it was the beginning of our Junior Year at Gordon that she died.
Bill and I were walking home from the memorial service and I am not entirely sure why. It was a four mile hike in the dark. Maybe we wanted to leave early and debrief. We were a bit undone by Becky's eulogies. We knew she would have been too. We were convinced she would have wanted more honesty and less flattery. Our hearts were heavy and bothered. We left and walked into the dark.
As we were walking around the steely dark lake where you knew something lurked, it slowly began to happen. Our conversation slowly gravitated to the end times. The trees began to take on different shapes, the noises slowly came from odd places. This pulled us in even further to completely, persistently, and relentlessly labor on about apocalyptic stirrings. For we knew so much. We probably could have written a commentary on Revelation right then and there. Or at least Bill could have.
We had a hunch of who the antichrist was and we didn't want to alarm anyone, but, we thought he might be on campus...... Yes! This was scary information and we were discussing it in the woods, late at night with the moon coming through the trees (probably) and the waters hiding the unknown. To add to this drama our friend has just died, suddenly. Alfred Hitchock craves these settings.
Then it happened. In the dead of the night Bill stopped me. The moon, the rustling of the trees, the forming of our very own horror show petrified me beyond belief. I am always one for a good scare but this scariness blew off the charts. I had one question and one question only. Why on earth would he stop me in my pursuit of light to cast me further into the pit of fright?
He peered into my eyes. His eyebrows arched demanding my attentiveness. He was about to make another alarming and terrifying point. So I did what I knew I had to do. I bolted. I ran so hard I cared less about catching my breath. I gave him no warning of my escape, it startled him. He began to run as well (at least I think he did).
We hightailed it out of the dark. Two antichrist scaredycats. We ran to the light like summer bugs towards a hanging bulb. To be frightened in the woods is complete emotional claustrophobia. We ran far from that moment. But that moment runs after me. I will never forget that night.
The end times is here and has been since the cross. It is questionable, however, that Gordon College dormed the antichrist.... time will tell, time will tell! One thing is for darn sure, we were two highly dramatic college students running for our lives out of a dark and scary woods. On our way out we probably disturbed an altar. No one will ever know for sure.