Born in 1933, raised in the ghetto of Los Angeles (Watts), the victim of psychological child abuse, in an orphanage nearly a year, in numerous foster homes, a failure in high school, and without any hope whatsoever for the future, yet this week I am graduating from Motlow State Community College with honors.

Was I afraid to return to school after having been out nearly thirty-two years? I was not just afraid; I was terrified! I was afraid the instructors would embarrass me in front of the class. I was afraid I would not know how to write an essay. And I was afraid of examinations.

Was college like I thought it might be? NO! No instructor purposely embarrassed any student. There was a writing lab with an instructor who patiently helped me write my first few essays. The examinations were not nearly as hard as I had imagined them to be. I found the instructors to be warm, caring human beings who wanted their students -- wanted me -- to be successful.

What is ahead? Hope! I have been accepted as a student at David Lipscomb College. I am hoping to eventually obtain a doctorate in language and linguistics. Although I am in my fifties, I am looking forward to a career in adult education. What is ahead? A chance to make a worthwhile contribution to society. A chance to help others as someone has helped me.

"Sure", you may say, "Anyone can hope when all is going well. But MY world has fallen apart. All I feel is despair." A few days after the foregoing was written as a basis of a speech to a group of older students about to enter college, my world fell apart. A drunken driver rammed the back of my motor scooter, throwing me to the pavement. The accident left me permanently paralyzed from the chest down. A resulting heart problem left me unable to regain full strength. And a skull fracture resulted in the inability to remember in some areas of thought. Can any hope still remain? "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love" ( 1 Cor. 13:13 NKJV).

Yes! According to Bauer's Greek-English Lexicon the word for "hope" -- elpis, may be defined as "expectation". We recognize that hope actually has two elements -- expectation and desire. Do I still have the expectation of a career in adult education? No. But a career was not an end in itself. Rather, it was a means to an end -- to glorify God. To glorify God by making a worthwhile contribution to society. To glorify God by helping others as someone has helped me. And these things I can still do. For I can still smile. I can still listen. I can still encourage others. And I can do these things in such a way as to glorify God. Yes, hope can and does remain!

Sandra F. Cobble

Published in The Old Paths Archive