I had not found a place to include some more of Marge’s autobiographical statements, and this seems a good place to pick up again. At the time this segment begins, we had moved to Coopersburg, PA to the Beverly hills home. She is writing about her association there with residents also part of the Charismatic Movement.
I had met people from Coopersburg through my new Christian friends in Binghamton, and when we moved there, I became involved in the group that met at their house. It was a house church, and after some initial discomfort and adjustment on my part (no one ever does things exactly the way you are used to, in a new place) I dived right in. I was still my basically conservative self; there is always a part of me that stands to one side looking on and sort of checking things out.
I was developing my relationship with the Lord, but I was still struggling with lots of feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. In some ways I was no doubt, rather arrogant, and not everyone saw me as I saw myself, as thoughtful and willing. I had various personality conflicts with certain people in the group. However what I started to say was about music. One of the characteristics of the movement was an emphasis on worship, and worship was usually an audible expression of love and adoration poured out to Him, both in the group and when one was alone.
This was very frequently in the form of singing. The songs we sang were either choruses, or Bible verses set to music, sometimes old hymns or new songs we learned. The other kind of singing we did was called singing in the Spirit, where the words and the melody were spontaneous. Sometimes the whole group would sing together, everyone singing their own song to the Lord. You would think it would be just noise, but it all blended together, and was incredibly lovely. Sometimes one person would sing alone. I did that. It was sort of like gathering up what everyone in the meeting wanted to express to God, and pouring it out in one voice and song. It is difficult to express what this meant to me, but you can understand that this was a very emotional thing, and in some ways very fulfilling. I have always been reluctant to express my emotions freely, and yet I could do it there, almost publicly. This gave a richness to my life that I had longed for and been frightened of for many years.
Meanwhile, during this period of about 10 years, from 1970 when we moved to Pennsylvania until 1980 when we moved to Las Vegas our marriage sort of went along. Sometimes we were able to talk to each other, most of the time not.
We did have one really good period when we both joined a study group of the church we went to – it provided us with a neutral place to say what we thought, without being any kind of a threat or confrontation. When we had tried to talk about some of these things ourselves, we always ended up in some conflict, with one of us feeling defensive or attacked.Some time around 1978, perhaps Bob heard about Marriage Encounter from a man who worked for him and he suggested we go.
I was really afraid, because I didn’t know what was going to be required of me, but I went, and it was a very good experience for us. We followed the instructions given to us, and I was very grateful that it turned out not to be a group activity, but each couple alone. It was hard for me to answer some of the questions, which always started out “How does it make you feel when…” We tried to keep up the method of communication, which involved taking a question, and each one writing a letter about your feelings to the other, and then sharing the letters. We had a terrible time thinking up questions. And I found that when I tried to identify feelings about things, I frequently couldn’t come up with much at all. It got so that it was more traumatic than the benefits derived, and we sort of stopped.
Bob was getting more and more dissatisfied with his work and he began looking for another job. He applied for a job with Aramco , which would have taken us to Saudi Arabia, and I was very afraid. Fortunately they didn’t even answer his letter. Eventually he heard of a job with Nevada Power from someone he knew, and he came out to interview. I flew out to be with him there – for some reason he was in Texas – and we met people, went to the Dam and to Red Rock. I knew when we went home was that we would be moving.