Me and My Roommate

At every Christian Science Sunday service the First Reader reads this passage from I John: "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God...." I John 3:1; Like many Christian Scientists, I knew it by heart, but the time came when I had to claim it.

Some years ago, while attending a small two-year college, I was assigned to room with a girl I didn't know. There were many difficulties: she smoked so much our room was constantly filled with smoke and dirty ashtrays, my clothes began to smell smoky, and I felt as if I was suffocating. She wasn't very neat or orderly—in fact her clothes lay in piles on the floor, her bed was never made, dust and trash and old food accumulated hourly. Of course, I annoyed her too—I was too neat and kept cleaning up after her. To avoid too much smoke, I'd open the windows and she'd freeze. We seemed to be opposites in everything. She stayed up until all hours of the night typing and doing homework, which kept me up. Then I got up early in the morning and woke her.

Neither of us talked about it—but we did let things build up inside. The tension got so bad that others stayed out of our room— which somehow always seemed to be dark and uninviting. I was very upset and tried to blame the entire thing on my roommate. I did want to live in order and cleanliness; I wanted to live with someone I could talk with and enjoy—someone who liked the same music, the same temperature in the room, the same things. All I could see was discord.

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November 13, 1976

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