A LIFE IN TURMOIL
Dr. Solomon's growing up in the Depression years with emotional and material deprivation gave him an experiential understanding of hurting believers and essentially were a period of 'boot camp' to prepare for the 'war' that was sure to come!
Excerpt from The Ins and Out of Rejection
The author has found it helpful in gaining rapport with an individual and with groups, to share his life or portions of it under the leading of the Holy Spirit. When a person realizes that Spirituotherapy was not learned in the academic setting but hammered out in a life and later crystallized into a counseling process, he may conclude that it could work for him as well. And it can! Accordingly, I would like to share a first-person testimony so that some may identify with this life and then go on to identify with the One who is the Life, the Lord Jesus Christ.
I was born in rural East Tennessee in 1930 at the very beginning of the Depression. My father was a sharecropper on the farm of his widowed mother. My mother was in ill health at the time of my birth and was not really well for the first two years of my life. I was the second of four children, having three sisters. My paternal grandmother was very protective of her children, and my father was affected by this characteristic. He was also the second child and felt it necessary to compete with his older brother for his father's acceptance and never quite made it. His feelings of inferiority and insecurity played a definite role in the development of these same attitudes within myself.
Until I was about six we lived in a farmhouse, which had no insulation, no underpinning, no heating stove (an ineffective fireplace supplied some heat), no electricity, no running water, and insufficient bedroom space for four children. We then moved to another community where the living conditions were about the same except for the fact that we were buying the house and a small acreage. My father began in carpentry and went on to be highly respected in heavy construction.
My parents were Christians who loved me very much and trained me to the best of their ability in the things of the Lord. I know they have prayed for me all during the years. My mother improved in health but worked much too hard due to the lack of modern conveniences.
I did very well in school but was totally crushed if I had to spend any amount of time in learning such things as multiplication tables; I felt I should know them immediately. My first memory of feeling inferior in schoolwork was upon my promotion to sixth grade; this meant going upstairs and I felt it would be too difficult for me. However, I reasoned that I could accomplish nothing by repeating the fifth grade and so I pushed myself to do something which I felt I couldn't do. This was to become a pattern of life.
The junior high years were rather uneventful. I was of slight build, which added to my inferiority feelings, especially in confrontation situations or in body contact sports. As I went into high school (ninth grade) at the age of thirteen, my slight stature continued to be a sore point. Also, I didn't like my facial features; in short, I didn't like me! I felt everyone in my class knew more than I did and yet I expected to receive better marks than they, and I usually did. I could never excel at sports and my high marks were a source of rejection rather than acceptance on the part of my peers. It never occurred to me that any of my teachers might be interested in me as a person. I only saw them as people who could be obstacles if I let them know too much about myself. I would never dare let down the front and reveal my inner fears to them. There were some happy ties during high school, but I was greatly relieved when I was able to get beyond it and attempt to start a new life.
To go back and pick up my spiritual history, I had attended several ‘revival’ meetings in which I saw the need for a Savior. On about three occasions, I had ‘gone forward’ and several persons would kneel around me and talk to the Lord but none had the good sense to talk with me. Therefore, I went away each time without coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ. At about age seventeen, I determined one night to pray in my bed until I knew that the Lord had saved me. There was no emotional experience but the quiet calm peace that I was His became an established fact. However, having no one to lead me to Christ, I also had no one to lead me in Christ.
Shortly afterward, I was faced with the decision about college. The ‘moving upstairs’ syndrome again plagued me. I felt I was too stupid to train for a profession such as law or the ministry since stage fright made it impossible for me to speak publicly. Even so, the thought of the ministry did go through my mind; but I promptly dismissed it as ridiculous. At about age seven my minister, Mr. Willis Johnson, placed his hand on my head on leaving the church one day and told my parents that I would make a good minister. That meant little at the time, but I never forgot it.
I felt that I had to try college and since I had fairly high marks in mathematics I decided to study engineering. I enrolled in East Tennessee State University in a pre-engineering course. I studied very hard because I was afraid I would flunk out and, true to form, came up with straight A's the first quarter. I concluded the work was not very difficult if I could do it; so the straight A's did little to bolster my self-confidence.
Beginning college was a good experience in some ways. The professors called me by my first name whereas I had grown up using my second. In a sense I felt I was a new person, but at the same time I realized I was the same inferior-feeling person despite the new name. However, I was able to start over without my new friends knowing all of my faults. There were many happy times as I learned to live away from home and involved myself in new activities. I visited church occasionally but had no fellowship and no direct challenge toward spiritual growth during these four years of college. I met my wife, Sue, during the second year and we dated regularly through my junior year. By this time I had decided that I had neither the intelligence nor the money to switch to an engineering school. Accordingly, I majored in mathematics and received a teaching certificate.
I had informed my fiancé about my inferiority feelings, but she refused to believe me because of the front I presented. Despite the feelings of inferiority and insecurity, we proceeded to get married between my junior and senior years with neither of us employed. A month later, she got a teaching job and I commuted 100 miles daily to complete my senior year. As graduation approached I was faced with the possibility of military duty in Korea or securing employment in essential industry. I elected to apply to Glenn L. Martin Co. in Baltimore, Maryland and was hired by mail as an engineering draftsman. But I drawing courses, so I proceeded to fight the ‘moving upstairs’ syndrome again.
Although I felt I could not handle the work, two years and one son later, I had six men working for me. This was to begin a period of about five years during which I had the supervisory responsibility for up to twenty-five men. Some of the men were twice my age, and many had more engineering education and experience than I. I found myself supervising men who performed tasks I had never done. This, along with sin in my life, as well as increased family pressures, began to take their toll.
The day my first daughter was born, I was assigned the responsibility of supervising the installation design of the fuel system of a medium jet. As the job went on I began to have a voracious appetite and gained 25 pounds in six months. Anxiety increased to the point that I was put on tranquilizers and subsequently found I was feeding a duodenal ulcer. At about the time our second daughter was born, I was taking 400 mg of Thorazine per day while driving my car and continuing with my work. When I received the call that my wife was having our baby, I thought they said it was my mother. I started to place a long-distance call and checked myself saying, "That's impossible! My mother couldn't be having a baby." So I proceeded to go back to work. A little later the truth broke through, and I raced for the hospital to find my daughter was twenty minutes old.
My mental and emotional state drove me to try many things to find help. Since I was already a Christian and that didn't help, I looked elsewhere. Everything I did was misinterpreted by my wife as rejection of her and our children, which made matters worse rather than better. Although I knew she loved me, there would be times at work that I felt I would lose my mind in my longing just to hear her say, "I love you". The intensity of my anxiety and being out of touch with reality at times began to cause her problems as well.