Saturday, August 29, 2015


     The mirror never lies. Not even a broken one relegated to the garage. The face of Bruce Weik is older. The hair thin and gray, the wrinkles deep, and the aging spots are getting darker as I look. Those things really do not bother me. They are better than the alternative, which almost became a reality fifteen years ago when I had a heart attack, bypass surgery, and a subsequent sternal staph infection. I was lucky to make it. I am glad to see that face staring back at me, however old he may look. He reminds me of things yet to be.
     I come from a small, rural, community in Southern Illinois. My childhood and adolescent days were dominated with school, sports, and working on local farms for spending money. My father was a plumber, making a good, middle-class living, and my mother a housewife. I was an only child, which had its advantages and disadvantages. There was no sibling rivalry, but as time passed, I missed having brothers or sisters. Ends up today, there is only me. My mother and father have both passed. My father died suddenly when I was eighteen, two weeks before my high school graduation. My life after that was altered in ways I would have never thought likely.
     I was the first from my family to graduate from college. The most significant thing about college was not the knowledge I gained from books, but the exposure I had to different people and diverse ideas. I became a Midwest hippie, which was considerably different from a San Francisco hippie. A lot more subdued. By my junior year, I was spending most of my time protesting the Vietnam War, and less time studying, which took its toll on my GPA. Looking back, I would probably still do the same thing.
     I graduated in the fall of 1970, and my wife and I were married on March 6, 1971. We were childhood sweethearts. I may have been a little bit sweeter on her than she on me, but she said yes. I got the better deal. We immediately moved to Bethany Theological Seminary, in Oak Brook, Illinois. My wife worked as a nurse at Hinsdale Hospital, and I as a student. Being so close to Chicago, protesting the war again became my main subject. We moved back to our hometown in 1973. My time at Bethany was productive, but again not according to my grades. Dr. Dale Brown helped me apply for conscientious objector status, which I eventually received from my local draft board.
I went back to graduate school in 1979, earning a degree in family therapy. Two kids and seven dogs later, I retired after a twenty-five year career. My wife and I now live in Arkansas.
     The face in the mirror has had a good, and lucky life. If given the chance, I am not so naïve to say I would not do anything different. There would be plenty of room for improvement.  But I’m basically happy with what I see, however blurry that face might appear between those cracks in the mirror.

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