Read an Excerpt
The Distant Rumble
The weight of this sad time we must obey;
speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
It was a glorious summer morning in 1992. The sun was rising over the water, and the bees were beginning to hum. I went out into the yard to fill the bird feeder and stood for a moment in the stillness.
I saw my neighbor sail off in his little crabbing boat, and I waved good morning. I wondered about his life. He was always alone, and every day he set out onto the water, the first to ripple the quiet. A solitary life. My little white dog barked at a visiting duck, but the duck seemed unimpressed.
I drank in the sounds of the lapping water as it broke on the boat dock. I imagined for a moment that I was ten years old again, home in Scotland, standing by the ocean, my place of peace.
I turned my back on the water to prepare for the day ahead. I felt heavy inside, as if every bone in my body had turned to lead while I slept. After I showered, I took my coffee outside, and in the morning warmth I prayed, "God, please help me get through one more day."
It was a lovely drive from my house to the television studios where I worked. I left early enough each morning to avoid the rush of traffic. As I drove through the main gates of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), I thought again how strange it was to find myself in Virginia Beach, as co-host of "The 700 Club."
My husband and I had moved to Los Angeles from England in 1986. My record company was based in L.A., and most of my concert touring was in the U.S., so it made sense for us to make this home.
I had fallen in love with this country instantly. I loved the hope that seemed to be part of the fabric of the people. I loved the freedom to be able to try new things, to find new ways of saying what I believe.
In 1988, Jackie Mitchum, the guest coordinator at CBN, saw me being interviewed on a morning show, a Canadian program called "100 Huntley Street," which broadcast extensively to certain markets across America. Jackie taped the interview and showed it to Dr. Pat Robertson, president of CBN, who was looking for someone to fill the position of co-host for their flagship show, "The 700 Club." CBN flew me in to meet with Pat and to audition for the position.
I had worked for three years with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in London, but this was very different. I was used to taping shows in advance, so that if anything went wrong, there was time to correct it. This was a live show, and because it was live, it was hard to rehearse. The afternoon I arrived, the producer enlisted the help of a secretary for me to "practice on."
The next morning was the real thing. I was taken to makeup at 7 a.m. and by the time I left, my face felt as if it were three times its normal size. I was definitely made-up! My hair no longer had an opinion; it was set in stone and larger than life.
Pat arrived a few minutes before the show started and prayed with six of us in his dressing room. Then we were on. I was petrified. Within minutes it became apparent to me that I was supposed to be fairly fluent in world events. But, as I told Pat when he looked to me to kick off a discussion on the situation in Israel, "I know about as much about the West Bank as I do about the Bank of America!"
Despite the fact that I was obviously not the Scottish Barbara Walters, I was hired that day. A month later we moved from the West Coast to Virginia Beach.
I loved my job and the stimulation of discussing pressing issues with prominent church leaders and theologians. I subscribed to The Economist and brushed up on American history and world events. As a student at London Bible College, I had been constantly challenged to open my mind to the input of other believers whose experience of God was a little different from mine. I like to live with mystery. And now, every day, I listened and questioned as Billy Graham, Charles Colson, Chuck Swindoll, and countless others sat with me for a while and talked about life.
On the surface I had it made and everything looked fine -- but I was not fine. I had not been fine for a long time.
Life, like a volcano, seems to offer early warning signals. Long before a volcano blows, there are signs that the level of activity under the surface has increased. Distant noises and rumbles become more pronounced. They say that animals are more tuned into it than we are and become restless and alert, sensing something's not right.
There were many areas of my life that did not always make sense to me. I loved my job. I loved being able to talk about the love of God to such a diverse audience every day. And I received hundreds of letters from viewers telling me how the show impacted their lives. I knew this was true, but sometimes I felt like a secondhand car salesman; I had a sickening sense that what I just sold people may not get them all the way home.