Monday, April 18, 2016

That’s the Way it is…

Stan awoke in the middle of the night sitting on the edge of his bed and gasping, “No, no, no, not you. I don’t belong to you.” In his daze he felt he needed to escape from something, or someone. A shiver slid down his spine.

After fully waking up and realizing he was dreaming, he lay back down and pulled the sheet up to his chin. He blamed the nightmare on the alcohol he’d consumed at the bar earlier that night.

He glanced at the clock on his bedside stand. The luminous numbers taunted his bloodshot eyes and cesspool-like pupils. A muffled “you’ve got to be kidding me” echoed through his muddled mind, 3 a.m.?”

But, before his alarm interrupted a couple of hours later, he slept.

At work, he stood by the highway and enjoyed the last gasps of early morning. Soon, the rays of a raging sun would beat down on him and rebound off the blacktop to beat up on him.

Stan worked for a construction crew. As a flagman he’d hold a stop/go sign and direct traffic for 3 hours, then for 3 hours he'd drive the pilot-car, then flagman again. Nine hours of mind-boggling excitement.

Off at 5 p.m. he went home. He made a sandwich, warmed a can of soup, took a shower and collapsed into bed, all  before the clock struck 8 p.m.

Nevertheless, again that night he woke up in distress; this time the luminous hands on the clock pointed straight up. He spit out an expletive and with the same venom threw his pillow across the room. Exhausted, he lay back down and drifted into a fitful sleep.

When the alarm went off that Friday morning, Stan swore, literally, that over the weekend he’d find the answer to what was going on below the surface of his conscious life.

Mid-morning Saturday, with clenched fists, he strode out the front door. He had no idea who, what, when, or where. Just walk until the urge to stop intervened, and then decide what to do.

He walked past businesses, churches, schools, and through residential areas. Nothing sent a message so he kept on walking. He turned left at a corner and then stopped. Across the street squatted a quaint little church with an immaculate lawn, which was surrounded with a whitewashed picket fence.

He stared in awe at the church and its surroundings.

An invisible forefinger waggled at him; he crossed the street and walked through the gateless opening in the fence. He conquered the three cement steps in a single bound; a slight twist on the handle and the front door opened into the sanctuary.

He walked in.

He looked around the room. It had eight rows of two pews on each side of the center aisle. Each pew had two bookracks with a Bible and hymnal in them. He walked to the front of the church; the pulpit stood on a raised platform with a table behind it. The table had a narrow cloth lying across it, and candles in holders sat on each end with a gold-plated cross in the middle.

The scenario spoke of perfect peace. He felt he belonged there.

“May I help you?” a courteous voice from the side of the sanctuary floated into Stan’s consciousness.

Turning, his two eyes met a pair eyes as soft as the voice. “I’m Stan, are you the pastor?”

“I’m Pastor Robert.” The reply came from wherever peace is found.

The pastor’s mellow tone opened the internal spigot of Stan’s emotions. They gushed out in torrents. He covered his eyes, his shoulders convulsed, and he crumbled to the floor on his knees.

I don’t want to go to hell,” he sobbed. “Please tell me about Jesus.”

Pastor Robert walked across the room and knelt down. He put his arms around the sobbing mass in front of him. “Stan, all you need to know about Jesus is that He’s the Son of God and loves you.”

“How can he love me with all the bad things I’ve done?” sobbed Stan. “I’m finished, I’m finished.”
You’re right, Stan, you’re finished,” the pastor said. “But that’s the way it is with Jesus. You must be finished before you can start.”  

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