An encounter with a fictional character written for the Writer's Cramp.
|"I can't take anymore!" I sobbed as I hung up the phone. More bad news. Unexpected bad news. More problems when I was already overwhelmed!
Despair grabbed my guts wrenching them. I collapsed on the sofa sobbing.
"There's nothing I can do about any of this right now. Except worry . . . " The tears came again. This time when they subsided, I sat there shaking my head. "What can I do to take my mind off EVERYTHING?" As I prayed for help, I was thinking, "I want to die!"
I stumbled into the kitchen and made a cup of chamomile tea. "God, Please help me!" I cried aloud as I walked back into the livingroom. Wiping my eyes, I went to the bookshelf. A Wrinkle In Time . . . The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe . . . Mutant Message. Sometimes I would escape into a familiar story when life became too much. I reached for The Greatest Miracle In the World.
The cover was ragged and a bit soiled. "Achieve your greatest potential and discover the key to lasting happiness." "Yeh, right . . . " My head hurt.
I opened the book in an effort to push aside my feelings of hopelessness.
I turned the pages slowly. The title page. The familiarity of the book brought comfort. Bible verses on the next page. I had forgotten they were there:
"I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me."
I skipped the dedication page with but a glance ". . . my mother, Margaret." and flipped past Appreciations . . .
"The first time I saw him?
"He was feeding pigeons."
I've read it so many times that those words immediately took me into Simon's livingroom . . . with stacks of "Hand of God" books . . . sipping some sherry . . .
"I don't really like sherry." I thought as I cuddled down into the sofa cushions making myself comfortable.
I drifted into the story: "'Let me help you." That voice was truly something . . . "
". . . the gate . . . the crossbar . . ."
Knock, Knock, Knock . . .
I woke up to the sound of someone at the door.
"Who is it?" I asked.
"A friend. We haven't met but I would like to help you."
The voice . . . it was the deepest voice I had ever heard.
I wondered who it could be. "Just a minute." I quickly threw on some clothes and opened the door a crack.
"Greetings to you on this beautiful day!"
In response to his comment, I thought, "It's not that great a day." Then I wondered who this fellow was and what he wanted.
He sounded like God . . . or what I imagined God would sound like.
"My name is Simon. May I come in?"
I looked up into the softest, most loving eyes I had ever seen.
This man had said nothing more than "May I come in?" but, in that moment, I felt love and acceptance. A basset sat quietly by his feet. A piece of rope ran from the dog's collar to a loop around the man's wrist.
I hesitated a moment before letting a stranger and his dog into my livingroom . . . but something just felt right . . . very, very right. I invited them in.
I offered him a seat on the sofa. As he sat down, he picked up my book and said, "You've been reading Og's book again, I see."
"Og's book . . . again . . . How . . . " My thoughts swirled in a confused manner. "What do you mean?" I asked.
"I know some things about the people I am going to help." he said. "You need some extra help right now. More than you can get from reading a book."
"I'm not reading the book for answers." I said. "I am just reading it to distract myself from all the pain in my life right now."
"I know." The sound of his deep voice brought comfort. It seemed as though his words were true. It seemed as though he did know.
"What do I do?" I asked, expecting him to have the answers.
"You comfort yourself . . . and then move on . . . you do what you can do . . . and leave the rest in God's hands."
"That sounds a bit like the Serenity Prayer."
"Nothing happens to you that isn't common to man. Why do you think Reiny wrote that prayer in the first place?"
"I thought St. Francis wrote it."
"Ah, Francis left some of his words for you as well, but the Serenity Prayer was written by Reiny. Reinhold was one of the most influential American theologians of the twentieth century. Sadly, he is not talked about a lot these days . . . but the words of his prayer are remembered . . . and spoken . . . by many."
"People remember the first part . . . but tend to forget there is more. That is the part I have come to remind you of today:
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Knock, Knock, Knock . . .
I opened my eyes. My book had fallen to the floor.
No one was there . . . but I remembered the words of that prayer.