It was hot June afternoon. Me and my grandpa were setting on his front porch swing, when he looked over at me all serious. Boy, in life we will make alot of bad choices. Most of them I've made myself. But if you will just stop and realize that faith always triumphs over easy, then you won't make those same mistakes I did. Now being 10 I sort of nodded, not actually understanding what in the world he meant by that. It was not until years later on a dark night in April, that I truly came face to face with those very words. You see most of my life I had lived free, pretty much with my own rules and choices. Many of the the wrong ones. I was by the time I turned 24 pretty cold to the world and its options. I had been thrown full force into tragedy, beginning with my grandpa, who passed suddenly and rather unexpectedly by a stroke when I was only 13. Never actually getting to know him like a grandson should. Missing out on so many of life's lessons. Then 8 years later I had to suffer through my grandmother's ordeal and eventual death with Colon and Ovarian cancer. You see, as a child, we never actually grow up understanding words like stroke, or heart attack or cancer. The word parkinson's disease never comes up. Nor does Hodgkins disease, or limphoma, or diabetes, stroke or even chemotherapy. All of these I would come to know first hand, and become rather close companions with many. In this world we have so many choices, so many opportunities to make right or wrong decisions. What were not told, is that within this same world, forces outside of our control often influence those same choices. For me it was loss and dissapointment. Because of the loss I aforementioned my father changed his choices and options before I had the chance to change mine. He chose alchohol or his family, and abuse over kindness. This all due to the loss of his own father whom he never speant 3 days apart from on the farm at one time or another. By the time I had reached 24 I had a wife and a new set of responsibilites, none of which I was prepared for myself. Though I attended chuch, and even watched the occasional christian church show on television, I never understood the meaning of it all. Most days I simply mocked it more than supposted it.
Then on that dark night in April 2001 my mother who had been suffering from breast cancer for the past 5 years prior, reached the pinnacle of her life, and thus hospice had been called in to make final preparations. She had went from the most beautiful and vibrant woman on the planet, to a lifeless, pale, and hairless being, lying there breathing more out of I think now, hope that I would be saved before she past, than actual realty. I had saw this as the needle on the pimple of my entire life, bursting the poison and putred infection forth, that had consumed every inch of my soul. I had cried all day from about 5am on, and now I had found myself out in the back yard behind the garage, on my knees, screaming to whomeever could hear me. The words were more jibberish that English, cursing God, cursing my life, and the compiling list of devastating losses I had set through from childhood till now. It was here that this strange stillness came over me. I sat there staring up at the half moon hanging just over the corner of the garage roof. I slowly rose to my feet and stumbled toward the garage door. It was open. Strange my dad always kept it locked. Not thinking beyond a single thought, I walked in, and moved slowly to the gun cabinet. It was pitch dark in there, but I could make out the shimmering glass through the pale light flowing in through the window. I reached up and took the key from atop its lid and unlocked the small door, opening it carefully as if opening the lid of some forgotten treasure.
Playfully I took out the smith and wesson revolver that rested on the bottom, and I held it in my hand staring down at it, running my fingers along the barrel, and up to the hammer, down to the grip. I then stood there thinking back to all the good times my mom had speant with us. Her laughter, her strength. All the times she had spared me from dad's anger, or the beatings she had taken herself. I thought about the school picknicks she had taken me too and the ball games. Of the warm Saturdays as she stood cleaning the house, as I played jut outside the front door. Her soft but firm voice calling me in to supper. Even the times she dissiplined me. I even began to miss those times as well. A sudden bit of rage slowly steadily crept up within me. How unfair it was that she had been taken but my dad still lived. How quickly my grandfather had been taken from me, just before Christmas. How much my grandmother had suffered and the times I had pleaded with God to save her, unmerciffly going unheard. I saw the stress of work fading away, my wife taken care of with my life insurance policy, and the bitterness of seeing her grow old and get sick, shifted from my shoulders. I then found the revolver's hammer cocked and moving toward my brow. I thought how easy this was becoming, how easy it would be to leave it all behind. Easy....easy....easy... no more work, no more bills, no more decisions to make, no more death or sickness, crying or anger. Then it was at this dire point, when the very life God gave me was about to be exstinguished, another feeling began to take shape. Something strange. Something I had not felt for many years. It was faint, but as I stood there contemplating the end of my own life, and thinking how wasy it would be to plan 2 funerals at once than to plan one now then another later, I began to lower the pistol. I felt compelled to turn my head and look toward my dad's old desk, which was shoved over near the wall, being used now as a tool rack. To my asstonishment, there covered with wrenches and a box of nails was an old ragged mini Bible. I walked over and took the book from underneath the oil covered tools. It was in rough shape, pages torn, the cover all dusty and dirty, bent and tattered. I uncocked the pistol and with the same hand, open the book to the front cover. There the inscription read, "To Jesse Van, from your dad and mom, love J.V and Dean, June 1984." It was my dad's old Bible given to him when I was bu 10 years old. Erely, the same year my grandpa had told me about how easy is no way to live, and instead faith will always triumph over easy every time. Now I was not a supersticious kind of guy, and by no means religious. However those words from my grandpa kept repeating themselves over and over and over in my mind. I remembered how hard of a man he was at work. He never left a job undone and whether it was building a bob wire fence for his cattle or repairing the truck he always drove, he gave it 110% and never let adversity get him down. I thought about how my dad has acted after my grandpa's death, how he had allowed the easy rode to almost destroy his life and ours too. I turned the pages on that old tattered Bible, and thought to myself. I wander if my dad had even read the 1st verse of it. It seemed to stop at an overturned page, and until this day I will never forget the scripture circled on that worn page. It was from the book of Romans, chapter 1:17;
"For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed--a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
A cold chill ran from my toes up to the hair on my head. "Live! Live by faith, not die by it." I walked over and placed the pistol back in the case and closed the door, locking it. Then I placed the key back up over the lid and turn to walk back outside. When I came to the door, my brother was there crying. She had passed. My precious mother was gone. She apparently had heard what she wanted to hear and went to be with the Lord. From that day on, I cannot say the sinful pressures of this world have not almost defeated me, because they have. But even with sickness and adversity, always on the forefront, I can face it with a greater confidence of knowing that when we comes to that crossroads of life, when choices must be made, ro better or worse, always remember the words my grandpa told me so long ago, Faith will always triumph over easy every time. The Lord said, whomever belives on me and hears the words I speak, shall be saved and pass from death into life.
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