Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)
TITLE: Still a Greta Garbo After all these Years
By Eugene Levitzky
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Seeking no friendship, no frivolity, I lived a life of saintly solitude, loving mankind in the abstract, hating my neighbor in reality. Oh how I could love those starving people thousands of miles and several oceans away. How I could “feel” for the poor in Bangladesh, the starving in Africa, those poor fly-blown children with the bloated bellies pulling at my heartstrings. But, put me face to face with an actual man or woman on the street, in the workplace, anywhere, and I felt nothing but loathing. Therefore my silence, my deadly silence.
I was not a believing man, no. At times I was an atheist par excellence but at other times was susceptible to the goofiest UFO flings or to more down-to-earth New Age fandangos. Everything was open to me and everything was permissible. My life motto was taken from Rabelais’s Abbey of Thelema: Do what thou wilt shall be all of the law.
Only the sobering effect of reading certain books kept me from joining the band of Rebel Angels for eternity. My companions were books. From time to time I was befriended by someone but they would flee from me in fairly short order when they began to sense the inner malevolence of my spirit. Heading further and further into the pit that is the world, the flesh, and the devil, I finally came to the end of my life.
Thank God my life ended. It ended not with a bang, not a flash, not a whimper either. God took me through two years of nightmares to shake the devil out of me. Hair-raising, heart-bursting nightmares that continued in the waking state. Clutching an over-size King James to my heart I roiled and coiled on the floor like a poisoned serpent. I began those two years a son of the devil and rose out of them a child of God. Amazing Grace that saved a wretch like me.
I love my neighbor now, not as I should, of course, but at least I can, often enough, see my neighbor through the Eyes of Spirit rather than the Eyes of Flesh. Though I say it myself, I can now be tolerated by some but not by all. In fact, my companions remain books rather than people, but such books that I would have never been friends with before, books I would have sneered at and dismissed as childish. Who would have thought, me least of all, that I would laugh and cheer at the antics of Laura Ingalls Wilder or that red-haired Anne of Avonlea? That I would toss aside the satanic books of the death-in-life I led before and go whole hog, including postage, for books by Louisa May Alcott, Edward Eager, and E. Nesbit, not to speak of Francine Rivers, Janette Oke, and many other beautiful Christians? And I welcomed that old Printer of Udell’s into my life too.
Every morning I feast my peepers on The Waltons (or that Little House on the Prairie), and these old baggy blue eyes of mine slide tears into the breakfast plate every single morning as I say goodbye to all the kids, to John-Boy, to Mr. & Mrs. Walton, to Grandma and Grandpa Walton and once again have to face – the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Word count = 662
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