“The truth shall set you free Mr. Perkins.”
What truth? Did Mrs. McDowell know? He slammed the receiver down in frustration before she could continue. The conversation had escalated and left Mr. Perkins unsettled. With no resolve or mutual agreement he retired to the TV.
Now Mr. Perkins slept an uncomfortable sleep in the confines of his armchair. Dreams invaded before a thump aroused him and instinctively he reached for his walking stick. Brushing his wispy white hair from his eyes he glanced forward. What was that?
Let me tell you the tale of Mr. Perkins, or Joe as his friends knew him.
Joe was the only child to his parents. His father was a sailor who settled to working on the docks after marrying his mother. His mother had insisted raising Joe with the backbone of faith and had went out of her way to involve him in Sunday school as a child. “Good values, good character, good person” she used to say. Church was her way of implementing this.
Joe grew up knowing hard work as an ethic and people applauded him for this. His people skills and quick wit came naturally and a quiet manner yet authoritative tone meant men much older than himself held him in high esteem.
His father was proud yet held reservations about his faith. It was childish in his eyes and Joe would soon outgrow it.
He didn't. Because of Joe’s connections at the dock it was easy for him to sail to India at 17 years of age. His parents agreed, his father willing him to be a sailor as he had once been, his mother proud of her sons motives.
Joe remained as a missionary to the people of West Bengal for 5 years before returning home. In that time his mother had taken ill and died, his father was dying also. Before he did pass on, on his deathbed, Joe was able to lead his father to accepting the Lords grace.
Time passed and Joe married Sheila, a nurse from the town he lived. After only 5 years of marriage Shelia fell sick with Tuberculosis. With no cure for this condition, they both knew the outcome.
A fog rested upon Joe for the next few years of life. It was hard to see clearly and life lost its sweet taste, colors were faded, and skies overcast. Joe Perkins enveloped his heart with doubt.
The fog lifted, as fogs do, now as a senior Mr. Perkins worked hard as a harbor master and served at the church he faithfully attended. Life was as rough as the sea yet a steadfast fear of God kept his faith afloat. He pressed through.
He became an elder in his church, served his local council and managed accounts for the pastors association. Everyone knew Mr. Perkins and he was a man with good reputation. Now an older gentlemen he was well worthy of retirement.
Earlier that evening Mrs. McDowell had called with an urgent matter at hand. Mr. Perkins had agreed to talk but an argument erupted as accusations flew and tempers flared.
Now as Mr. Perkins sat alone on his armchair he became aware of what was transpiring. Another thump echoed through Mr. Perkins house. This time it was his knees hitting the hardwood floor as he left the confines of his armchair. He had waited for this moment for years. He was being set free.
With tears streaming down his face he cried aloud “Father, good Father, please forgive me”. The room was silent apart from the sound of sobbing and the approaching footsteps.
A police officer stood in the doorway with no emotion showing in his hardened face. He had done this many times before. Not even a flicker of adrenaline or amusement showed.
“Mr. Perkins,” he spoke with in a deep monotone, “you are under arrest for the embezzlement of funds from Riverside Community Church…”
The words continued as Mr. Perkins lay prostrate beside his arm chair, weeping freely. The well esteemed Mr. Perkins. The thumping of his heart gave way to peace. A flashback came of the words spoken by Mrs. McDowell, “the truth shall set you free Mr. Perkins”. How he longed for freedom.
Joe wiped the tears from his eyes and lifted his head towards heaven.
“The truth shall set you free ” he whispered.
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