Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: End Times (02/27/14)
TITLE: Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda
By Keith Henry III
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“It was a memory that I had long since tucked away in the back of my mind; a memory from my childhood. My father and I were trout fishing down near Three Bridges; I must have been fifteen years old. I see vividly my father standing next to me with his pole in his hand. As he turned towards me and I could tell that he had something important to say to me; it was probably his infamous Jesus rant again.” Peter dropped his pen as a wave of emotion swept over his body. His swollen, tear filled eyes looked up from the notebook and focused on the couch where his father had sat not long ago. A gold T shirt and a pair of blue jeans broke up the couch’s subtle checkered pattern; his father’s jeans and his Pittsburgh Steelers shirt.
Peter gathered himself and picked up his pen again as he began writing about this repressed memory of his father:
“It had almost become habit to tune dad out whenever his famous rant started and though all I heard was, “Blah, blah, blah, Jesus, blah, blah, died for you.” I could recite his Jesus rant verbatim. “Peter you know that God loves you so much that He gave His one and only Son to die on the Cross as payment for our sins? Because Jesus died for your sins don’t you think we should love Him? Shouldn’t we follow His ways and obey His words? The Bible tells us that He is coming back one day soon and son I just want you to be ready.” We had heard this speech a thousand times growing up and a thousand times my siblings and I nodded our heads and said, “Yes Dad I know.”
Peter sat down the pen and walked to his entertainment center. There, in a place of prominence was a picture of his mother and father; Peter smiled as he pulled it close to his chest. “What am I going to do without you two?” he thought as he returned to the table. Gently Peter placed the picture in front of him and continued writing.
I am not sure why or what came over me but on that particular day, but for some reason I decided that it was the proper time to talk back to my father. “Dad I know; we all know. You remind us every chance you get.” I am sure that I did not see my father’s reaction at the time, but his shocked and confused eyes were very vivid in my remembering. “I am a good kid. Maybe I should read the Bible more, but I have homework, and sports, and friends to hang out with. Maybe I could pray more, but my head is full of teenager stuff. And maybe I would be more like you or what you want me to be, but I am not you; I am me.”
Peter had to stop to wipe the tears from his eyes. He stared first at the picture and again at the empty couch. “I wish I had listened to you Dad”, he thought as he finished drying his eyes.
My father placed his hand on my shoulder and looked me into my eyes; the anger I expected to see was replaced by sadness and love. He gently squeezed my shoulder, “Son, you may leave this place tomorrow; we are living in the end times and Jesus may come back any minute to rapture the true believers and all of your shouldas, couldas, and wouldas will not get you into heaven.” I had forgotten those words almost as soon as he had spoken them and I continued to live my life my way.
Now, today, when it is too late, I wish I had heeded my father’s words. This morning my father just vanished right before my eyes; all that remained were his clothes. I knew what had happened; the Rapture, the end times had started. The very thing my father had tried to prepare us for had happened. I am so happy for my father; he is with the Lord. Is it too late for me? I don’t know. I am going to chronicle my journey through the end of times in this journal and devote my life to Christ; without the shouldas, couldas, or wouldas.
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