For 20 years my miserable life went down the same old, same old path. Every day after work I ambled over to the nearest tavern and plopped down on my favorite stool. After spending way too much time and money, I stumbled down a few blocks to my trashed-out apartment and passed out.
The next day, I would do it all over again.
But, last week Friday night around 10:30 p.m., something changed inside of me.
The tavern was loud with sports and people playing all kinds of games. I thought about all the time and money I wasted in that place. Oh, the owner loved me—well, of course he loved me—I had spent untold thousands of hard-earned American dollars in his establishment.
I was simply fed up with it all.
Suddenly, I stood up—I almost fell backwards—and announced over the din: “That’s it! I’m sicka dis place! I’m sicka you, you, you and you…and…I’m outta here!” I slammed a twenty on the bar and zig-zagged my way toward and out the door into the freezing, snowy night.
“Whoa, it’s a-really c-cold out here…” I mumbled to myself and zipped up my jacket. Someone tried to assist me and offered to drive me home, but I refused.
I was determined my life was going to change.
“I’ll be okay, I’ll be okay. Lemme walk…I need to walk and think. I’ll head over to ma Mom’s place.”
Powdery snowflakes fell on my face as I slipped and slid my way through the snowy sidewalk. The snow reminded me of when I was kid and my Mom would take me sledding. Mom’s house was only about a mile away, and I knew I could make it.
I got to the corner to walk the past the last few houses to get to Mom’s place. A streetlight beamed down and revealed the gently falling snow, sparkling like stars in the night. There I slipped and almost fell down, and had to hold onto the streetlight pole with both hands to steady myself.
I felt so ashamed of myself.
I coughed a couple of times. Then, I cleared my throat and looked up past the streetlight at some billboard lights.
“Lord, please help me.”
Then, I shuffled toward my Mom’s house and went up the snow-covered stairs. I actually fell down once; then pushed myself back up and fell again. I pushed myself back up a second time and staggered a few more steps and fell a third time. I managed to roll over and passed out for twenty minutes.
“Bill, Bill—come on Bill—snap out of it.” My dear mother shook me until I woke up.
I blinked my eyes and finally focused—across the street. Over there is a row of businesses and perched atop of most of them are billboards. One billboard advertised a Christmas movie; another advertised the tavern I just escaped from. But the third billboard was different: it had a simple, eye-catching message:
Read Psalm 25:2
“Wow…” I muttered to myself.
Mom finally coaxed me into the house—I literally had to crawl the rest of the way. I felt so embarrassed; and so ashamed.
Mom let me sleep it off.
The following morning, I heard someone outside shoveling. It was Mom. My head hurt too much; and I was too sick to roll out there and help her. How sad—I made it only as far as the kitchen. There, I sat down at the kitchen table and just held my head and massaged my temples, groaning.
Stomping the snow off of her feet, Mom stepped into the kitchen. “Good Morning Bill, how’re you feelin’ this mornin’?”
“Oh, just terrible, just terrible, Mom. I’m feelin’ …hungover…and so ashamed…”
She touched my shoulder and responded, “I saw you lookin’ at that sign last night.”
“Yeah, I was gonna ask you about that. Could you please read that Psalm to me?”
Mom immediately went and grabbed her Bible from the front room and returned. “Psalm 25, verse 2. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me.”
“There it is. ‘OMG.’ Wow…Read the rest of it.”
“The whole Psalm?”
“Yes, please read it all.”
As Mom read Psalm 25 to me, I started crying.
When she read verse 20—“…Let me not be ashamed…” I started weeping.
I repented that Saturday.
(Thanks Mom for writin’ this story for me.)
Reference from the New King James Version:
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