“Don’t you know who I am?” The film caught police leading the drunken newscaster out of the nightclub in an upscale neighborhood, her slurred words angrily shouted at the camera.
John stared at the television in his hotel room, exhaustion washing over him. Meetings, conferences, and book signings had taken its toll. He wasn’t young anymore.
He’d achieved the respect and notoriety he’d longed for as a young evangelist. Yet somehow in his journey, he’d lost that burning passion for people and God’s work. He was a popular conference speaker. His books sold in the thousands. Why did he feel this restlessness?
John’s eyes riveted back to the television as the reporter said Kathy Holder, the television news anchorwoman, had resigned her position after her arrest for drunken disorderly conduct.
“What’d she think?” John mumbled. “That fame excluded her from the law?”
Sighing, John’s mind replayed the fight he’d had with Megan before leaving on this trip.
“John, please! Say you’ll consider not going on the road anymore. Mark and Luke are teenagers. They need their father here.” Megan’s voice choked with emotion.
“Honey, you’re just upset because Mark got into that fight at school. I’ll talk to him. It’ll be fine. The boys are fine.” John tried to pull Megan to him, but she pushed him away. “Besides, honey, the people need me. It’s what God’s called me to do.”
“You know, John, you quit doing this for God and people years ago. Admit it! You love the praise, your fame.” Megan stood, tears pouring down her face.
“That’s not true, Megan. Listen, you know that new SUV you want with the DVD player? Let’s go shopping for that when I get home.”
John was stunned as Megan pushed past him, hurling, “I want you, not things.”
Maybe she’s right, John thought, as he began flipping through channels. He hadn’t called her all week. Her words still cut like angry barbs. He knew it was childish to not call home. How could he write and preach on love and forgiveness? He’d call home before he went to bed.
John found American Idol on television. It was tryouts. It always amused him how some people really couldn’t sing, but thought they could. He needed some humor.
It had the usual misfits mixed in with true talents. John started to doze when Ryan Seacrest talked with a young contestant who mentioned her famous father. John liked the actor, so it got his attention. He was turned off, though, when the contestant immediately told the judges her father’s name.
John snorted. Obviously the girl thought dropping her father’s name would help her chances. Many times he emphasized to his sons that it didn’t matter how famous he was, they had to get into heaven on their own salvation.
Thinking of his sons, John called home. Megan was cool, which hurt. “We’ll talk when I get home, honey. Let’s not fight. I’m sorry. Maybe you’re right, Megan.”
John slept well. The next night was the last night of the conference. At the close, John got a standing ovation from the ministers and leaders. The accolades felt wonderful, soothing his bruised ego from Megan’s words.
But wasn’t that exactly what Megan meant? John decided to walk the couple of blocks from the convention center to the hotel. He wanted to think about things before he called Megan that night.
John was lost in thought when he heard commotion as he passed an alley. “Hey, mister,” someone called out.
John hesitated. Deciding it wasn’t safe, he turned to flee when three smelly, disheveled men stepped out of the shadows. “Wanna have a drink with us?” one asked, holding up a bottle.
“No!” John backed away in disgust.
“Course not, Mr. Fancy Pants,” sneered one of them.
In a split second, John decided to show Megan he cared about the downtrodden. He sat on the curb with the men, looking for an opportunity to share Jesus. He gave his tailor-made jacket to one, his expensive shoes to another, and his Armani shirt to the third, leaving him in his undershirt.
The three cackled, parading in their finery. One spilled cheap whiskey on John. That’s when the patrol car pulled up.
“Come on, fellas,” the officer said, shining a light on them.
Eyes wide, John stood, waved his arms in protest, pointing to his name on the convention center’s marquee. “Do you know who I am? I’m not one of them!”
“Tell it to the judge, fella!”
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