A short story (fiction)
His earliest memory was his mother loving him. Then at age 4, she died in a car wreck. She was driving, he was her only passenger. She was thrown from the car, after she ran a stop sign. He listened to her die all the way to the hospital.
His father never recovered from losing his one true love. “Born to lose” played in the background for the rest of his life. Drinking became his solace. But that did not positively affect the son.
He was a remarkable athlete. Fast as the wind, and gifted. Hand him the football and stand back and watch. High school was easy for a good-looking, smart tailback who could score from anywhere on the field. Chicks dug him, guys loved him.
So he drank too much. So he partied too much. The cops, when they caught him smoking weed after a big game, somehow missed the overwhelming oder of Mary do you wanna bellowing out of his car. He was a big fish in a small pond so they let him be. God bless small town coppers anyway.
After high school he found that his football skills were small town. His foray into football at the next level did not fare well. With no encouragement, and after losing his high school sweetheart, he dropped out of college and tried to find himself.
He hitchhiked across America, wondering if he could find himself on some mountain top. Instead, Jesus caught up to him at a rest stop in Montana. On the way home with only $10.23 in his pocket. A little old lady asked, “have you been saved?” The guy who had picked him up, and who had bought the six-pack of beer that they were sharing said “I’m from California! I’ve been saved many times!” But the small time boy who missed his mother said
“No, I’ve never been saved.”
While the driver snickered and took the rest of the beer back to his car, the old lady continued. She took out some tract and explained the gospel to the lost young man. He listened and it all made sense. He prayed to accept Jesus as his savior. She said “Find a good church back home.” Then it began to rain. He went back to his ride home. But he was not welcomed. At the next stop his California ride dumped his baggage out the window and took off.
He did not find a “good church” back home at first. The Bible that she gave him was a revelation. He read it voraciously. But he did not apply it to his life. He had girlfriends. He HAD girlfriends. He fell back into his old way of life. Soon, nothing was different.
Until he ran into Bob. He was at his friend’s house. The one who had driven off a cliff while drunk and become paraplegic. Bob appeared to be just one of the crowd. Then he said he was a pastor of a local church. He spoke to Bob, and Bob said he would have his church pray for him the next service (Christmas). He promptly forgot about Bob.
Christmas came, clear and bright. His niece was born on Christmas Eve. All day Christmas he felt different. Something was up. When he and his family went to see his new niece on Christmas night there was a full moon. A feeling welled up inside him. He was overwhelmed with a feeling of guilt. And a feeling that if only God would forgive him, he would devote the rest of his life to God. He cried, his life was different, it had meaning.
A couple of years past until he got his feet under him. He decided that God wanted him to be a preacher. Isn’t that what God wants of those totally devoted to God?
At a small Christian college he re-discovered his athletic skills. No football, but tennis, soccer, basketball and baseball. And Christian women…
He found another needy soul who had her own demons. And a nice butt. Many girlfriends later, he married her. Becoming a preacher didn’t work out. So he went to law school instead. He was going to save the world.
Law school sucks. Being a lawyer sucks. But he did it. He worked his ass off. His first-born was blessed by his appearance at the hospital. For awhile, but then he went back to work. He was too important to be absent from work for long. His second born got even shorter shrift. Work days were for working late. Weekends were for catching up.
His family grew up. And grew distant. He gave all to his mistress, the law profession. Sure, he tried. He coached little league and soccer, basketball and softball. But his heart was not in it. And every little mistake earned a holler, or worse a scream.
Alcohol soothed his pain. Alcohol calmed him down. Alcohol made him almost normal. So he drank.
His family grew distant. His wife wondered. He drank.
His wife raised his family. His family prospered. And he drank.
At first his legal career prospered. He was good at trying cases. His competitiveness caused him to buckle down and work hard and win cases. The wins went to his head. He thought he was back in small town U.S.A. playing a game of football. But he was playing for larger stakes. When he gambled on third down and lost, instead of losing a football game, he lost somebody’s life savings. Instead of not winning a county championship, somebody would go bankrupt.
He gambled. He lost. And he could not take it. So he drank more. His bosses had no patience for the guy who could not take defeat. So they fired him. And he drank some more.
His family prospered, despite him. His wife stood by him, despite him. His children adored him, despite him. He drank more and more and more. Eventually, he had no care about being ethical, or about being “Christian”, or about doing what was right. He stole money from his clients. He lied, he cheated, he became a total loser.
In the end, he only wanted his family to love him. He did not want his family to realize what a loser he was. He only wanted his life to be over. He woke up each morning praying, “Please, God, I want to die. Before they discover what a liar I am. Before they discover what a loser I am. Before they learn that I am a fraud. A fake. A total utter failure.” Then he grabbed another beer and faked his way through the day…