The Wooden Box

I grabbed a cup of water and put it under the faucet. The sound of the water pouring into the cup drew my mind away from the present. I drifted where I always went. I needed it. My mind bent on how I could get it next. I heard the sound of pounding in the distance, but the sound of the cup filling to the top drew me back to reality. Quickly, I turned the faucet off and poured some of it back out. Why did I need water in the first place? Couldn’t I just survive on what I really wanted? Ah… there was that pounding again. It came from the living room.

“He always wants out but he’s not going to get out. Ever. However, a little rest on the couch would be nice.”

The pounding got louder as I entered the living room.

“I’ll just spend a little time in here. It won’t bother me too much. Resting my legs feels good anyway. Now, if I could just get more of that stuff I need.”

I felt an excitement in my stomach just thinking about it.

“I need more of it. I did the last of it months ago. Ah… if only it lasted longer.”

The pounding really got loud now. It came from the large wooden box sitting beside the couch. I slammed my fist on the top of it and yelled, “Shut up!” Sometimes he can be so annoying. At least he wasn’t trying to talk to me. After all, he put me in charge. He should accept how things worked out and just be quiet. On the top of the wooden box a small window controlled the only visual communication between me and him. His breathing was rapid and his eyes danced wildly back and forth as they pleaded with mine. I ignored him and sipped my water.

“Why is this water never enough?”, I thought. “It would be if I had what I really needed. I just can’t seem to find it. It’s not available anymore.”

My eyes wandered around the room. Dust and dishes were scattered throughout the floor. My clothes were strewn on the back of the couch and the only chair I had. Memories of children running through the house went through my head more like ghosts than real thoughts. I really should get a maid. Cleaning is just not a priority. I guess months of fulfilling my needs takes it toll on a house. The wooden box made it seem like the room was furnished more than it was.

“He could clean the house though.”, I considered. “Oh, he would just love that.”

I laughed a little. I sipped more of my water and peered out of the windows. It’s so dark nowadays. I can’t remember the last time the sun peaked over the hills. Darkness prevailed outside the house rendering the windows useless. I stopped looking out of them months ago. There were no neighbors anyway. My street used to bustle with laughter and children’s games. That was before I found what I needed. The pounding started again and this time he spoke.

“Please let me out, “ he said, “I’m sorry I tried to stop you.”

I stood up and kicked the box. “You wanted this Jerry. Just shut up! I’m in control now, and no one can tell us apart anymore.”

“Help me… Help me!”, He cried.

He sobbed quietly as I stood up to leave the room. Jerry used to be my friend. I guess in the end, it was me that turned on him. He always did what I said. Now he can’t do anything.

Dave walked down the hospital corridor. The sun shined through the windows of each room as he passed. Today would have been an excellent day to go fishing, but he had urgent business that could not wait. A Bible could be clearly seen under his arm as he stepped into hospital room 124. A man lay on the bed in front of him. Dave stepped aside to let the nurse finish her check of the patient’s chart. She placed it back at the foot of the bed. The name on the chart was Jerry.

“Jerry, Jerry, it’s Pastor Dave. Can you hear me?”

Jerry’s skin was pale and thin. It looked as though it was draped over his bones like a worn out curtain. Although he was continually moving, Jerry was clearly bed ridden. The sound of the previous question seemed to be sucked into nothingness as the beeping monitors that were hooked to Jerry’s body persisted through an otherwise quiet room. His eyes danced wildly back and forth and his mouth formed inaudible words. He looked like he was crying. Dave spoke again.

“Jerry, Jerry, it’s Pastor Dave. Can you hear me? I’ve come to help you.”

Silence.

“Jerry, I’ve come to tell you about Jesus.”

Jerry’s eyes stopped for just a moment and made their way over to Dave’s. His head shook as he leaned toward Dave. He didn’t have much strength left. Jerry opened his mouth to speak. At first there was a deep gargling sound and then an ever so quiet voice, almost like a baby’s voice, resounding in the small room.

“Help me… Help me.”

At this, he collapsed back on the bed and his eyes resumed their awful dance once again.

“Jerry? Jerry!” Dave called out, but it was no use. He sat in the room for what seemed like an eternity hoping to see more moments of lucidity. The beeping of the machines were relentless. After a while, a nurse walked in and Dave felt it was time to leave.

That night, Dave slipped into bed with his wife. He had not repeated the account of his visit to anyone, and his heart was heavy as his mind drifted back to Jerry. He could still hear his cry.

“Help me… Help me!”

Sleep came slowly to his heavy heart, but his body soon gave way to the familiar rhythms of restful breathing. After all, God gives his beloved ones sleep.

That same night, Jerry slipped into the darkness once more and never returned.

The De-evolution of Man

 

The goal of a horror film is to strike fear in the heart of the watcher. Audiences react in horror to a grotesque scene or a surprise jump in a dark hallway. These fears only last as long as it takes for you to get your scream out. (or jump or whatever you do) However, there is something about zombie movies that comment on the human existence. The zombie is man stripped of whatever makes him human. All that was of value is lost and only the drive to eat remains. While this is make believe, in real life people are afraid of losing themselves. Certain proclivities that a man allows have the potential to overtake him. Man becomes a slave to addiction. (drugs, alcohol, porn, etc.) In pursuit of that one thing families are destroyed, futures are destroyed, children are hurt, and jobs are lost. Everything that was once loved and cared for is gone. The man himself loses who he is. After a while he might come to his senses, but the pieces of his life that formed a coherent whole are lost. He must now pick up what is left and form a new whole.

A good example of this is Jack Torrance in the movie The Shining. His addiction was alcohol. When he drank he became a different person and his anger poured out of him destroying everything around him. He tried as hard as he could to control himself. He stopped drinking and got help. But after taking a job as a caretaker for a huge hotel in the off season, Jack withdraws into his own world in which his family turns against him. In reality they love him, but he sees them as if looking through a tainted window full of betrayal and deceit. Soon he turns against them. Somehow he finds alcohol in the abandoned hotel and acts on every fear within him. His wife and child barely escape with their lives. As they leave, he comes to himself just for a moment, enough to see that any vestige of life that might have remained within him is hopelessly lost, and in the culmination of his addiction he dies.

The potential of this degeneration lives inside of every man. Like fighting an enemy, we try to keep the evil at bay. Time goes by and weary we give up the fight. Evil then takes what we care for the most and dashes it upon the jagged edges of addictive behavior. Broken, we look at all we lost wishing to God we had kept up the fight when we had the chance.

 

Real Fear

3236421931_f74c596723

As we approach the Halloween season where we celebrate dead things, I am reminded of something. I have vices. Everyone has them, but my vices are all my own responsibility. I picture them as skeletons in my secret closet which I hide from all who know me. I deal daily with a couple of them because they relentlessly rear their empty, ugly heads out with great force. It takes all of my energy to keep my hands on the door so it will stay shut. However, sometimes with a force stronger than my own, a skeleton will open the door enough to get a phalange through. That’s all it needs, for soon my strength gives way. It jumps on my back while I take it for a ride. After a while, my senses come to me, and a hatred that surpasses all hate previously known takes me over. I beat the skeleton back into the closet and I stand like a sentry at the door. What scares me the most is that the skeletons are never alone. They invite other skeletons to join them who are more vile than they. Soon, as one peeks its head out of the closet, it is holding the hand of another that it wants me to get to know. I ignore it for a time, but  I eventually accept that the more evil one exists. I try not to let it effect me, however, it is the beginning of another despicable relationship. Eventually, I come to realize that I am evil to my core. This is the fear of all humanity, yet it is extremely personal to all of us.

One thing remains, however, that gives me hope. Jesus Christ is my savior. He will never leave me or forsake me. I cry to him in my “pit of despair”, and I know he hears me. The temporary feeling of satisfaction the skeleton gives me is not worthy to be compared with the vastness of God’s glory. The skeleton can never provide enough to fill the bottomless pit that my flesh with its lusts digs daily. Though all others forsake me, I know God will always be there. Victory is always on the horizon. But I know that as soon as one skeleton is destroyed, one I had not seen before will take its place. Therefore, I conclude this battle will never end, but I will fight it as long as I am alive.