Luke 9:23

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December 24th 2012  |  2  |  Category: Fiction , Inspirational , Moral  |  Author: The Kayaking Church  |  781 views

In Memory of David

The voices in the hallway faded as the volunteers walked past Nathan’s office and made their way towards the kitchen. Every Tuesday, they came in to help prepare the dinner at the shelter. There was a knock at the door a few minutes after the volunteers passed.

“Come in,” Nathan stated. He looked up from his desk. It was Bill. “You can leave the door open.” Bill looked anxious as he sat down.

“You know – some days are worse than other days; I don’t know what it is. I guess today is just one of those tough days,” Bill stated.

“What’s going on?” Nathan asked. Bill stared at the ground for an instant before shaking his head.

Bill forced a laugh. “Some days you wake up and you just want a drink. I know.” Bill attempted to smile before he took a deep breath. “I know – I shouldn’t want it, but I wake up in the morning and that temptation is there. Nothing I can do about it.” Nathan nodded as he listened to Bill share his story. “You know – when I was in prison, it wasn’t really that bad. I behaved well and was rewarded for it. I only went there because I was stupid. I made a really stupid mistake that I should’ve never done in the first place.”

Bill thought about his life before looking up at Nathan, his eyes still serious. “It was really just greed that landed me there. In a way, it’s almost a good thing I was caught; I mean, who knows if I would’ve turned into an alcoholic or not if I hadn’t been caught, but I would’ve definitely been pretty far lost down the path of greed.” Bill stopped before forcing another chuckle. “But then I started drinking when I got out. I just got so depressed. Then I kept drinking.” Bill tried to force another smile and looked straight at Nathan. “Well, you know the rest of the story! I entered this recovery program here. Then I quit once. And now I’m back again!” Bill let out more laughter.

Nathan waited another couple moments before speaking.

“I’ve got no doubt that it’s tough, Bill. But you’re doing a great job. Don’t forget that. Every day is a fresh start. Every time you’ve got that temptation to grab a drink, you’ve got a choice. And you can choose to say no.” Nathan took a breath. “You’ve seen where alcohol has taken you. It might feel good at first, but it won’t lead you anywhere good. You might have to say no to that desire every single day. But you’ve got a choice to say no. And you’ve got a choice to put that instinct within you to death every single day. The great thing is – you don’t have to say yes. It may never be easy; the temptation may never go away. But every time you wake up and have that thirst for a drink, you can still say no.” Bill grinned at Nathan’s words.

“God. Being sober sucks.” Bill shifted in his chair; it was clear that he still had more on his mind. Nathan waited for him to speak again. “It does suck. You know – I believe in myself. Some days more than others, but I do believe in myself. And I know God believes in me.” Bill became solemn. “But when I walk around town, like yesterday, and I see how some people look at me. Some of them knew how horrible of a drunk I was. I know they remember me stumbling around like some pathetic loser. You know – I stood out in front of that financial firm downtown. I panhandled, hoping some of those rich guys walking out each afternoon would be able to spare some cash. You’d be surprised. A lot of them would give and a lot of them wouldn’t.” Bill stopped again as he reflected. “I’m just not sure that I believe that other people believe in me. I’m not sure people think I can really change after everything.”

As soon as Bill said those words, Nathan recalled Williamson Financial Investments. It was the firm where he used to work. Although Nathan was a little older now, he held a position there for practically his entire life. Nathan vaguely remembered a bearded man, probably homeless, who stood outside his office for a while. Then one day the man simply disappeared; Nathan never thought anything of it. It might’ve even been Bill, but Nathan couldn’t call to mind the details of the man’s face. He searched his memory. Nathan remembered how he was back then though; he probably tried to walk past the bearded man as quickly as he could.

“Bill, you already said it. You believe in yourself. You should believe in yourself every day! And you know that God believes in you. That’s all that matters.” Nathan leaned forward. “Look at me Bill; I want you to know just how serious I am. I know that other people believe in you. I believe in you. You’re making progress. I’ve seen you make progress. And the rest of the staff here at the shelter believe in you. There is no need to worry about anyone who might doubt you.” Nathan paused before reclining back in his chair. “You never shared that part of your story with me before, about your panhandling. Thanks for that. Regardless if people change or not, I just have to place faith in the hope that they do.” Nathan looked at Bill in the eyes. “But I happen to think that people really can change. That’s why I’m here.”

Bill considered Nathan’s words before grinning again. This time the smile wasn’t forced. “You know – you’re right!” Bill stood up and began to head towards the office door. “Thanks Nate, I really mean it. I know I come in here and tell you the same story every week, but it really does make a difference that someone is listening.”

“You’ll be fine, Bill.”

“I know.”

As Bill left, Nathan heard a few others in the hallway again. Some of the volunteers who came in for the afternoon to help prepare the dinner were on their way out.

“Hey Nate, we’ll all see you next time!” It was one of the volunteers named Sarah. She stopped in and chatted with Nathan every once in a while.

“Sounds great!” Nathan replied. Sarah’s daughter stopped and waved from the hallway.

“Goodbye, Mr. Williamson!” Nathan smiled at the girl and waved back.


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2 Responses to Luke 9:23

  1. Avatar of priyanka priyanka says:

    Hmm.. really a great story. Good work.. keep it up..

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