A dim light on my right showed my Wilson A-2000 baseball glove, lying atop a San Francisco Giants’ uniform and my Stanford University uniform.
My hands covered my mouth.
“Not baseball. Tell me I don’t have to give up baseball.”
The angel nodded.
“Baseball will hinder your calling. You need to place them in the coffin if you want to be chosen for this task.”
I picked up the glove and put it in my left hand. I smelled the leather. It made me think of the hundreds of games I had played wearing this faithful glove at second base. I loved it like an old friend. I touched the Giants’ uniform. The feel of the soft white cloth with its black and orange numerals and letters brought tears to my eyes. This was my dream and I was so close to achieving it. And the Stanford uniform. I stood there, not wanting to put them in the coffin.
If only, I thought, there was a way to do both. If only – if only – if only.
“What is your decision?” the angel said.
I hesitated, not wanting to be hurried.
The angel nudged me with his arm.
“What is your decision?”
I carried the glove and uniforms over to the coffin and dumped them inside. As I walked back with my head down I noticed the foul stench had lessened a bit.
“Are you ready to go on?” said the angel.
I have never ever wanted to be somewhere else more than at that moment. I felt as if all hope had deserted me. What more would be required of me before I left this place? I wondered.
“Okay,” I mumbled.
Another dim light came on. This time Kari stood in the glow. She held hands with a cute little boy who looked a lot like me and cradled in her arms a darling baby girl. The threesome glowed in their perfect wholesomeness.
“No,” I screamed. “No, this is too much to ask from me. I have loved Kari since I was twelve years old. Why?”
“Your prophetic calling has no leeway in it. There is no room for compromise and thus, you can not get married and have a family.”
I fell to my knees. Why me? I thought. Why now?
The angel touched my shoulder.
“What is your decision?”
I shrugged my shoulders and hesitated.
Kneeling there, I saw again what happened to Kari during the nuclear blast. Her beautiful eyes melting and running down her cheeks. The sores and pus covering her body. Her screams asking to be killed. I felt like someone had tied me to a railroad track with a freight train bearing down on me. Time had run out on all of my options.
I staggered over to Kari and the children. I picked her and the baby girl up in my arms and held the boy’s hand. The smell of Kari’ favorite perfume caused me to stumble, but I regained my balance. I laid them gently in the coffin and walked back to the angel, without looking over my shoulder.
Once again, the foul stench lessened its intensity.
I became like a zombie with the rest of my decisions. College education. Parental expectations. Financial success and stability. Friends. I picked them up and dumped them in the coffin.
The angel finally held up his hand.
“That’s it. Now, you have to shut the lid on the coffin.”
It was hard enough to deposit baseball, Kari, the children, and everything else in the coffin but to shut the lid down – and know that was the end of them in my life – was unbearable. I screamed. I yelled. I cried as I slammed the lid shut. I threw myself on the coffin and beat on it.
“Oh Lord, it hurts so much.”
But in that moment of horrible anguish, a sweet smelling aroma engulfed me. It was so powerful to my olfactory senses I could not discern whether I tasted or smelled it. A heavenly glory attached itself to it.
“It’s time to leave the Valley of Decision,” the angel whispered.
He grabbed my hand and we took off.
I lay on my bed moments later and before falling to sleep, I noticed the greenish vomit stains on my white tee-shirt.
Excerpt from Jonah by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2012, Amazon eBook.
(Continued in Part 11…if you’re interested, the full series to date may be seen here.)