First the Blade
© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven
Grace (Part 1)
The quart of Jim Beam did little to numb his senses. His emotions still quivered in spasms of anguish. How could a woman love him one night and then treat him so badly the next day? What was she thinking about when he embraced her? How long had she been planning on leaving? What did Dick offer her that he didn’t? The questions ricocheted off the walls of his mind. He had no answers, only battered and abused emotions.
He pushed the chair back from the dinette table and staggered into the bedroom. There he knelt down and opened the bottom drawer of the oak dresser. Under some jeans, he found what he was looking for – a brown handled Smith & Wesson revolver. It was his dad’s. The cylinder was loaded with six bullets.
“Life’s not fair,” he mumbled as he stood up.
He undid the gun’s safety and walked into the bathroom.
Wanting to muffle the gun’s report, he grabbed a white bath towel from the rack, winding it around the gun, and his hand. He sat down in the tub, cocked the trigger, and stuck the barrel in his mouth. He tried to imagine where he would wake up after he squeezed the trigger.
The doorbell. What are the odds? He reasoned to himself. This can’t be happening. He sat there, barely breathing, his heart pounding in his chest.
Could it be a pizza deliveryman with the wrong apartment number? Or a drunk? Or a policeman? Or what? He thought as he continued to sit without moving, waiting for the person to give up and go away.
DING DONG! DING DONG! DING DONG!
“Okay, okay, I’m coming. Hold your horses!” he muttered.
He stepped out of the tub, laid the gun on the toilet seat, walked to the door, and opened it up with one fluid motion of his left hand. A pink blur shot past him. What was that? He wondered. He looked over his right shoulder just in time to see whomever it was disappear into the bathroom.
“Hey you, come back here,” he said in a heavy alcohol-soaked tongue. His left hand rested on the brass doorknob. Not even the shock of the cold air blowing in his face or the blur’s appearance sobered him up.
Ten seconds later, an old woman wearing a tattered pink chenille robe marched back into the living room, holding the revolver in her arthritic fingers. Attached to her fingers was a blue veined hand that quivered out of control from some type of nervous disorder. The gun swayed back and forth while he put his hands up in surrender.
“Young man, what is this?” she said in a raspy, slow motion manner.
Her gray eyebrows arched upward while her left eyelid drooped over a prying eye. The woman looked more like a Mad Hatter reject than a miracle worker.
He lowered his hands and shrugged.
“Rats are a problem in this apartment complex.”
“You sit on the toilet with a cocked pistol ready to shoot rats, right?”
Jonah looked like a little boy with his hand caught in a cookie jar. He looked away from her piercing brown eyes. It was almost as if she could read his mind and knew everything about him.
“God told me you were going to commit suicide. So, I ran over and rang your doorbell.”
His eyes opened wide.
“God told you,” he whispered.
“Yes, that’s right. God told me.”
“But, but …”
The woman pushed past him to the door.
“You smell like a drunk on Skid Row. I’ll stop by tomorrow morning. Get some sleep and we’ll talk then, okay?”
The pink blur was gone and the door was closed.
Jonah stood there staring at the six-panel door like a puppy that had watched his master disappear. Finally, he shook his head and walked over to the sofa. He slumped down on it and within seconds was asleep.
(The above excerpt is from the eBook novel, Jonah, by Larry Nevenhoven, 2012, Amazon.com)
Like the fictional character Jonah in the above eBook, I know what it’s like to have God’s grace rescue me from committing suicide. But also, like Jonah, I struggled for years trying to understand the value of grace in a believer’s life.
How important is God’s grace? And what are the limits of His grace?
(Continued…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)