TITLE : The Cry Of The Wolf
Written By: James H. Wilson
Date: © Copyright, March 22, 2007
The eyes took me apart while the breath shined in the moonlight. The ways and steps of the victim was well ordered. Anytime this line is crossed, hope is lost. The paralyzing effect of the hunter upon the hunted is only due to the wearying of the soul. A cast out longs for the presence of a kindly spirit, not to be overtaken by the tormentors. How does anyone come to this place? How can anyone unorder their footsteps. You can not. No, once the clock has prevailed it's wane, even the cry of the wolf must be heard.
I found myself laying face down on the edge of the gutter. Little pieces of last nights upheaved meal, I think, laying in front of me. I think it was from my meal, not that it mattered. This was not the first time I'd found the sunlight waking me, and feeling the chill of the cool morning beating upon my body. No, I'd been down this road nearly every Sunday morning for the past several weeks. I don't think I can remember exactly the date or the night that left me in this position. It's been a while. Matter of fact all I can remember to do is get up and brush my sloppy self off.
About now the smell of this alleyway starts to overtake me and as I look around I see I have placed me in the middle card-board-box-ville where the blacktop is littered with cheap wine bottles and feet hanging out of thrown away boxes. Some shelter! No, it isn't where I started to go. I was alone... I'm always alone... And so far I've been able to stand myself being one. I am one at the laundry mat. I'm one on the bus. I'm one at the dinner table. I am one as I walk down to the park where I listen to the laughter of the children. I take a book or a newspaper to read but I'm really there to enjoy the tenderness and joy that puts my heart in a more peaceful place. Mothers and their children enjoying each other, just as the All Mighty made it to be.
I stand up, my head pounding like usual. Not that I have any some place to go but this time I think I'll try to walk in the sun, the warm sun for just a little while longer. I get back to 'home' soon enough. I work six days a week, go out Saturday night hoping to meet someone. That never seems to happen. Got close a couple of times, but I chickened out. I get to thinking how I haven't become any of the somebody's I had planned.
The last time I thought about who I wanted to be I had a new job and a new set of friends. Then they got to know me. I started letting down my guard. I started laughing at some of their jokes. I noticed that their jokes never had any foul language in them. I also noticed how they hardly ever disagreed, a real happy bunch. They got together sometimes, maybe once a week for dinner, (they said).
Yeah all was going well, too well. A few weeks down this road and I thought I could be something more than I had been. One of them left me a note on my desk. A nice little note in a nice little envelope, nicely typed with a smiley face next to my name. It was an invite to the evening dinner. I supposed they wanted to feed me 'cause I was too thin. I admit I didn't eat a lot so dinner sounded real good to me. I asked one of the other guys about it and he said "just show up and you'll see". The rest of that day they were always smiling as they passed me, and the rest of the next day too. I told myself not to be suspicious, I was just a nice guy and they wanted to fatten me up a little.
I made my way to the after hours dinner on this Thursday night. I had to take a bus there but they said if I would get there someone would take me home in case the busses didn't run later. So I didn't have any real worries. That doesn't mean I didn't try to make so much more out of this. The voices going off in my head was almost too much to bear. The negative stuff in my head had me so wound up I could have outrun an eight legged horse. I wouldn't need batteries for another few years. I gave me all kinds of really good reasons not to go, like 'what if the reason there was a job for me was what they did to the last guy'. But I kept hearing my mother's voice saying, "If you don't walk around the corner, you will never know that what is there - is here - and what is here - is there but for some small differences." For the three blocks from the bus I felt like I was walking through a storm with lightning dropping all around me. A sound like a freight train in my ears and the ground shaking under my feet right at the front gate nearly stopped me in my tracks.
Even though I was under attack I kept going, but even my arm didn't want to take my hand to knock on the front door. But with a lump in my throat I knocked. I became determined to 'do this' or else. I mostly had felt so empty till then and here I was doing something with a group of basically strangers. It scared me. 'I had to go on through this, it's just dinner', I told myself. So O.K. I had dinner. We all had a good time. It was definitely different for me. But there was this girl. She had this look in her eyes, and I couldn't keep her out of my mind. I wasn't there for a date. I wasn't invited to 'meet' somebody. It just happened.
As the night went on my new friends started talking about the reason they smile so much, or really I guess I had asked. The lady of the house brought me a new bible premarked to John 3:16. I read it. I'd read it before when I went to live with my aunt and uncle when I was 12 and they took me to Christian church that summer. I had considered getting baptized but backed out at the last minute. Five years later I thought stealing a car and taking off to the next town to 'check out' the girls was a good idea. That six foot four high way patrolman was not in a very good humor that night. He called a tow truck and took me to jail. After that my life pretty much never went anywhere.
I had lost the steam back then, that feeling one needs, and all of a sudden here I was looking at a future. Funny, I been down a lot of wrong roads and I knew this was something new. Yeah, I started trusting someone else, and that was a whole new feeling. To the point it caught me off guard, kind'a like you just stopped running and it's hard to catch your breath. A very nice girl my age and a new connection to God. Needless to say they asked me next week to join them again and by then I had put far to much time into thought about what had happened. I think I allowed me to twist it into something it wasn't, I don't know. All I remember is leaving that job and going on a three day drunk.
I just couldn't be around 'nice' people. It was just too much for me. Hence the gutter and I found each other again. A routine like that isn't a bad thing for some folks, it just is for me. It's all I can do to get through the week but even so I somehow look forward to each weekend. There's that hope that something will change. Hope that I will meet someone who will want to change me. Maybe I'll meet someone who will make me feel strong again, or even stronger than I've ever been. Now that would be really, really good. So I continue to look for the light at the end of the tunnel where I can be free from all this darkness.
There is a park up ahead. I'll set down and rest a few minutes and watch the pigeons. It's hard for my soul to rest but the pigeons satisfy something like the laughter of happy children. I go to battle from the time I wake up until late each night. My eyes are red all the time from lack of sleep. I drink at least five cups of coffee before I can get my day to start, like trying to kick start an old motorcycle. And by noon, forget it! I'm so tired all the time I feel like I'm just full of demons. I feel like I've been out all night prowling the woods with the cry of the hungry wolf coming from deep inside. Every right thing, every good thing I start to do I can find several seemingly good reasons to wait till later to do, and they never get done. I don't know how many times every day I say to myself "why did you do or say that". I am still a young man. How much longer will that last?
I've rested. I see a street I haven't seen before. I look at the sun to place the time, 'cause I can't remember whether I wore my watch last night or not but I don't have it on now. It looks like it's around 9 or 9:30. It is a pretty morning. I see these people going into a building up ahead. Of course, it's a church. Stupid me! I knew it was Sunday! I'll just hang back a little and let them get in there before I go by. Look at how they smile and greet one another. So what! So what! So what! They profess to be happy because they know Jesus, so what! Man, so what! I'm happy? Well yeah, I'm happy. Sure I'm happy! I like me, don't I? Sure I doooo___!
O.K. Good. They're all gone by... "Hey buddy are you new here?" I heard a man behind me. I stumbled as I turned around. This fella had this grinning happy face. "No, just passing by," I answered dully. "O.K. Well your welcome to come on in. We've got a message about getting your life back together today." "No. No. I'm... just passing." "Well Jesus says it's up to you, but only come when you are ready to know the truth," he reported as he proceeded inside. The music was playing and for some reason my feet didn't want to move beyond the steps next to me. What could it hurt to rest on these steps for a few minutes, I was famished. I was so hungry.
The music played and it seemed soothing. I couldn't go inside in clear conscience. I was filthy! I smelled terrible! I liked the music! I moved closer. The sun felt relaxing. It was quite outside and I could hear what the preacher was saying. He used words that was caressing to my heart. I was intrigued. Oh, NO! I was getting to close! The battle was on! And the demons whacked me up side the head. I longed to hear these words. I longed to tell these demons to go away. If I could just find the strength I could stay and hear the rest of the message but no I had this overwhelming urge to go find some food.
Saturday morning and all I can think of is chasing the girls tonight... Good I've made it to noon and a fellow worker says he's going to the new place six blocks over and asked if I'd like to go with. Why not? It's a change. God knows I could use a change. Him and me - a couple guys livin' in our own worlds. He's a lot like me - alone, except he makes an effort to get to church. He says out of the whole week he gets to spend an hour with some really nice people and he hopes it will rub off. I tell him 'good luck with that', but in my heart I'm looking for more peace and a life where I don't wake up in an alley.
We get to that new place and wouldn't ya know it - they've got a line. As we waited my buddy made note they had some nice looking girls working there. I wasn't interested, I was looking forward to tonight. We get seated and the hostess told us our waitress would be along soon and left us a menu. It smelled like good food. It looked like good food from what I could see on other tables. That makes it hard to make a decision for me. And when the waitress arrived I got a surprise. She was 'that girl' from 'that dinner' and I found it hard to breathe.
She smiled and asked how I was and what had I been doing, like she had no idea how I had quit and left them short handed. I wanted to slide under the seat. I even thought I'd be better off leaving but I was hungry. We ordered. She smiled again and went to get our drinks. I was so glad. I couldn't talk. I had liked her way back then but I wouldn't let myself get to know anything about her. Who was I that she might like me back. It was a lost cause, or at least that's how I felt.
She delivered our drinks and left quickly. I was intrigued. I watched her. She was smooth, light on her feet, always smiling. I knew she was a nice person, but I had never met anyone that seemed to have it so together and charming or even disarming as she moved through the tables. As if she was born for this job. My buddy was watching me watching her and finally he says "hey man, you got a thing for her?" "No man you know better than that. What girl would want to be with a guy like me - like us - you know what I mean?" So we left it at that.
Later he said, "You know man a girl like that isn't easy to fool, or fool around with. She'll get under your skin. You won't want to do anything but please her. Ya know I could be wrong here, but if she rings your bell maybe you should eat here more often and get to know her a little at a time. Then that wolf you keep telling me about might find it's way to someone else and you could have some peace in your life. You know what the Christians say, 'it's all about your choice.'"
"Awe man you know a girl like that and a guy like me don't belong together," I answered but he was right. I had seen something in her eyes that I hadn't seen in any other girl I've known. I was to say the least, intrigued. I came here in a hurry to go out tonight and find someone new, secretly knowing I'd have a rerun of last weekend.... She delivered our orders and gave me that smile and I was speechless, again. I made note, I was uncomfortable around her (but in a good way).
Saturday night came. I went out like always. I drank. I tried to drink more. I tried to make conversation with a new girl. Like I said, I tried to.... Why couldn't I think of the matters at hand? I kept seeing myself waking up in that alley. And remembering that smell and how much worse it was on rainy mornings. Then I drifted to thoughts of that waitress, the good Christian girl. I knew my heart was not right being here in this bar looking for someone to, at best, have a one night stand with, and at least wake up in the alley, again. I couldn't take it. I drank the last swallow of beer and left. I thought as I left, 'who here will miss me?' I didn't really get to know anyone very well, what a waste, and I'd spent nearly ever Saturday night there.
When Monday came I was looking forward to lunch. I told my buddy-coworker I really wanted to lunch at the 'new place.' He got that grin that said 'ah... ha...' He said, "I'll think about it man, after all you're just along for the ride" (he, he). I should have know he'd needle me... a little. "Yeah, what ever," I answered through a smile. He could tell I had finally changed, like maybe there's 'Hope' after all. Maybe that waitress held an answer to why I've been so lost and walking around in a fog.
We got to the restaurant and the light started shinning. A light like nothing I'd ever known. I could feel my heart aching. I had a longing I couldn't put my finger on. It wasn't about the waitress. It wasn't about sex which surprised me. I felt a weakness, I was glad to set down. The hostess said that Ruth would be right with us. My buddy said he was going to try something different as he looked at the menu. I saw him though, peeking around the menu as if to catch me looking at Ruth. I wasn't. I found myself wanting to know what church she went to.
Ruth came to take our orders and I blurted, "what church did you say you went to?" She got this ear to ear grin and took out a piece of scratch paper and wrote the address down and gave it to me. Ruth took our orders and brought our drinks and I asked if they still had their weekly dinners. Ruth said they did, and invited me to come back again if I was interested in knowing Christ Jesus. I could not help myself, I her told I would most certainly be there. I said I've seen the peace in the Christians and I wanted to find that in myself.
I went to the dinner on Thursday night and I brought that bible that had been given to me the year before. These people were still smiling and laughing and welcomed me like I was a decent guy. It was different this time. Something in me had changed. I wasn't fighting being there. The war that came with me before wasn't even a battle, and after dinner they started their bible study.
They prayed. And they started in the gospel of John 1:1;
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2- The same was in the beginning with God. 3- All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4- In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5- And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
And as the night proceeded I began to hear the words that Jesus hung on a cross made of wood, naked, after being beaten upon His back until He could barely stand, with nails in His hands and feet. So that He could give me the opportunity to chose to believe in Him. To believe that He and He alone became sin that I could have a place in Heaven, in everlasting life. Not only me, but all of the people that believe in the power of the name of Christ Jesus.
As Earl took me back to my place I had to ask if he'd drive buy his church if it wasn't too far out of the way. He did, and when we got there I got weak again. It was the same church I had sat on the steps listening to the sermon so lost and alone and at war inside my head. I now know that I had been led there. I mentioned it to Earl and he told me that the Holy Ghost does things like that a lot. He is always trying to get the lost back to the flock. And when each one of us starts feeling that tug on our hearts, God starts giving us the strength to stand up like He intended we would when we were born.
I went to church and sat next to Ruth. I was transformed into a new life. I found the source of peace - the everlasting water of life. Ruth and I dated for a few months as we studied God's word together. She is my best friend here on earth and we have been married nine months. We had a son, Joseph, yesterday. We will make sure he has a good foundation in God, and I will do my best to teach him to be a good leader, as Jesus leads me.
That old wolf doesn't cry anymore.
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