It was a dark time in my life one of those times where everything you try to do never seems to work out. A time where wrong decisions cost you jobs and friends. It seemed as if this dark time had been going on for almost eight years, though who was really counting. It was at this time I was to face what all men face, the price that all men pay, except one difference I was going to learn it was not my time to face it.
I sat upon my bed in the shallowly lit room I had rented along side a home in Haiku Hawaii. I was thinking, remembering and mentally chewing over my life of thirty three years. Has it been all worth the living, I thought. Have I really come to this point where I must choose or could there be any last hope for my miserable existence. As I thought on this, memories of times of my life came into the forefront of my mind. Beckoning to relive from earliest years, the pain I have been through for such a long time.
I remember the train station on that partially clouding day in 1961, I couldn’t have been more than two years of age. The ceiling lamps had made their impression, I remember them as green and white inverted umbrella’s hanging from the ceiling, perspectively getting smaller as I looked down along the waiting platform. I can’t remember if the station was full, I don’t remember if any family had come to see us off. I seem to remember wearing a small fedora and a little suit coat, my sister in her frilly white dress and my baby brother in a stroller awaiting the train to Los Angeles.
But memories like these are always so dreary and bleak but it will be one memory I will not forget. Maybe it was because I would not see my dad again for many years, maybe it was because it was the first major geographic change in my life. But what ever the reason, and whether it is now a fully accurate memory, it has remained with me my entire life. Very few memories remained as this one, and as of them all they were caused by some traumatic event that had befell me in my life.
As time progressed without concern for any, the roadway of life continues to be one of sunshine and darkness. Not one of us has had a life that does not have the ups and downs, these things plague all men, of all races, of all times. My life was no different except I faced each day as a dreamer, imagining being in another place or time but never pushing forward any set goals or achievement. By the time I graduated high school I had no set plan for life, I had no purpose for which I lived except for personal joy via the normal escapes of alcohol and drugs, a clear product of a 70’s teenage education.
I lived my dream world, not staying at any one job long enough to get bored, if I did I still never lasted more than 6 months. I liked change, I was born into a life of changing scenery where when you got tired of something leave it behind and move on to something else, never caring how it affected others, as long as I was happy and high I thought. why care.
A few years living amongst an adult world began to harden me but at the same time sent me on a journey looking for a purpose in life, and seeing that there was nothing in this world worth pursuing I thought some esoteric search from Hindu, Buddhist or one of the many New Age spiritual guru’s of the day. Maybe they could provide me with some knowledge or wisdom that I sought to help fill the answers of an empty life. It was during that time I began the longing for a companion, a complement or a person by which I could show my love for. As this was the essence of what I was gleaning from these teachers that I had so eagerly sought.
I was around 20 when I met her, a beauty that made many of my friends jealous. She was independent yet bubbly and a joy to be around. It took some wooing but I was able to garner her love and I in turn fell deeply in love with her. But when your life is one of self enjoyment finding pleasure in the things this world has to offer, it will strain even the most deepest of relationships. And as such she left me broken, and the result was as if I had been severed by a knife so sharp yet with the pain of one so dull. The rip in my heart would never heal, the pain I carried for many years and if I dreg it up I can still feel it, as if it had just happened.
Again the struggle of my life seemed insurmountable I was not sure what to do. Should I stay and see her from time to time, this I dreaded more than life itself. To see her at a store or a home of a mutual friend made living in that town a misery far more painful than the first day she left. I had to do something and changing locations seemed to be the only answer at the time. Would it be worse not to see her at all or to occasionally cross paths? I chose the hardest, the separation, I would never look upon her again. But where, when, how? These plagued my decision a process, many a man and woman will face in any and many a decisions in their life but for me I knew not what to do, I was lost.
Then one day an opportunity came, a job offer in another state, a beautiful state one I had never been to, Hawaii. I sold everything I had and took very few things with me. I boarded that plane and never looked back. And it would be more than seven years later I would even set foot in that town again. But life in this new place still did not fair well. My drug habits and alcohol use soon caused me to once again ruin another relationship, another job, another chance. And there I stood on the street in Maui, paradise as called by many, for me it was far from any Shangra-la.
Instinct for survival pushes a man to do what he must to survive, and so I pushed hard the troubles and cares from my mind and just walked, thinking what I can do? “I have experiences in restaurant work why not go and see if anyone is hiring a dishwasher at least I could get a free meal and some quick cash” I thought. And the first restaurant I hit hired me on the spot. Not two hours later, they realized they had someone with experience on their hands and another job was offered me at one of their other restaurants in a hotel not one mile away. Life seemed to look good again fresh scenery a chance to show what I know. But still I wanted change I seemed drawn to it, as if change was all that mattered.
I ended up sue-chef in one of their sports bars a year later and within 6 months, I had out of a fit of anger punched out the manager for gossiping about me. Imagine, I had it made I could go on to higher places and move up but yet my nature would always cause me to move along, like the wind making a circuit not knowing where it comes or where it goes, just that it moves. One move after another, my life has been like a chess game, but not only did I not know the rules of this game I was unprepared to play the game of life and I was losing. Every move I took it always seemed to be the wrong one.
There I sat in that shallowly lit room these memories were about me, and it tired me even to carry them around any longer. What more can one do, what more is there in life, what do I have to prove any more? Nothing. So I loaded that National Match Model Colt 1911, six in the clip and one in the barrel just to make it easy and I began to talk myself into this final move, this final change of scenery, to take the step that would lead me to peace. All I had to do was pick it up and put it in my mouth and BAM!!! It would all be over. This life that had been what seemed one bad change after another, a life that was full of hurt, distrust and anger would finally end and I could have some peace. As I reached down and picked up that polished metal pistol, the answer of my peace lay in its bowels and all I had to do was release it and be free.
Finally I had the courage up, I reached down picked up the gun and from that moment I was set to pull that trigger. As I brought up the gun to place it in my mouth as clear as any of my conscience voice has ever been or was I hearing something external, but I heard it, a voice and it said, “pick up the Bible”. I stopped and for what seemed like a few minutes I asked, “where did that come from?” I was confused, I was startled and I was halted in my purpose, there was no forward and no backward motion, I just sat there with the gun in my hand, raised between the floor and my mouth simply wondering. It was as I were suspended between time and eternity, floating in thought, a dream world. Then as quickly as that had happened I said to myself, “if there be something in the Bible maybe this is wrong”.
I put the gun down and began to frantically look for my Bible. But to my great amazement it was not there. I could find a dozen books on new age, some on meditation but I couldn’t find the Bible. After a few hours of searching I finally gave up my search and sat thinking, “where could I get a Bible?” The one thing that at this moment I knew held the answer for me.
Then an answer came, that youth missions place in Paia, they will have a Bible. I looked up and it was nearing two in the morning so I hit the sack thinking to get up and go there first thing in the morning. I had to find out what was in that Bible, I had to know of all things why that I heard “pick up the Bible”. I went to bed so I could get up early to head into Paia.
I awoke at 6am, time seemed to pass quickly as I got dressed and walked two miles to the highway where I waited. It was a cool Maui morning as I waited and it wasn’t long before a blue Chevy station wagon slowed down and pulled up in front of me. I opened the door and the driver asked where I was headed. I told him I was heading into Paia and he agreed to give me ride. Not far down the road he asked my name and introduced himself as Ron Peers. I shook his hand and returned to staring out the window my mind just going over last nights events.
Suddenly Ron broke the silence and asked if he could ask me a question. Being polite and said, “sure.” He said, “Do you know Jesus?”
I just sat there, shocked, in unbelief and at that moment I was not sure how to answer. I surely wasn’t going to tell a complete stranger, that I that the night had a gun in my hand ready to take my life. So I responded with the truth. I said, “That is funny, I was just heading into Paia to that youth Missions place to see if they could give me a Bible.”
Ron answered and told me that they would not be there on Sunday’s because they go to different churches and he said some of them go to his church. Then he invited me to his church as he was heading there to set up because he was part of the worship team. He even said they would give me a Bible. So I agreed. As we neared Paia Ron turned onto an old road leading up through the pineapple fields to the Old Maui High School gym where they held their Sunday Services.
After we arrived I went in and met a few other people and as I waited more and more people came in. As they arrived each introduced themselves to me and were very nice despite the fact I was high and probably not smelling to good. They showed the Love of Christ that was for sure. Soon all the chairs were set up and the band finished their sound check and were praying in a huddle. People continued to file in and take up the seats and I sat over on one side and after the singing the preacher got up and taught something out of Matthew. I don’t remember the message but the conclusion was a thought catcher. He said, “If you were to die today where would you go Heaven or Hell?” Well you could imagine what was going on in my mind. I sat there thinking wow last night I had a gun in my hand ready to die and I never thought about where I would go.
Then he spoke about Jesus and how he bore the penalty of my sin upon the cross and suffered God’s wrath there in my place. And then that he also died the death that was my death and was buried and went into hell where I was supposed to go because I was a sinner. The good news was he rose again on the third day to give me everlasting life if I would just believe on the work he did for me on the cross. He then asked who would like to receive Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour and my hand shot up as if it had a mind of its own.
There in that old high school gym on March 14th 1993, I believed on the cross of Jesus Christ. That day started for me a new life, a life that would prove to be just as a difficult and full of troubles and blessings but one thing was different, I had Jesus there to walk with me and to guide me and to teach me his word. That wonderfully beautiful sunny morning will forever stick in my memory to contrasted the darkness I had, and it revealed the truth of God’s love for me and ultimately for you as well.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph 2:10