I’m sixty years old, and I should have died a long time ago. But I’ve survived, miraculously enough. I have that on the direct authority of the Almighty himself. Yep, I know, I’m a crackpot. You should find something better to read. OK, Go ahead. Put this down and go. Don’t waste your time with a crackpot like me.
There was a day in the summer of 1983 where God, Himself, offered to take my life away from me, if all I did was take one more swig off a half a bottle of beer, right where I sat, out in the woods on the state hospital grounds. That beer was getting warmer by the minute, too. My whole existence came down to that one act. I could take one more swig and die. That was an attractive offer to a man of thirty two, who had been clinically suicidal for most of his lifetime. I didn’t even know why I’d been chronically suicidal all my life. I’m not just whistling Dixie here. Go ahead, don’t believe me. But I could hear the words of God in my heart, and it was a hot, humid day in August, 1983. I was given an easy way out. I could have just given Him the signal and been gone. It was crunch time, that easy. Time for me to make up my mind what I wanted to do. God said He didn’t have to tell me how He was going to take me. He’s God. He does as He pleases. You want to die? You won’t have to hurt your body or anything. I’ll just take you.
So, why didn’t I do it?
Well, I’d had a little Bible study under my belt, in my lifetime, and I’ve heard of a few things, like being destroyed by God. I’ve heard about the idea that Hell is the absence of God. I’ve lived in isolation chambers by the day after day, of no one and nothing to distract me from the absence of my sanity, day after day after day. I’ve been in an isolation chamber a lot in my life. I’ve been in captivity a lot of my life. I wanted relief. I was tormented. I’ve been in state hospitals since I was twenty. At this time, I was thirty two. I was still in a state hospital, with two doctors’ certificates against my sanity keeping me there. I’d worked long and hard to get and keep ground parole, going to meetings of the Program on grounds, listening to people talk about God and sobriety. I was only behaving true to character. I was partying out in the woods on a hot, humid August afternoon, drinking beer. I’d asked God just the night before, to help me with my drinking. He was helping me, alright.
God’s not stupid.
He knew I wanted an easy way to die, so He offered me one. Just have another swig. But I had this silly idea in my mind that I want to go to God when I die. I’d wanted that one thing more than any other thing, ever since I was a kid. But I never had any idea how to get there. Oh sure, I’d heard John 3:16 till I was blue in the face. I believed it. But I was always miserable. I had chronic schizophrenia, and chronic alcoholism, and so on. Now, God was talking to me, when I was drunk, and I was meditating on the idea that He just gave me, wanting Him to talk to me some more about this deal, before I went ahead and died. He wouldn’t do it. I asked Him where He was going to put me. Was I going to Heaven or not. He wouldn’t say. My heart got real quiet. I did not like that silence. That silence scared me. So I tried another tack. What if I never take that next swig?
He answered that one. He said, “Well now, that do present mind boggling possibilities.” Just like Clint Eastwood. He talked to me like that for what seemed like a long time, when I was out in those woods. I didn’t take a swig the whole time He was talking, either, because I realized it was the signal that I wanted to die, if I were to drink the stuff. That would settle the issue, once and for all. Somehow, I wasn’t thirsty. What I suspected was that if I’d taken that last swig, I’d been destroyed, taken out of life, out of God’s presence, the whole way out; the great isolation chamber in Hell, forever. That’s the thought I had out there in those woods. I put half a beer down in that woods, the drunk that I was, and walked away from it toward the edge of those woods. But that wasn’t the end of the battle. There was the guy who bought the beer, who got hold of my arm, when I tried to walk away.
“Finish your beer, man.”
I just looked at him. Praying with all my heart, from the deepest parts of my being, ‘If there’s a God in Heaven, get this man to let go of my arm,’ I prayed earnestly. I’ve never been able to imagine the look on my face when my heart uttered that prayer inside myself. But the battle had just begun. I made it out into the hot, scorching sun, and thought I should go back and apologize, for breaking up the party, but I realized God was still around. So, I asked Him if I should do it. He said, “No!” I headed out toward the edge of the woods, to go back to my ward. It was suppertime, and I was so drunk I was dizzy. ‘It’s now or never, George.’ My heart heard that thought.
Out loud, I said, “Well, it’s now, then.”
But the battle for my sobriety was still not over. The next day a guy came up to me and offered to smoke some reefer with me. I said, “Sure, man.” We headed for the woods down by our ward, and the staff saw us going from out the window. Ole Sam hopped in his Mustang, and hopped right on us. We never got to blaze up at all. On the way home in Sam’s car, I realized I almost bought the farm again. I decided to be more careful in the future. I couldn’t go around partying anymore. God’s not going to put up with it, from the likes of me. The gig is up. It’s over. Only the straight life for me anymore. I stayed sober. Eventually they let me out of the state hospital. They sent me to a halfway house.
If that had been your experience in life, wouldn’t you want others to know about it?
What can I tell you now? Have you read my other stories? I reckon there’s quite a lot of them, at a count of fifteen or twenty of them on http://scribd.com/, by now, just sitting there being devoured, free of charge, by all and sundry, all over the place.