The Path Of My Salvation?
I was cold, tired, and hungry, but most of all I needed to take a piss. I had been preaching from door to door all morning long. The day was dragging on.
Fueled by too much coffee, I was in rare form. My sermons at my neighbor's doorsteps grew increasingly urgent as my bladder expanded. Oh, the urgency of God's message!
I had one house left on my assigned side of the street, and no Watchtowers left in my bag. I ran back to the car to restock. Dammit...I had to break out an issue I hadn't even read myself...no matter...they all basically said the same thing: Believe what we believe or you are fucked. I scanned the table of contents and the subheadings looking for something even mildly interesting to talk about. My best book reports in school had been about books I had never read, so I decided to just wing it. Hedges passed through my peripheral vision as I paged through the magazine, turning down the path to the next door, stepping onto...nothing.
The thing that car crashes, strange sex and other unusual moments in life have in common is that they burn themselves into your mind even as they happen -- they heighten your senses to the point of seeing things in slow motion. Disasters never happen quickly. There was yellow tape. There was dirt. There was a place that a walkway should have been. There was a ditch.
Cold reality came in the form of rank muddy water. As my arms and legs flailed for terra firma, my bladder realized that the game had changed in an instant -- why not just let go? Watchtowers and candy wrappers flew from my bag like doves to the heavens as I was baptized in mud and my own urine. Jesus had the river Jordan for his baptism, I had a ditch on an unremarkable corner of Gordon road.
My God, my God, why have you foresaken me?
Getting into the pit had been effortless, but getting out proved to be much more of a challenge. Again and again I found myself sliding back into the mire as the contents of my bag fluttered back down to the earth like ticker tape. It seemed that God himself was laughing at me, but as I looked up, it was the Bell telephone lineman, perched above. He was doubled over in laughter.
"Are you OK?" the lineman asked, once he could breathe again. "Nothing personal," he said, "but I have always wanted to see something like that happen to one of Jehovah's Witnesses."
"Yeah," I said, "this kind of thing seems to happen to me all the time." This was not how God was supposed to fulfill the hopes of man.