Tales of Men is a blog series showcasing short stories, prompts, and other writings.
The Sabbatical, Part I
“What does God let happen, and what goes on happening without His involvement? I know what I’d like to do here. I know that I will try. I wonder if He will involve Himself? I begin to walk up the drive, in the dark. A shadow creeping through the darkness, traveling unnoticed. An old man working his way through the night, traveling unremembered.”
It’s a perfect night for wandering. I’ll wander tonight, and see where I’m drawn. I see a house at the end of the road, with curtains drawn. I think I’ll go there.
The walk won’t be long. I’ve found it increasingly challenging to complete my regular route anymore. Everything has become more complicated since the incident. They’re all looking at me differently – I look at them differently.
My sister drove up from South Carolina a few days ago. She left earlier today and left behind a walking stick. She propped it up against the television, knowing I could not ignore it. There was a note attached to it. It read simply, “It’ll help! I love you.”
I condemned the need for a cane when we spoke about it earlier in the week. She mentioned it soon after retrieving my belongings from my now vacated church office.
“You don’t look yourself”, she said.
“I feel exactly the same”, I replied.
She rested her hand on my shoulder and shared an assuring expression, “Trust the Lord, like you’ve always done. Ya know, you’ll realize you’re better than ya think.”
It was too difficult to sympathize with her warm gestures of safekeeping. The desire for confession raced through my veins in anticipation. I could not tell her the truth. How could I? How could I describe to anyone that I’ve grown to dislike them? How could I explain such a thing? I cannot continue advocating for the supreme and merciful love of Christ when I myself have lost all connection on a human level. I needed to escape my own reality to identify the problem within me. Perhaps it was getting old and how much I despised it. Perhaps it was living alone, with no immediate family. Perhaps it was the regret of a life lived too comfortably and oblivious. Perhaps…the truth is that I have lost all capacity to express and feel such merciful love, and I do not know why. I could not begin to explain this to the church; they would disown me without question. As a result, I knew I needed to take Sabbatical leave and adjust to these newly discovered thoughts.
On a brighter note, I’m using the cane. Finding that it does help even though I do not want to admit it. I can walk a little bit longer than before, and I like that. But, I also like to think that if I wanted to throw it out I could easily fend for myself without its assistance.
As the young man begins to approach the door, I position myself hunched over my walking stick, breathing deeply…nervous. The door opened slightly.
“Are you alright, sir?” The door opened wider. “I saw the light on. I think I walked too far, I can’t find my home.”
Remember where I was, where I needed to go. I knew exactly where I needed to go from here. “Please, may I have a little water? I must have walked for miles.”
“Of course. You can sit down if you’d like.”
She pointed to a wooden chair near the door. “I’d like to stand for now.” I didn’t want to sit.
I was handed a glass of water by the young gentleman. Our hands touched. He would never think these hands would soon hurt him.