It’s the time of night Rebecca King loves. At 24 she is the youngest resident at Heaven’s Haven, even with her disabilities that require her to have help for day-to-day living, she finds herself awake often in the hours most residents are asleep. She is in bed though strangely worn out, as if all her physical energy was drained out of her. The bedside lamp provides a soft warm light in the draped darkness. Her Bible open on her lap, her notes on the bedside tray, her head laid back and her heart and mind focused on praying.
The visit from her father nearly a month ago has increased her prayers for him. Sam King was still fighting God, still trapped by booze, bad memories and bad decisions. But for the first time Rebecca considered the type of offering she’d asked to be before God to help show her father the way to his personal savior, to Jesus.
In her mind she was asking to be poured out, for God to use all of her to show her father how much he needed God. She’d envisioned herself a clay water pitcher God poured out, emptied, even allowed destroyed.
The Biblical definition was far different, connected to the fellowship offering it was a drink offering of gratitude as best she could understand. Rebecca wondered if she was learning this too late, but she clung to her to original image.
“Pour me out Lord God! Empty me…reduce me to dust beneath Your feet! I am Yours to command, to use as You will. My father is a bitter, hard-shelled man who cannot love others because he cannot love himself. Show him Your love. O Father I plea with You the Almighty for my daddy’s soul. You know him Lord! You knit him together in his mother’s womb, You set his days on earth, he is one of Your sons and I know You are waiting to welcome Him into Your fold. Someone, You have given Someone the divine appointment of pointing Daddy to You. Someone has the words, the life, the example Daddy needs. Your Word is ready for him to receive, please ready Daddy’s heart. Amen.”
Across town the halfway house where Sam now resided had rules. He didn’t like them but until his parole was over he had to play by the state’s rules which included graduating from the program here. So, since Sam was smart enough to know being here beat prison he played nice.
Curfew was 10:00, unless you worked second or third shift at the fire extinguisher manufacturer. Sam did not. He worked for a landscaper and as exhausting as the work was, Sam often found sleep hard to fall into.
Tomorrow was Saturday and he was off. He planned to sleep as late as he could which meant 8:00 if he wanted to eat before he cut the grass here which was one of his “house chores”.
But images of Becca floated through his mind. Ethan, who had found him in the gazebo when he’d first seen Becca where he’d nearly crawled being unable to outrun himself anymore, had kept his word to Sam. He had driven him to check in with his parole officer then to the halfway house. Now he called Sam regularly but without telling Rebecca because neither man wanted her to know. Sam didn’t want her thinking she got to him. Ethan not wanting to crush her hopes.
Sam turned over. The Bible Ethan had given him lay open. He realized a lot of things. He wanted to turn his mind off. He was none to happy with the realizations. Sam was sick of thinking. What was Becca was doing when she made that offer to God?
No one offered to be on the line like that for someone like him and Sam knew it. No matter how many times Ethan explained it to Sam he couldn’t except it. No matter how many verses in that Bible Sam read it never made sense.
But he willed himself to shut his mind off. He needed some sleep and if he was still awake when his roommate Carson got in from work he’d never get to sleep for the snoring.
The phone ringing woke Ethan at 4:11 in the morning. Instantly awake he answered before the first ring completed. By 4:17 he was backing out of his driveway. Heaven’s Haven was a 12 minute drive from his house, he made it in 5 and just as the ambulance pulled up.
Before the paramedics were out of their doors Ethan was running down the hallway to Rebecca’s room. It seemed as if time slowed as Ethan tried to reach the bed where Rebecca lay while the staff fought to keep her breathing. He didn’t want to know what happened, he just wanted to be close to her.
The paramedics were right behind him and Ethan was shoved aside as the doctor, nurses and the paramedics jostled for room to get to Rebecca.
As a doctor Ethan understood what they were saying. Part of him grasped the physical reasons Rebecca was dying. Another part, the part who was just a man in love with her fought the truth. How could she die? He hadn’t managed to get her to agree to marry him yet.
Ethan stood there, head back, eyes closed praying hard. But the medical reasoning would reveal a massive blood clot had gotten to Rebecca’s heart and stopped her heart.
No one from his family would speak to Sam. His ex-wife and their kids never acknowledging his presence. Only Ethan made any attempt to reach out to Rebecca’s father. Long after the services and the grave had been covered Sam returned to his daughter’s graveside.
He sat down heavily, tears streaming down his face, and in his hands he held a bottle of whiskey. He stared at it, wishing it could speak, wishing it held answers.
Ethan’s voice was hoarse with his own tears. “Sam? Sam, how are you holding up?”
“What was it she asked Him? To pour her out? To pour her out to reach me?”
“I sure don’t git it. She was a hell of a lot smarter than to ruin her life fer the likes of me. I sure ain’t worth it. No, I sure as hell ain’t.” Sam said through thick veils of tears and years of pain.
At one point Ethan would have agreed but he understood better now. “She loved you Sam.”
“Loved me? Why? I am a rotten no good drunk who never done nothin but hurt her. Hit her and her Mama and the other youngins too. Good god I stomped on her whiles she was a tellin me about God! What kind of man deserves what she offered?
“The same one Jesus died for.” Ethan whispered.
Samuel King twisted the cap off the bottle of cheap rot-gut whiskey and brought it up to his mouth. Then slowly he turned it, lowered his arm and poured it out.