“A Moments Wrest”, Chapter 10: Where Did It All Go Wrong
10 Where Did It All Go Wrong
Gregg Barrat looked at his son laying in the hospital bed. His mind was swirling from conflicting thoughts and emotions. He knew there was no single reason why something like this happens, nor why the average person is kept from tragedy. But his emotions were not soothed by such logical conclusions. His feelings were a cocktail of fear, helplessness, and betrayal.
He lived his life in a conscientious way, honouring the principles of his upbringing and faith for his entire life. Gregg managed to avoid the wayward years that often accompany youth. No, he stuck with his beliefs and found them to be an anchor during many difficult life and business choices. As a result, the decision had long been made for him in many cases.
This is not to suggest they were easy decisions to act on, or communicate to others directly impacted. Whatever criticism he endured in those moments, he figured his principled approach saved him from far worse situations.
But there was a nagging thought he could not shake. Gregg had come to believe that his steadfastness with God would keep him safe from calamity.
The dark side of this belief confronted him when his son abandoned the faith. Gregg’s initial fear was Oren was now up for grabs by the dark forces in the spiritual realm.
Gregg could only hope his own longtime faithfulness to God earned some sort of privilege? Certainly an entire life of devotion was worth more than a momentary crisis of faith!
Despite the pendulum swing of these thoughts, the reality laying in this hospital bed could not escape him. It would have been so easy for God to prevent this accident. Either a minute sooner or later would have avoided the entire ugly scene. The two vehicles might never have met along that road. Why did this happen?! For one of the first times in his life, Gregg Barrat had no satisfactory answer.
If he had been a little more honest, Gregg would have realized he was profoundly disappointed and angry at God for allowing this accident to happen. His heart had given up listening to all of the statistical and theological arguments his brain offered for why bad things happen to random people. His heart knew too well when it comes to faith, things are not random. And he felt let down.
But he did not allow himself to be truly honest. He kept beholden to an idea that God was above scrutiny. That God was sovereign and knew best. But deeper, somewhere behind the struggle, he was not convinced. He was also afraid any accusation on his part might turn God’s face against him, or worse, his son. That if he voiced a sliver of doubt, Oren might be disqualified and doomed to stay in this state.
Although this was a subconscious worry, Gregg could never take the chance.
“Excuse me?”, Oren asked, shaken that the man sitting in front of the fire acknowledged him so intently. “I’m sorry, I think you might be expecting someone else. I’m kind of wandering through the woods here, and I noticed the smoke. I thought I would check it out to make sure it wasn’t the start of a forest fire.”
“No”, the man replied immediately, “I am not expecting anyone else”. He still did not turn around. And he did not offer any more information. Oren paused for a moment before responding.
“I, I don’t understand. Do we know one another?”, Oren had kept a safe distance.
“We did once”, the man answered. “But that was quite a while ago”.
Only then did he turn towards Oren and looked at him. He seemed about Oren’s age, although he still had a boyish way about him. He had short but cropped sandy blond hair, kind of messed up in the way a preteen kid might have after playing all day.
He had a kind face, although there were mature years etched into it. There was a slight mischievous edge to his smile but it did not cause Oren any concern. He did seem familiar, but not recently. Where do I know this guy?
“Are you going to stand there all day, or are you going to sit down and have some breakfast?”, the man questioned. His face was still towards Oren, eyes locked onto his. There was something about him.
Even with age layered over it, he recognized him from somewhere. His mind searched back to his early years, scrolling through memories from his public school, playing league baseball, the years spent at summer camp. Nothing clicked. But he was missing something! There was another significant part of his growing up that no longer connects. What was it? It dawned on him.
There had been a group of about five boys all within a year in age that hung together like a pack of wolves at the church his family attended. They had a ton of fun and often got into trouble sneaking into out-of-bound areas in the building. No surprise, one of them was the pastor’s son. He knew where the extra set of master keys were kept. That little secret provided endless entertainment.
One memorable Sunday morning, the little rascals found a way into the baptismal tank just before the service started. The Sunday school teacher was in a panic when the “favourite five” failed to show up for attendance after the congregational singing ended and the children were released for their class.
The mystery was solved during the introduction of the pastor’s message when one of the boys let some gas go against the wall of the empty steel tank. The acoustics were delightfully unexpected. The entire sanctuary fell silent, with the exception of canned echoes of ecstatic laughter.
Yes, this man had to be one of those boys.
“Was it Crossway Church?”, Oren asked, hoping he got it right.
“Bingo”, replied the man.
…continued with Chapter 11
Man Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Sam Catanzaro via Compfight cc Shadow Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Wim Bollein via Compfight cc Original Cover Photo Credit unknown