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The Visitor--an inspirational short story series

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"...Choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices...Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable."
For The Strength of Youth

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    Ch. 44 The Wisdom of the Wise
Submitted by Steven ODell on 2 March 2010 - 1:27am. | | | | |

One Thing More
Steven G. O'Dell (C)2010

Sometimes what we most want is not what we most need, or what God would have us receive.

Charles Moreland had everything a man could ever want. At least everything most men could ever imagine they could want. All but one thing, that is -- a way out.

Charles had a great career in movies. He had appeared in many, directed many and written many of them. It seemed as if everything he touched turned to gold, but still he was not happy. A lifetime of chasing 'things' could not purchase the joy he wished. Fulfillment was not in material goods, nor in mortal accomplishments. Perhaps this was the hardest lesson of all. And now, with that realization that there was nowhere else to go, no further upward path in life, Charles wanted it all to end. He wanted the pain, the torture, the sense of failure to end.

Failure. Strange, how the perspective can change so much when the viewpoint is moved. Most other men would consider such feats of accomplishment to be the dream of a lifetime. They had been for Charles, as well, at one time. Now, it seemed there was nothing left for him.

The pawn shop was small and in a neighborhood he didn't frequent. It had seemed so easy. Just walk in, look over the guns they had in the case and order one. He'd forgotten there was a waiting period. And he hadn't counted on the owner recognizing him.

'Oh, Mr. Moreland! What a surprise! I feel so honored to have you in my shop.' That was how it had gone, from the moment he'd entered. He could see the headlines and the article already -- C. Moreland dead with pawnshop pistol. And the owner would be all too willing to gain his moment of fame as a result of telling his story. Still, who cares when you are not long for the world anyway, right?

The next few days were spent in waiting for his clearance to get the the pistol and in writing out his reasons, his tortures and explanations for his decision on paper. He wrote out his regrets and his wishes. He mentioned his will, leaving all to a local charity, since there was no family to leave it to. That was his greatest regret. Charles couldn't help but wonder if his life would have had more meaning if he had allowed one of those interested ladies into his life for even a short time. His ambition had prevented such from taking place. And now his present state of mind and attitude prevented such from taking place again.

Having finished his writing over the last few days, Charles had placed the papers into an envelope and labeled it "To Whom It May Concern" and left it standing prominently against a vase on a table just inside the front door. With that, he pulled the door closed and walked calmly to his car and returned to the dingy little neighborhood where he had ordered the pistol in the pawn shop.

Again, the owner put on his brightest face for Charles and this time Charles put on his best actors' smile and pretended to be interested in all the man had to say. The truth was he wanted nothing more than to leave and make this his final exit -- stage left.

As he turned to leave, gun in hand, the owner called after him, 'It's a pleasure to see you again. Please come back soon, Mr. Moreland.'

Charles waved, but thought to himself as he turned toward the door, 'Who would care if I don't?'

As he thought this, he raised his eyes to look through the door, the handle of which he was about to touch. What he saw made him stop dead in his tracks. The door was one of those quaint, old-fashioned ones with a cut glass, beveled edge window. And beyond the window, across the street, was a sign. Part of it was distorted and deflected by the beveled edge of the window. What he saw was the answer to the question he had just asked -- 'Who would care if I don't?' The answer was in bold letters -- 'Godwill.'

How was this possible, Charles thought. As he leaned slightly to the side, the mystery was solved. The sign across the street read simply, Goodwill, but that did nothing to change the impact of that first message. It was a real as if the words had been there all along.

Charles reflected on how he had missed that sign the first time he had been there. He reflected on how he had only seen it as he was about to open the door to take that last step toward ending his life. And now he was surprised to find his knees weakening and beginning to shake and his chest heaving in great sobs. Tears flowed copiously from his eyes, involuntarily. He suddenly recalled how he had felt this same feeling as a young man while sitting in a church meeting or two as he listened to a particularly gifted preacher. Now he thought that perhaps it wasn't the gifted preacher so much as the gift of God to the preacher -- and the gift of the Spirit prompting Charles Moreland. Except he had forgotten that message for so many years. Or perhaps he had trivialized the message when he had first felt it. Now, when he needed it most, God brought it back to his memory, in a powerful and unmistakable way.

Charles ignored the questions of the owner as to his sudden state of upset and pushed the door open, stepping out into a different day than when he had entered the shop a scant few moments before. Somehow the world seemed brighter, more promising than it had just minutes ago. Charles was not the same man he had been either. He thought the sun shone brighter than ever before. The air seemed fresher than he could recall it being before. And there was a presence with him that he could not explain, but he felt nonetheless. It lifted his spirit and he had real hope for the first time since he could remember.

Charles passed his parked car and walked a few blocks to a canal that cut through the city. He stopped on the bridge and looked upward into the sky and smiled a real, genuine smile for the first time in years. He said a silent prayer of thanksgiving and then gently dropped the package holding the pistol into the water. As it sank out of sight and washed away, he closed his eyes and vowed that he would be a new man from then on. And he kept his promise.

Only a few months had passed and Charles Moreland was engaged to be married. The woman he was to marry was dedicated to God and had lived her entire life that way. She knew the reality of His existence and the power of His influence. Charles, too, now knew that reality and he was ready to let someone else into his life and to share it together.

He had wanted only one thing more in his life; he had wanted to end it, but God loved him too much to see that happen just yet. Instead, the one thing more Charles got in his life was a relationship with God. From there, blessing after blessing would be the order of the day, because everything God touched turned to gold, including Charles Moreland.

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