David’s Tribute

Author’s Note: This was a short story I wrote as I dealt with the grief of losing my father-in-law. It was hard for me as he was a very special man and always made me feel at home even when others did not. He made me laugh. He was his own unique person and embraced it. I lost a parent when I lost him. In this story, I imagine what it was for him when he knew he was dying and God spoke to him. It is a story entirely of dialogue between David and God. I hope you enjoy it.

What? Eh? I don’t understand. What is going on? I feel strange. I can’t talk to anyone. Something is down my throat, and everyone is crying. What is going on? Oh, God! What is happening?

You have been intubated.

What? Who is talking? 

Someone you have been avoiding for many years.

Uh? Move around where I can see you. Are you standing behind the bed?

No, I’m right here.

Who are you?

I think you know. 

No. No. Can’t be. That’s not possible.

You would be surprised what is actually possible.

What is going on? Why are they crying over me? Look at her! We were holding hands last night and talking about going on a trip this winter. Now all I see is sadness in her eyes. I don’t understand.

Your body is shutting down.

Shutting down? What do you mean? How can it shut down? The surgery was fine. I came out of it good. I’ve been eating and talking to others. I’ve been feeling pretty good.

The time has come for you.

No! I’m getting better. I have to. I’ve been following the doctor’s orders exactly as he stated them. Look at my lovely wife. The diet has worked. I thought it was impossible, but I’ve followed it. She has been helping me do that. I couldn’t have done it if she hadn’t have been there for me. I know I got mad when she kept talking about how much I could eat, but my body is doing better.

You were doing better. That is very true, but your body has been damaged too much for earthly medicine to fix.

Well, if you are who I think you are, then fix it. You have the power. Fix me. 

It doesn’t quite work like that. 

What do you mean? Heal me!

Now you call on me. I’ve been waiting in the wings for you to reach out to me. What has changed now?

What? You should know. I can’t speak because of a tube down my throat, and my wife is crying over my bed. You’re telling me my body is dying. Now look at her! The nurse is patting her on the back. Her sobs are louder. What is happening? It doesn’t look good. 

No, it’s not.

Why can’t you heal me? You can do it!

What changed? Why do you now believe I exist?

Wh…Am I talking to myself in my head or are you really God?

I am. You are not crazy or under the influence of medication to where you would have psychological issues. We are talking together right now. 

This can’t be real.

Why not?

I can’t see you. You can’t be real if I can’t see you.

Now can you?

Oh, my! It is you. I mean, you just appeared and walked through my wife to stand here next to me. You’re real!

Now what is different that you would call for me?

I think I’m dying.

Yes, your earthly body is dying. I’ve been trying to tell you this. In fact, it only has hours left.

I am dying. Does…does she know that? Does my wife realize this?

Yes. She is crying because she sees herself losing you for eternity.

What do you mean?

Where were you on Sunday mornings?

What? Where was I? I don’t understand.

Where were you when she got up and went to church?

Well, I stayed home. I cleaned the house for her.

Yes, you used to do that, but what did you do in the last few years?

I cleaned house!

Truth has to be laid out here. You called on me. I came. Now you have to face the truth.

Why? What is so important about the truth? I’m dying. I want to live.

Truth is the heart of life. It has to be faced and accepted in its rawest form in order to proceed with eternal life.

If you’re real, then I don’t have the eternal life you are talking about.

What do you mean?

That’s all she has talked about for years. She has even brought in preachers and other religious fanatics to tell me that I’m going to hell because I haven’t ‘accepted’ you. It’s too late now.

Why would you say that?

I have lived over half a century pushing you away and telling others you don’t exist. How can I have a chance now? Add that to everything I have done, and there is no way you’ll take me after all that. 

That just goes to show how little you have listened to your wife and the others.

What?

Never have I ever turned anyone away who gave their entire heart to me. 

But I denied your very existence. I didn’t just say I didn’t want any part of you. I said you were nothing. Nothing!

And?

What don’t you get? If you’re God, then you know exactly what I’m saying.

Yes, but do you?

Wh… Here is the doctor. What is he saying?….What? Call the family because I might not have but a few hours? What? No! That is not possible.

It is very possible. You have done much to damage your body over the years. It cannot go on any more.

But I quit drinking. I haven’t done drugs in years and years. Okay, I haven’t quit smoking, but I’ve been doing better with my body.

Being good is not always enough. The human body should be treated like a precious gift, like your saxophone and your musical instruments you love so well. I gave you this body to take you on all those trips with your wife. This body carried you across the Bad Lands to see the beauty I created as well as allowing you to carry your own grandchild across a park and enjoy the natural beauty around you. Yet you continued to do damage to it.

I…I didn’t think it would happen to me. I mean, look at the others. See my friends and family who acted the same way? They are fine.

It might appear that way, but there is always more to what you see.

What are they doing to me? No! I didn’t like that.

They were clearing your airways. Fluid is settling in your lungs. Your kidneys and liver have quit working.

Get them started again! You’re God.

You have yet to answer my questions. Why have you called on me?

I don’t know why. I just know I’m scared.

Good. That is a start.

You just put a hand on my wife’s shoulder as she calls her son. Thank you.

It is the least I can do to comfort her. She is my child.

Is that what she was telling me about? You really do comfort?

Yes.

I’m glad she has that. Then why won’t you heal me? That would give her great comfort. If you love her, give her that!

That is not what love is. You should know that. Do you give her everything she wants because you love her?

Yes! I have given her all she has wanted.

Including your soul to me?

I…No, I never gave her that.

Then you refused to give her what she wanted the most. Yet I don’t withhold giving out of selfish desires. 

Why do you not heal me for her then? You love her.

Yes, I love her. But if I give all my children everything they desire, they will lose sight of what is truly valuable. They will forget me as they enjoy all they have. Nothing is worth losing sight of the Truth and appreciating what is worth appreciating.

I…I don’t know what to say. I want her to be happy.

She is and will be.

She’s not happy. See, here is where I have a trouble with you. There are so many contradictions.

You may seem them as contradictions, but they are in reality truths that exceed the depths of mankind.

I knew it. You’re getting all religious on me again.

Religion is made by man. I am.

Why can’t you just be open and honest with me?

I have never been anything but that with you and everyone else in the world.

They why can’t we understand you?

Because you want me to be like you, and that just would not do.

Why not?

Are you able to love someone despite all the depravity they live in? Can you forgive someone during their time of hurting you? Can you watch your temper when your remotes are moved or a glass is left on a table? If I was like you or anyone else, this world would be so chaotic as I reacted to my emotions that were based entirely on selfish desires instead of pure love.

That doesn’t explain why we can’t understand you.

Yes, it does. You look at me with your eyes instead of your heart and soul. You try to make me fit your world and your perception. I cannot be seen like that. 

Why not?

I’m too big for that.

Here they are. No! They are all crying. He is holding his mother close. Tears are in his eyes. His wife stands next to him with two of their children. They are all so worried looking as they look toward me. I don’t want to see them like this. Help me! 

I am trying to.

Then heal me. 

You still don’t get it. I will not heal you here on earth. If you want true healing, you have to face me and accept me. Look at my face.

I am.

Tell me what you see.

I see a brightness that I’ve never seen before. I see scars yet they are soft. They almost appear beautiful.

Each of those scars is from you.

What do you mean? I’ve never hit you.

When you denied me and rejected me, a scar appeared. It hurts. You know how it is to be rejected. It tears at the soul. 

But they look lovely.

Love transforms all hurt into something glorious. Though they were created out of sad rejection, they are beautiful as they reflect the love I feel for you.

You love me?

Yes, I love you. I always have. As you watched in envy as your mother cared for your handicapped brother, I loved you. Don’t you remember me holding you as you cried in your bed? I watched as you struggled in high school and gave into peer pressure. Don’t you remember me when you tried to take that fifth drink and something prevented you from raising it to your lips? That was me. I loved you all along.

What about the abuse?

Everyone is abused in some form or fashion at all stages of your life. You found yours and refused to let me help you through it. Your wife has had abuse. Your son has been abused. Everyone has a form of abuse in their life and they all find help in some way. Your family turned to me. You turned to other means to help you cope. Did they?

No.

When did you start to feel happy?

When I met my wife.

What was it about her that made you feel happy?

She loved me for me. She embraced my weirdness. Never did she expect more from me except when she wanted me to go to church or listen to talks about you. She gave me some peace and made me feel complete.

She reflected my love. That was the only way I could reach you. Through her I was able to show you love.

That was you?

Yes. No human can love so much without me in their hearts. She welcomed me in years ago. Through her, you received love that you never would have found otherwise. She allowed me to fill her and pour out to you.

But what about the things she did wrong and does wrong? She’s not perfect.

Didn’t say she was.

But if she reflected your love, how can she do all that?

Because she isn’t perfect. She has to rely on me, and like most people she struggles with that. Through her actions, you could have seen how I can love someone so imperfect. She is my child despite it all. I forgive her time and time again, and each time she grows a little closer to me.

The others…they have so many faults.

Sort of like you.

What?

There is not one of my children without faults. Even after they accept me, they continue to make mistakes. Some of them can be very large in the eyes of the world. The difference is their reaction to the realization of what they have done.

What do you mean?

When a child of mine is faced with their actions, they repent. They feel bad. Their heart aches for what they have done. They call out to me and try to make things right.

She doesn’t apologize well.

No, but I’m working with her on that.

She…

Is this really about her or about you?

What?

She is the one reaching out to me with her entire being right now. What about you? This moment is all about you.

What about other people you have to deal with?

What about them?

You have more important things to deal with right now instead of me. I don’t deserve it.

You’re right. You don’t, but I love you too much to give you what you deserve. My son, I can be there for anyone at any time. I am not constrained like you are as a human. Think of me as one of your science fiction characters in the movies you watch and the books you read. They can do things that defy science and logic, but you accept them. I can defy your science and your logic as they are a version of the pure science and logic I created at the dawn of time.

It is hard for me to believe you have been there through my life.

Yes, it is. Remember when your car started to fly off the road but somehow straightened up though you didn’t touch the wheel?

Yes.

That was me. What about the time you were angry at your wife and wanted to storm out in a silent rage to go to the bar?

I remember that day. I didn’t go. My granddaughter walked in. She wanted to spend time with me.

Yes, that was me. I was there with her. 

You were there. I think I remember you now.

Yes, I was always there. I was there when you married your wife and took on a teenage son. I helped you form a relationship with him that has become a deep friendship. I was there when you held each of your grandchildren in your arms for the first time. When you looked into their eyes, I reached out to you.

Oh, no! You were real! You were there! I remember now. I can see you each time in my memory. But…look! They are crying for me. They…

They love you.

I don’t deserve it.

That is what is so wonderful about it. You don’t have to deserve it to receive it. It is my gift to you.

But if they knew everything I have done or that has been done to me….

They would still love you. Love extends beyond all that. It is my love.

That is why?

Yes. 

They can love me despite everything that has been in my life?

But of course.

I have missed out on so much all these years. Wait. She has come back with someone. It is…her preacher. He wants to talk to me alone. What could he say now? Hasn’t he said enough over the years along with all the others?

Listen. Do what you refused to do all those years. Listen with your ears and your heart. 

He’ll preach.

He’ll plead for your soul. Listen.

He’s saying what he always says. Nothing is different. But… wait! It is not just words now. Something is different. He seems sincere.

He was always sincere. Everyone who called for you to come to me has been sincere and still are. You just couldn’t see it that way because you refused to see me.

He is saying what You have been saying here since You appeared.

I have not lied.

You are Him. You are the Way. I have rejected You all these years. How can You love me after all that?

How can I not?

Do I accept You as my Savior? He’s asking me that.

That is the ultimate question at this moment. Do you accept me?

How can I not?

You have to answer him. It can only be yes or no. There is no in between this time.

It is yes! I do believe in You! You are the One! I see You. I feel You.

See the joy in his face? It is not for himself that he feels such joy, but for you and your wife.

He does seem so happy. He is leaving. He wants her to see me nod again. Will she be happy?

More than you could believe possible. You will have finally given her what her heart desires the most.

That’s all she wanted from me?

Yes.

She’s here. Yes! I do accept Him! He is right here! I see Him! I can feel Him! I’m so sorry I waited so long to feel this happiness and see you so happy. I’m sorry.

She knows. She knows in her heart she’ll see you again.

What happens now?

Many friends and family will come in. They will try many procedures to follow your directive.

I want to live!

You will, but it will not be here.

I’m still going to die?

You will leave this body for a new one.

I was scared when You first told me. I was scared when the doctors told me how bad off I was. I’m not scared now.

Good. I’m here with you.

Don’t leave me!

I won’t. I’m here for you from now through eternity.

I thought angels came to get the dead.

No. That special and beautiful task is for me. My children accepted me. It is the least I can do to show them my continual love.

The pain is fading.

They have given you drugs.

Nothing feels right. I can’t hear them anymore. I think I feel them touching my forehead and hand.

They are not leaving your side, but your soul is separating from the body. 

Thank You.

For what?

For being here. For not giving up on me.

I give everyone a chance until they draw their final breath. 

What about my wife?

She will mourn for you, but she will celebrate. She knows where you are going. You don’t have to worry about her. I’ll be there with her every step of the way to make sure she is provided for with everything she needs. 

Wow! Everything feels different. I feel better than I did when I was young. There is a new life in me that…is beyond words. Who is that? Oh, my! It’s my mother. I see my mother. She is…beautiful. And there is my mother-in-law and father-in-law. They look so happy. There is my sister! She is here? My baby sister is here! They have such big smiles on their faces.

They see you. You are here. That is a joy that can only be surpassed by my love.

It is real. Thank You. I love You with all my heart and soul.

That is what I’ve longed to hear.