|How Eddie Found God
Author: Dill Wilson PM
Change of pace - Spiritual One Shot: Jake and Abby bump into their old high school friend Eddie who has been to hell and back.Rated: Fiction K - English - Spiritual/Friendship - Words: 3,233 - Published: 09-26-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3061073
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
How Eddie Found God (PG)
Abby and Jake were seated in a booth at The Bullpen Tavern just as they were most Friday and Saturday nights. They had been together for nearly ten years and Abby was beginning to wonder if this is what their relationship was going to be for the rest of their lives.
It was great in high school and even college at nearby Green College, but they were in their mid twenties now and maybe hanging out at The Bullpen Tavern every weekend wasn't what she enjoyed doing. Sports was no longer that interesting to her and she had hoped that Jake – the ultimate high school jock – would have moved on by now, but he was perfectly happy driving a truck for Punderson Oil and hanging out drinking at night.
Abby had been waiting for Jake's proposal for years and she was starting to realize that it wasn't coming anytime soon. She liked her job at the insurance company was steadily making her way up the promotion ladder but there was something missing for her life and she was coming to terms with the reality that maybe Jake wasn't the guy for her after all.
They had been together since junior year in high school but maybe that wasn't enough anymore. She sat in the booth staring at the guy she once thought was her one and only. He was munching on chips, drinking his beer, and watching the game on the wide screen over her head, not paying that much particular attention to her, which was sort of where their relationship was these days anyway.
"Uh-oh," Jake said, glancing past Abby.
"What?" She asked, starting to turn around.
"Don't look!" Jake warned.
"What is it?" She wanted to know.
"Eddie Franklin just walked in," Jake groaned. "I don't want him to see us."
"Oh, come on, Jake, he used to be your best friend," Abby remarked.
"Used to be," Jake said with emphasis.
"I heard he found God," Abby said, taking a sip from her beer.
"Which makes him even more crazier," Jake groaned.
Abby wasn't sure if she should feel offended. She had grown up in a church going family attending services every Sunday and she felt it gave her life meaning and grounding. Jake, of course, didn't believe in any of that stuff and she hadn't gone to services since they moved in together.
"Actually, he sort of looks like Jesus Christ now," Jake observed, glancing at his old friend. "Long hair down to his shoulders, beard."
Abby glanced out the window that overlooked Beano Field, the amateur baseball park where the Serguci League played. "Remember how you used to play there?" She sighed. "I used to watch you guys play all the time."
Jake was now twenty pounds over his high school playing weight thanks to all the beer drinking, had lost a few steps in the outfield, and couldn't get around on the fast ball anymore so he quit playing to save himself the embarrassment of sucking compared to the younger players.
"Eddie was a great ball player," Jake sighed. "Too bad he went off the deep end."
"He had a few problems," Abby admitted sadly.
"Over a chick of all things," Jake said with disgust, shaking her head.
"I'm sure it was more than that," Abby reasoned.
The three of them had been close in high school, naturally since she was dating Jake and Eddie was Jake's best friend. She liked Eddie too but Jake was more popular, better looking, and the bigger catch and in her high school mentality she went for the obvious instead of the subtle.
In hindsight, it was the right decision given all the problems Eddie had once high school was over, but now she had to ask herself what in the heck she was still doing with Jake. High school was over but sometimes Abby wondered if that reality had ever occurred to Jake who was still basically the same person with the same mentality, having matured and grown very little beyond his high school glory days.
"Uh-oh, here he comes," Jake announced, rolling his eyes.
Abby glanced over her shoulder to see Eddie walking across the tavern. Geez, he really did look like Jesus Christ! She almost burst out laughing when she noticed the sandals on his feet. He looked thinner than he had in high school and more relaxed too.
Eddie slipped into the bench next to Abby and set the ginger ale he was drinking on the table.
"Hey, guys," Eddie said warmly. "Long time no see!" He joked. "What's up!?"
"What do you want?" Jake asked with a frown.
"Can't a guy visit with old friends?" Eddie asked innocently.
"It has been a long time, Eddie," Abby replied.
"You're probably thinking not long enough, huh Jake?" Eddie guessed.
"Fine, stay," Jake groaned.
"You look stable," Abby said, glancing at their friend with a smirk.
"Thanks," Eddie replied with a laugh. "I left my straightjacket at home!"
"He doesn't look dangerous," Abby said to Jake good naturedly.
"What can we do for you, Eddie?" Jake wondered.
"Have you ever thought about the origins of the universe?" Eddie asked.
"Only when I watch Star Trek," Jake deadpanned.
"It's all a living conscious," Eddie replied with fascination. "That's a powerful thing, don't you think?"
"Doesn't matter what I think," Jake replied.
"I guess the best way to describe it is in dream like terms," Eddie decided. "Like, sometimes I feel it when I'm asleep. I'm dreaming and I come to this universal realization that there was this big bang of consciousness and that's how it all started."
"Oh yeah?" Jake asked.
"Thought is unconsciousness working," Eddie theorized. "For instance, mankind heralds the achievements of great humanitarians. Everybody from Plato to Shakespeare, Beethoven to Einstein."
"If you say so," Jake replied.
"In a way, it's because they have individually been able to articulate thoughts of all in their own way." Eddie nodded his head with approval. "Think of the universe like that. An articulation."
"That's certainly imaginative," Abby said.
She was happy to have a different type of conversation other than who was going to win the Super Bowl this year.
"Look, there are natural laws of physics and science that explains how the universe started," Jake said. "It was the big bang theory."
"Nothing from nothing?" Eddie challenged.
"Yes," Jake replied.
"But how can nothing come from nothing?" Eddie wanted to know. "Nothing had to come from something."
"Who cares?" Jake moaned.
"I'm just trying to point out the nuances of zero-point energy," Eddie said with a shrug. "But one thing is for sure. It's all in nature."
"You still sound crazy," Jake said.
"Don't worry, I'm on my meds," Eddie replied.
"So, you found religion, right?" Abby asked with interest, realizing how much she had missed Eddie these past few years.
"I did," Eddie confirmed.
"Why don't you go talk to a believer, Eddie?" Jake sighed.
"Abby's a believer," Eddie replied with a grin.
"Sometimes," she admitted sheepishly.
"Mostly, she's a sinner," Jake said with a grin.
"Be nice," Abby protested.
"Why don't you go find somebody who has already dedicated their lives to God," Jake suggested. "There are millions of people out there just waiting to serve Him."
"You really think you're an Atheist?" Eddie wanted to know.
"I work independently according to my own morality," Jake replied.
"But what if your morality is wrong?" Eddie wondered.
"Nobody's going to coerce me through guilt or implication or a book found in hotel rooms to make me do things I don't agree with," Jake said. "Church. Mass. Communion. Confession. I don't need those things."
"You can't make someone find God, Eddie," Abby said. "That's why God gave us free will and choice."
"We could go on asking questions for eternity and never find the answers," Eddie commented. "But that doesn't mean we should stop asking."
"You realize that you really do sound like a crazy person," Jake said.
"Stay calm," Abby urged her boyfriend. "Eddie's just being Eddie."
"Yeah, relax," Eddie laughed. "I come in peace!" He held his hands up. "Peace be with you."
"And also with you," Abby responded automatically.
"Actually, it's 'And with your spirit' now," Eddie laughed.
Jake held up his hand and gave Eddie the Vulcan hand salute. "Live long and prosper," he said sarcastically. Then he turned the gesture into the middle finger and laughed with delight as his own little humor.
"Thanks," Eddie replied with a smile.
"What do you really want, Eddie?" Jake asked with a heavy sigh, taking a long sip from his beer mug and ordering another pitcher from the waitress that was passing the booth.
"Hey, nothing, truce, chill out," Eddie said, holding his hands ups. "Just stopped by to say hi."
"And act all crazy some more," Jake complained.
"We're all friends here, Jake," Abby said.
"But Eddie's just a bit strange, don't you think?" Jake asked Abby.
"No more than any of us," Abby replied with a shrug. "He just says what he thinks more openly than everybody else."
"Unless they've had a few beers," Eddie joked.
"I don't want to be talking religion in a sports bar," Jake said.
"Who's talking religion?" Eddie asked. "I was mentioning God."
"What makes God all powerful?" Abby asked politely.
"Nothing," Eddie replied.
"Then what's your point to all of this?" Jake groaned.
"Don't you realize that when you simply look at something, it changes?" Eddie asked. "You change it. There's no stopping or denying the impact that everyone has on each other."
"That's called interaction," Jake explained.
"It's called beauty," Eddie countered, glancing at Abby and smiling. "Just like Abby has always been."
"Don't be flirting with my girl, Ed," Jake warned.
"You may have your doubts about God, but when you start looking closely at the small picture, people are simply people," Eddie said. "Divine individuals."
"That sounds like a novel approach to the concept of humanity," Abby said.
"I discovered that you can offend a lot of people by asking 'How do you know God does or doesn't exist?'" Eddie laughed. "I'm not trying to be difficult. I just want to hear what people think."
"It's almost as bad as asking people how they like their sex," Jake rebutted.
"Figures you'd think that way," Abby complained, throwing Jake a disapproving look.
"I used to feel about God the same way I did about Santa Claus," Eddie said. "God was completely fabricated."
"Still is," Jake remarked.
"Maybe some people need to believe in God," Abby theorized.
"But there is no proof or objective evidence," Jake offered. "That's why I came to the conclusion that God does not exist."
"So, what changed your mind, Eddie?" Abby wanted to know.
"Going nuts," Jake answered for him.
"Pretty much," Eddie was quick to agree.
"You saw God in the psych unit?" Abby asked.
"Actually, I met someone who helped me become interested in the possibility of God," Eddie revealed. "She was caring, kind, and smart. I was surprised that someone that intelligent believed in God."
"Who was she?" Jake asked. "Your social worker?"
"Another nut case," Eddie answered openly. "She talked about God like He was her dearest friend and she knew He deeply loved her. Any concern she had she turned over to God, trusting Him to work it out for her. Every day I saw the answers to her prayers and she was convinced that God exists."
"What was her name?" Abby asked.
"Charlene," Eddie replied.
"So you started to believe too?" Jake asked cynically. "Because some chick told you too!?"
"We're talking about a woman who was suffering from post-partum depression big time," Eddie explained. "She was unable to function. Lost custody of her kids. Husband kicked her out the house. I was feeling sorry for myself for my problems but when I met her I realized that it could have been a lot worse for me."
"So you found God?" Abby asked.
"I wanted to believe in God because I admired Charlene's strength and her conviction," Eddie explained. "One day she handed me a Bible and told me to read it."
"So, she converted you," Jake said.
"Not at all," Eddie insisted. "The Bible's evidence of God is logical. Life and science and humanity are all too perfectly designed and too perfectly put together to just be random and I started running out of reasons to be certain of nothing and more reasons to conclude that God exists."
"Anything particular to you?" Abby asked.
"Well, I should be dead," Eddie replied. "I should have died at least five different times. Was I just lucky? Or was it fate and faith intervening because God had a different plan for me?"
"You were in the car accident," Jake said. "How else did you almost die?"
"It wasn't an accident, Jake," Eddie replied. "I was trying to kill myself."
"Oh, Eddie," Abby sighed sadly.
"You would think driving off Gilligan's Bluff would have been the end of me," Eddie laughed. "The car practically disintegrated around me yet I was able to crawl out of the twisted ball of metal."
"You were lucky," Jake pointed out.
"I also stabbed myself." Eddie lifted up his shirt and showed them a scar in his side not all that far from the heart. "I o'd'ed on heroin numerous times. I drank myself unconscious."
"That's four," Jake remarked.
"And I drank lighter fluid," Eddie said.
"Trying to light your fire?" Jake joked.
"Oh, Eddie," Abby said again. "I didn't know you were so mixed up."
"You mean screwed up," Jake said.
"All because of Freda?" Abby asked.
"No, she was just what finally pushed me over the edge," Eddie replied. "I was on the path of destruction way before that."
"You weren't like that in high school," Jake pointed out.
"Sure I was," Eddie replied knowingly. "I was just better at keeping it masked. Christ, how many drunks did we go out on together, Jake? How many parties? How 'bout roof surfing out on Route 36? And trying to swim the Blue River to Mt. Griffin at two in the morning, drunk?"
"We were carefree teenagers out goofing around," Jake reasoned.
"I'm pretty sure I had a death wish," Eddie replied. "And then I rip up my knee," he said, gesturing toward his leg. "Can't play out there anymore." He pointed toward the baseball field through the window. "And then I found out Freda was cheating on me and then she dumped me. I lost my entire identity in one summer."
"Your identity was baseball and Freda Wilson?" Jake frowned.
"Pretty much," Eddie laughed. "Or so I thought anyway."
"But Charlene changed all that?" Abby asked.
"Sort of," Eddie admitted. "I mean, I couldn't get the concept of God off my mind the entire time I was in the loony bin," he said.
"How long were you there?" Abby wondered.
"Off and on, about three and a half months," Eddie reported. "One night I was talking to Charlene and she said, 'You know, I can't make this decision for you, and God's not going to wait forever.'"
"Wait for what?" Abby asked.
"To turn my life over to Him," Eddie answered. "To get my act together and start living a life pleasing to God."
"Is that what you're doing now?" Jake asked with annoyance.
"I'm a work in progress," Eddie grinned. "But I knew Charlene was right. I either had to ask God to come into my life or I was going to end up dead."
"So, you fell for the brainwashing," Jake said.
"No, I concluded that it made more sense to believe in God than to believe He wasn't there," Eddie replied.
"And you're still alive!" Abby said happily.
"God won," Eddie explained. "I let Him into my life and I let Him do with it whatever he wants."
"Yep, you're still nuts," Jake decided
"He seems happy to me," Abby interjected.
"I am," Eddie said with a smile. "My intimacy with God is deeper than any intimacy I ever had with Freda or anybody else because His love is perfect. He's incredibly gracious. He takes me right where I'm at and He intervenes with actions and by speaking to my heart."
"Oh brother," Jake mumbled.
"I think it's lovely," Abby beamed.
"God has done more with my life than I could ever have done on my own," Eddie continued. "He provides ideas, direction, solutions, wisdom, and better ideas."
"Did you ever stop to think that maybe you just clean and sober and that's why your life is back on track now?" Jake asked with annoyance.
"Sure," Eddie laughed. "But God was what got me clean and sober, not me. Now I know my life is worth something to God and that's why I'm here. My whole outlook on life has changed. I now have hope, believing that God has some purpose for my life."
"Like what?" Jake asked.
"I'm not sure yet," Eddie confessed. "But I'm sure it will all work out. I'm working a nothing job at the Heat Fab graveyard shift to make some money, have some stability and stay out of trouble. I'm thinking of going back to school. Life is good."
"Working a graveyard factory job is good?" Jake frowned. "Get serious."
"It's good in here," Eddie replied, pointing at his chest. "I know I need to plan my life around what God wants me to do. I'm okay with that. I feel a joy and peace from within that I've never known could exist. It's the ultimate high from the Holy Spirit. It's wonderful and I know that God saved me, not just from killing myself, but from my sins and failures too. I have been redeemed."
"I think it's wonderful," Abby smiled.
"Then you're as crazy as he is," Jake replied with annoyance as he refilled his beer mug with beer from the new pitcher the waitress had left. He let out a burp and Abby looked at him with distain.
"Well, I guess I'll see you guys around," Eddie said cheerfully as he slipped out of the booth. "Just wanted to say hello."
"Yes, see you in church," Jake said sarcastically, waving his old friend off with disinterest.
Eddie wandered off and Abby stared at Jake with disbelief. "Why must you be so uncouth?" She asked angrily.
Jake looked at her with amusement. "Give me a break," he replied.
"I think Eddie looks great," Abby decided. "And he sounds even better."
"He sounds like a typical messed in the head Jesus freak," Jake rebutted. "Stay away from him. He's more nuts than ever."
"Maybe we're the crazy ones," Abby offered.
"I doubt it," Jake replied, taking another swig from his beer mug. "Now can I please watch the game?" He gestured to the college football game on the wide screen.
"By all means," Abby replied with a huff. "I know that's your God."
Jake laughed and nodded with approval.
"I have to go potty," Abby sighed, leaving the booth, but she made her way to the bar where Eddie was seated on her way to the ladies room.
"You look very nice, Abby," Eddie told her when she stopped by his stool. "It's nice to see you."
"Do you think you could help me find God?" she asked.