He's always watching. He waits, biding his time as he follows my every move. All he ever seems to do is watch me. Which is why I have to be careful, I have to look out for his treacherous ways. He sees all, so if I ever slip up or let my guard down, he'll pounce, ready to take me.
I've felt his presence for a long time now. Sometimes I even see him. Even if I can't see his evil countenance or feel his creeping essence, I know he's there, lurking in the shadows, watching and waiting.
The first time I remember meeting him was during The War. Yes, The War, as if it were yesterday, I remember it well. I can hear the zipping bullets and the raining artillery. I can taste the grit of mud and gun powder between my teeth. I can feel the weight of my G.I. Ammo belt; feel the terror of a million men. Sweat hangs in the air, mingling with the mists from the murk of the trench and the screams of a thousand dying men. Yes, I remember it well. At times I can still feel the bullet ripping through my shirt and into my chest. I can remember the darkness of nearing Death. I remember my first glimpse of him; it came with The Great War.
Death has haunted me since that day in The War. I survived, yes, I had shaken his grip from my soul, yes, but from that day forward he has haunted me. Now, as I grow older and weaker, he awaits his chance.
Everyday it seems harder to keep him away. It grows harder to keep up the fight. Sometimes, his lying whispers from the dark deceive me. Sometimes Death doesn't seem so bad, but then I remember my cause. I will not give up the fight just because my body grows old and my mind fogs with age. No, Death is too frightening a prospect for me, even if he will bring me to my Creator.
Yet, as I lay here now, on Death's porch, I know in my heart that I cannot win. Incessantly Death knocks; he beckons to me in a way most comforting. While I may still hold the key to the door, I know it won't be long before it falls to him.
Time slows, the clock mocks me. Seconds pass like minutes and minutes like hours. Time itself seems to smirk at my struggle and say, "Give up old man, you cannot win. I laugh at your fighting. My cousin, Death, will soon be with you. Give up, you can't control me or my kin, I will slow down to allow him to reach you."
My breath grows shallow and old wounds burn anew. Scars seem to open once again. Death is knocking, this time he comes as a friend. One I know can take me from my pain. He calls to me as an old drinking buddy might call. I realize finally that my fight is useless. Why should I remain stubborn? Why should I fear a friend willing to relieve my hurt?
I notice his evil countenance was just an illusion of a mind filled with fear. His mysterious shroud has melted away as spring snows. So I open the door and welcome him in with a warm handshake. He thanks me and comes into my home. His peaceful aura calms me and I grow suddenly weary. "My friend, lie down in your bed. Lie and rest, for you are tired," he says to me. "Yes, rest is what I need," I reply. As I lay in my old bed my pain gives way to a warm peace.
Light, I can see much light, as if I have just come to the end of a long, dark tunnel. Joy fills my heart as I realize that I have only reached the end of the first stage of my adventures. I close my eyes and see the streets of gold and the glorious walls of Heaven. I see the eternal stages of a divine play in which I am to take part.
A laugh comes to my lips as I see that this land of perfection was what I had been running from my entire life. As I breathe in the cool air of the city, I await Death's embrace.
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" -1 Corinthians 15:55