Mr. Beckett had just finished breakfast. The remote control was in his hand and he was trying to figure it out. This was a relatively new experience for him as television was looked down on by the church. “Devil-vision,” the Pastor used to call it. “Just another way for Satan to get a hold on your family,” he said. But since he was in the hospital and he was captive to this bed . . . and, since he didn’t ask for it, it was just there, he felt like he had a free pass to explore what was offered.
But interrupting his well rationalized curiosity of forbidden treats was a walk-in who looked vaguely familiar along with a young man and a vagrant.
“Do I know you?” he asked.
“Oh, not really,” Becky returned. “I was with Ramona at the Mercantile store when you . . . uh, when I saw you talking to her. I heard you had a heart attack. Are you feeling better?” This was more awkward that she wanted but knew that since she had spoken first she had better follow through.
“Oh, that.” Beckett exhaled slowly. “Yeah, I was kinda stupid. Yes, I am feeling much better, thank you. Did you come up here to see me?”
“Well, no, not really. I wasn’t expecting that you would be in the same room. I mean, I, we, came to see the guy in the other bed. He was in an accident and was nearly killed.”
“They brought him in here earlier. He looked pretty bad. Do you know him?”
“Well, not yet. We’re hoping we can find out soon. Um, nice meeting you.”
“Yeah, you too.” Beckett said.
Becky walked around the curtain to where Marcy and Jeremy stood looking at the young man laying very still. There were traction devices holding up a cast on one leg and a partial body cast enclosed his upper body and left shoulder. The essential feeding and medicinal tubes were attached to him. It reminded her of that scene in the last Matrix movie where all those babies were in clear cocoons attached to feeding tubes waiting for their bodies to be harvested. Yikes!
His eyes were closed and his face puffy. Wait; his face! She had seen this guy before! Where was it?
Ramona’s journey seemed to be taking forever. She needed to get back and talk to Becky; to see what she had to say about all this weird stuff going on. Only another hour or so and she would be home.
The weather continued to be mild; a little brisk, though. Big, cumulus clouds were spaced so that the bright sunshine made it seem a little warmer than it really was.
Ramona started thinking about her father. She did leave him when he probably needed her to be there; to be supportive even if she was angry with him. That part made her start to feel bad about her behavior. If only he could understand her! If only they could have a relationship more like when Mom was there. He acted happier back then—not so intense.
But the confusing thing to her was that Becky was a Christian too. Yet, their dispositions were quite different. Her dad was usually uptight and appeared angry and sullen at times. Becky never came across like that. What was the difference? As she thought about it, even though people at church seemed friendly, there was this . . . undercurrent of tension, like people weren’t really free to be normal. Like someone was always watching to make sure they didn’t break the rules.
Maybe that was it! That was what she was trying to characterize in her mind. She wanted the freedom to be herself. To live life being real, not who someone else thought she should be. Couldn’t she just enjoy being a young, energetic girl; just go do fun things with friends and not feel like she was being spied on by God’s secret agent pastors?
Of course, not everything she enjoyed was frivolous. Helping people inspired her. She remembered the warm, benevolent stories from the Bible, especially those where Jesus was often visibly affected by the plight of the poor or sick. He healed them and taught about loving and caring for one another. She was always deeply moved when she saw others in need.
She would ask Becky about that, too. She seemed to live life like that. Ramona thought helping people who were poor and needing some help and friendship might be a good thing for her, as well. That City Reach place was doing stuff like that so maybe she could volunteer there sometime.
Marcy stared at the man lying silently. “He kinda’ looks dead, Becky. Is he breathing?” she whispered with a coarse voice. Whispering was not comfortable for Marcy.
“Yes. His heart is beating. Hear that bleep from the machine over there?” Jeremy answered for Becky. She was a bit stunned yet.
“Jeremy, this was the guy that came into Holy Grounds a few weeks ago.” She murmured. “He was hitting on me, trying to get me to meet him after work.”
“Seriously?” he whispered back. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure it was him. He was nice but a little too syrupy for me. I didn’t buy what he was selling. Besides, Brad and I are still seeing each other and I didn’t want to ruin that.”
“Shoun’t we pray for him again Becky ‘n Jermy, shoun’t we?” Marcy asked in her best gravelly whisper voice. “We could just ask God to help him git better quick so we could git him saved,” she offered.
“Sure, let’s pray.” Again, Jeremy intervened for Becky who was still in shock at the discovery. He reached out and laid his hand gently on the man’s shoulder.
“Father, please watch over this man and bring healing to his broken body. Allow us an opportunity very soon to tell him about your love for him. Thank you.”
In the next bed, Mr. Beckett lay quietly, straining to hear the conversation. The TV had lost its attraction for the moment. He had never seen these people in church yet they prayed with such brazen faith. And that odd woman who massacred grammar; she didn’t look like a Christian either!
“Pretty scruffy, if you ask me,” he thought. “I don’t know how God would listen to her dressed like that.”
Just then a vibration jolted Becky into cognizance. It was a text . . . from Ramona!
-To Be Continued-