Red’s Testament

This is a story I heard from a priest about a man from south Louisiana. This man had red hair so we might as well call him Red, even though his hair has started to go gray. He had profound sadness within him. Every year around the first day of spring he cried a lot.

He would tell anyone who would listen, “My boy was retarded, you know. He wasn’t smart. But I loved that kid so much. He was slow, but a joy.” He would pause, and continue, “A couple years ago on the first day of spring, my boy went to a picnic. At the end of the picnic, they found my boy’s lifeless body floating in the pool.” He sobbed, “My boy was dead! He was six. My retarded son, who I loved, was dead. God took him away from me. All the other boys said they hadn’t seen him go into the pool. They didn’t know anything.” He wiped his tears away, “But I knew they was lying. My boy had scratches on his face, where someone held his head underwater and drowned him.”

And he continued, “I was mad at God. I was mad at those boys. I wanted them to die for what they did, for drowning my boy. In my heart I hated those boys. I wished they would pay for what they did. And I prayed for my boy to be saved. About a year ago, I went into a bar around this time to get drunk and forget.”

As the priest said, drinking to forget isn’t a great thing to do, but it’s better than feeding hatred and anger.

Red went on, “After I sat at that bar, the door opened and a guy walked in. He walked straight up to me at the bar and sat down. I told him about my son. I told him he was dead, drowned by those boys. And I told him about the scratches. And he replied, ‘I work on an oil platform in the middle of the Gulf, and I’ve seen lots of guys drown. That happens all the time. When a guy drowns, when he goes down for the third time, there’s a reflex that happens every time. They all reach up with their hands like claws and scratch their own face. It happens every time.’ My heart was thudding. He said, ‘Mister, those boys didn’t kill your son. They were telling the truth. Nobody drowned him. It was an accident!'”

Red said, “I was so thankful. God brought that man to me, straight into the bar and on a beeline to where I was sitting. And he answered my prayer. He saved my son. I had been wrong. Now I knew he wasn’t drowned by those boys. I didn’t have to hate them anymore. They were innocent. And my boy had a short life, but a happy one. He died in an accident, too young, but in an accident, not by murder.”

Red finished, “Until then I just thought about those boys and how much I hated them for drowning my son. I believed a falsehood and it was ruining me. Now I remember my son and how much I loved him.”

Moral: Blame and speculation lead to hatred. Truth leads to love. God wants us to love.

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2 responses to “Red’s Testament

  1. “But I knew they was lying. My boy had scratches on his face, where someone held his head underwater and drowned him.” – Red

    In actuality, the man from south Louisiana had lied to himself. Following his ignorance came an anger fueled by grief. Grief is natural. However, due to his stubbornness, he could not let go of the irreversible. Everyone must proceed from morning to closure. Theists especially should be readily able to accept what their god wills. I find it questionable that the priest would condone alcohol consumption, a substance devised to distort one’s consciousness to escape reality. Fortunately for Red, he was rehabilitated by a caring man who illuminated the situtation for him. Truthfully, we don’t know if the boy drowned accidentally or by the malicious intent of his peers. I must ask though, how divinely guided is a man who passively watches his own co-workers drown to death?

    Good post, Wolfie. :mrgreen:

  2. God loves us all, even the worst of us, even those who don’t love Him or even believe in Him. He loves us when we are sad, self-destructive, drunk, or even full of hate. He doesn’t hate us or wish our destruction or misery. He does not refrain from using any of us in His plans. After all, what could we do, stain His perfect, incorruptible hands?

    And as for alcohol, one of Jesus’ miracles was at a wedding party where He caused water to turn into wine. Another of Jesus’ miracles is the transformation of wine into His blood in the Eucharistic sacrament. Alcohol is no more evil than food or water.

    The conception of God presented in your comment is limited. If He is both limitless and good, then any attempts to constrain Him with prudish sermonizing or assign Him some task of vengeance are simply wrong.

    Unlike God, I am not perfect. I look forward to reading what your further thoughts are as we explore this and other topics.