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September 13, 2009 / theoldsilly

Letters From the Mission Field – Counting the Cost

Today’s post is written by my brother, Kevin, the latest of his writings from behind bars. As many of you who have followed the Old Silly’s blog for a while now know, his spiritual journey, documented through his writings in the “Letters From Jail” series, and continuing now in the “Letters From the Mission Field” series, has been and continues to be a source of inspiration – not just for people in the direst of straits, but for anyone who lives and breathes and goes through the ups and downs, temptations, frustrations, mistakes, good fortunes, bad fortunes, all that and more and in short – is in the human condition. We can all relate in some measure. And learn, benefit and grow.

Today’s piece is, I feel, an exceptionally remarkable one. Please enjoy the read, and share your thoughts with Kevin and all of us in the comments. I now turn this blog over to Kevin Wilson.

***

Counting the Cost

“You are a goddamned loser, Wilson,” the Father of Lies said to me recently. “Do you have any idea how far you have fallen and how much you have lost? You have nothing and you are nothing.”

“Yes, I know,” I said, “How could I not? After all, you remind me of it pretty much every day.”

“Hahahahahahaaaaa – it’s good to know that you listen to me, moron. You’re supposed to be some kind of super Christian, yet you allow me to get under your skin like that? You are sooooo easy! Now. Let’s go over this again.”

“Go ahead, bring it.” I sighed, no point in trying to refuse. He’d just go on with his tormenting anyway.

“You used to be a popular guy, weren’t you? In fact you were loved, revered, and respected by many, right? People actually looked up to you.”

“Yeah.”

“So what happened? Where are all of your so-called friends now? I seem to be able to count them on the fingers of one hand.”

“It’s true. There aren’t many left who care anymore. I guess it’s just human nature that I would fade from everyone’s memory. Pretty disheartening, though.”

“Heh heh, atta boy! Dwell on that for a while. Hey weren’t you married until just recently? To a real beauty too, if I remember correctly. What was her name again, Hilma?”

“Gina.”

“Oh yes, yes, of course, Gina – whatever … anyway Hilma is a swimsuit model and a TV star, right?”

“Actually, Gina is a fitness/figure competitor in the Natural Body Building arena. A talented one, too. She’s won several competitions. And yes, she’s a spokesperson and model for local TV commercials. She is very beautiful, but that’s not why I fell in love with her. I fell in love with her because she absolutely loved and adored me. She worshipped the ground I walked on. I loved her back for that and felt the same way about her. I used to catch her just staring at me for no reason other than she was enthralled with how handsome she thought I was. But the best part? She loved me exactly the way I was. She didn’t want or ever try to change me in any way. I never felt so loved by a woman as I did by her. Before I met her I was convinced that I was unlovable.”

“You suck, Wilson. She never really loved you. For Chrissake she gave up on you and filed for divorce after you were in the county jail for only two months. Two. And on Christmas Eve, no less. Get it through your thick skull, punk. She never loved you. Got it? Never!”

“I winced and slammed my eyes shut to quell back mounting tears. “Please. Stop. You’re going to make me …”

“Cry? Is the poor wittle baby gonna cwy? Jesus you’re pathetic. This is too easy. You do realize she’s already found another man, right? Yup. Bet they’re having sex right now. Conjures up quite the image, eh Wilson? And she really does love this one. He’s everything you never were and never will be. You? You’ll never know what it’s like to be loved by a woman. It’s true – you are unlovable.”

“I … I know. Now please leave me alone.”

“You are so pitiful, Wilson.”

“I know that too. Please go now.”

“Nah – havin’ too much fun. Aren’t you having fun? Hey you had quite a career going, didn’t you? A couple of advanced degrees, your family income was $110,000 annually, great benefits, lots of vacation time. Oh but gosh – that’s all gone now, isn’t it. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Shame, such a shame. So what’re you doing now for a job?”

“I work in the prison chow hall. I bus tables, mop floors, peel potatoes, wash dishes, and serve on the chow line.”

“Really? My, my, my – you’ve really made something of yourself, haven’t you? Pray tell how much money you make in the pursuit of this … mm, spectacular career endeavor?”

“I started out at $.17 per hour, but I recently got a raise up to $.23 per hour. It’s enough to purchase writing supplies, stamps, envelopes and toiletries. It’s important to me not to have to rely on loved ones for financial support.”

I heard the sound of hands clapping as he said, “Bravo! How very noble of you – you jerk. Hey also – that was quite a nice home you had, too. 3,000 square feet, four bedrooms, two baths, huge family room with fireplace, two car garage. Bank foreclosed on that little dream dwelling, didn’t it.”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Pity. So how’re the new digs?”

“Well, I live on a prison compound with about 1,200 other men. My housing unit is a huge dormitory that sleeps 160. I share my 12’ x 20’ cubicle with seven other men. I sleep on a top bunk and I have a 72” x 18” x 24” locker to keep my belongings in.”

“Fan. Tas. Tic. Wow – sounds like the Hilton – ha! What a pit. It must so suck to be you! Being such a big sports fan, you used to spend a lot of time in your spacious, comfy family room watching that sweet television too, right?”

I sighed, head aching, and said, “Yup. I used to watch my beloved Detroit tigers, Red Wings, Pistons and Lions on my 52” wide screen high def TV with surround sound rumbling through my 500 watt home theatre system. That’s all gone now, though – had to sell it to help defray my attorney’s fees.”

“Oh this is just too precious. Too good to be true. And now I see you watch your sports on a 13” black and white TV with the sound coming through a cheap set of headphones?”

“Yes. That’s pretty much what my living space and television/entertainment experience is like nowadays.”

“Well don’t hold your breath waiting for MTV to feature that crib, you jackass. You know, if I rightly recall you’re quite the physical fitness buff, aren’t you?”

“Mmhmm – I used to be a member of a state-of-the-art YMCA … had a pool, a gym, free weights, Nautilus machines, and cardio machines equipped with personal TV monitors. I really enjoyed my daily workouts there.”

“And now you pump iron using rusty old dumbbells and broken down weight machines, surrounded by foul-mouthed, tattoo-laden inmates in an open air weight pit with walls made of chain linked fence. How very nice. You used to love your outdoor workouts too, did you not?”

“Sure did. I loved taking my Gary Fisher mountain bike out on the steep and rugged trails of Marquette County with a spectacular view of the largest and most beautiful fresh water lake in the world.”

“And now you run and walk laps on a pothole-riddled quarter mile asphalt track in the shadow of a gun tower, with a view of nothing more than the seemingly endless stretches of razor wire. Awesome!”

“Yeah.”

“You have lost everything, Wilson, and it’s all your own fault. I led you down the path of self destruction and you eagerly followed me every step of the way. Now you have lost your job, your career, your income, your health benefits, your home, your truck, your toys, even your friends, and …” his voice simmered with sadistic, sinister glee, “… and your beautiful wife that you thought adored and loved you.” He paused to laugh. “When they do let you out of this stink hole, you’ll have nothing. Nothing. No friends and no things. Everything is gone now and no one cares about you anymore. God Himself has forgotten and forsaken you, and He no longer loves you.”

“All right, hold it,” I said, sitting up straight with renewed energy. “Stop right there. That is not true – about God. For the Lord says, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.’ Jeremiah 31:3”

“That promise isn’t for someone who has sinned as much as you!

“Wrong again. For it is written, ‘Christ came into the world to save sinners among whom I am the foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.’ I Timothy 1:15b-16.”

The Father of lies spit air. “Wilson, get real. You will be penniless and homeless when they finally let you go, and you will have no job and no prospects. It’s over for you. Time to panic!”

I felt strength welling in me, assurance, and confidence as I said, “Not a chance. For Jesus said, ‘Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. So do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will care for itself.’ Mathew 6:32b-34.”

“Sure, you chump, you can quote some lame scriptures, but you know as well as I do, if I had the power to undo everything bad that has happened to you this past year and could put you back just the way you were, you would jump at the opportunity like a little spoiled, snotty nosed kid weaseling his way out of a spanking.”

“No, brimstone breath,” I said, folding my arms over my emboldened heart and planting my feet firm, “I would not. Yes, I have lost all that I once held dear, and it saddens me greatly when I consider how far I’ve fallen, how much I have lost. Yes, I am a broken man. However, you badly miscalculated when you assumed that brokenness would lead to my ultimate demise, lizard face. To the contrary, brokenness has become my path to freedom. I have gained immeasurably more than I have lost in that I have a newfound closeness in my relationship with my Redeemer and a future that offers abundantly more than I could ever ask for or imagine. As the Apostle Paul once said, ‘Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus as my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.’ Philippians 3:7-8.”

His Foul Nemesis Wannabe said in a venomous voice, “I hate you, Wilson. All these putrid scriptures are making me nauseous. I’m leaving, but I’ll be back. You can count on that.”

“I’ll be ready.”

***

“Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” Proverbs 30:5

***

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12 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Katrina Wampler / Sep 13 2009 7:47 am

    wow…. amazing.

    Gina does sound like a truly remarkable and uncompareable woman. No wonder your heart is so broken…but you know my thoughts on that one.

    I’m very proud of you. Not everyone can find the courage to stand up to Satan the way you have. I’m sure we can all learn a lesson. It’s funny, I can hear him whispering to me now…laughing at me.

    Thanks for the lesson and reminder, Kev.
    You are in my prayers.

  2. Cactus Annie / Sep 13 2009 7:57 am

    Way to talk ol’ Bad Boy down, Kevin! I’m proud of you, sending love and prayers your way, too. Thanks for writing and sharing this – you and Marv – it’s the kind of inspiration and reminder we ALL need from time to time.

  3. unwriter1 / Sep 13 2009 11:05 am

    Very well written Kevin. You’ve played devils advocate and came out on top. To do it the way you did proves you will succeed in your endeavors, now and in the future.

    Ron

  4. John Standish / Sep 13 2009 12:33 pm

    Those kinds of talks with “the dark side” I’m well familiar with. I think we all are, if we’re honest with ourselves, at least to some degree. What’s important, and it’s obvious Kevin knows this, is that we realize we have the God-given power to render the forces of Satan helpless to overcome us. This was a very well written piece – thanks for sharing, and Kevin – you keep your spiritual boxing gloves on. You’ll win this fight.

  5. Elizabeth Spann Craig / Sep 13 2009 1:01 pm

    Well done, Kevin. Congratulations on your amazing journey. And…I love your “brimstone breath” insult!

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

  6. L. Diane Wolfe / Sep 13 2009 1:10 pm

    He that is greater in me is greater than he who is in the world…

    And you have lost nothing. The material things of this world will pass for all of us when we die. Shows how little they truly matter.

  7. ReformingGeek / Sep 13 2009 9:26 pm

    Yes, material things can “enhance” our lives but if there isn’t much in the heart, there isn’t much to “enhance”.

    Keep walking, Kevin. You’re doing great.

  8. Bluestocking / Sep 13 2009 11:14 pm

    One day at a time.

  9. yvonne lewis / Sep 14 2009 4:07 am

    Excellently written Kevin, you have my respect and admiration.

    Take care.

    Yvonne.

  10. Free Spirit / Sep 14 2009 10:19 am

    Kevin, this is profoundly honest. I cry along with you as I hear this whole encounter. True, you are living on a dung heap, but we are serving the same Father, and He specializes in making beauty from ashes… when we turn to Him. Keep moving deeper into Him, Kevin. You know in your knower that, in the end, you do have the REAL prize, right there within – it’s been Him all along. And, the greatest thing is that He’s not waiting for you by the exit door of that prison camp, when you someday walk back into your physical freedom. No, He decided to come on in and live with you, right in the midst of that dung heap. Selah (pause and calmly think of that): the King of glory, right there in that hell hole with you.

    Thank God, you are recognizing that, and you are a better man for it!
    Father’s heart is as passionate for you as it ever has been. His passion only knows one speed: FULL BLAST!! And, we know, He is unchanging. That means His passion for you has never, even in your darkest moments, waned. There IS NO dimmer switch, for when we screw up.

    You may have access to a dictionary, but allow me to refresh your memory on the meaning of PASSION: an intense desire or enthusiasm for something (someone), a state or outburst of almost uncontrollable strong emotion. THAT’S what He feels for you, Kevin. Right there where you are.

    His DESIRE for you is the beginning and the end.
    Bless you, dear brother.

  11. Crystal Clear Proofing / Sep 14 2009 11:01 am

    Kevin you are an absolutely, outstanding, REMARKABLE writer. Not one error, excellent dialog, puts the reader right there in the “story,” and a powerful message on top of it all. HE starts and continues to beat you down…on and on…and NO! Right there – NOW! THAT’S IT – YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR, JERK! You go, Kevin. I’d LOVE to KNOW you. YOU ARE SOMEONE SPECIAL! Such intense insight and faith and belief and strength. Phenomenal. Bless you – BLESS YOU!

  12. Jess Wilson / Sep 15 2009 12:18 pm

    You have NOT lost all your friends. Friends are people that stand by you and support you through the good times and the bad. I lost a lot of people that I considered to be my friends when I got pregnant last year. Apparently, once I was unable to go out and drink, a lot of people decided I was not their friend after all. It was sad at first, and I was disappointed, but then I realized that I would rather have only one or two TRUE friends, than have many fake people pretend to be my friends.

    Hope that helps!

    As always, I love you and miss you!!
    ~Jess (and Eli)~
    xoxo

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