The night was dark, save for one lone security light high above the pungent mountains of discarded trash. Massive black silhouettes with threatening clawed arms stood eerily in the distance, their booming voices silenced during the black of night. Tomorrow, with the light of day, these mechanical monsters would once again roar to life, but tonight they stood silent vigil. The only witnesses to all this night held.
The stage was set. The black veil of night-hung heavy like a mantle of death. Stars hid from view. The very breeze fell still as if holding its breath. Death crouched watching, waiting; its never ceasing wails of despair echoing within his ravaged mind. Tonight, the wails would finally be silenced. Tonight, Michael would find peace among masses of waste.
He had once believed those words: a lifetime ago. But Jesus couldn’t love him. Not the way he was now. Yet, in one last desperate moment, the moment between life and death’s cold embrace, Michael did wonder - could it be true?
“I don’t know if you’re there Jesus, and I don’t know if you even care. But if ya’ do, please forgive me for what I have to do. And help my family to forgive me,” Michael prayed, before lining the needle up with his vein: something he could, and was, doing with eyes closed.
“What the…” Michael’s eyes flew open. The still full syringe fell from his hand. “It can’t be. No…no, who are you?” Michael stammered, fighting for breath.
“You know who I am Michael. Even now in your hour of pain you cried out to me.”
Michael gasped, hot tears spilled down his cheeks. “It can’t be. Lord no, don’t look at me,” He cried, covering his face with his hands. “ I’m nothing but garbage Lord. I don’t deserve your love.”
“I died for you Michael. I took all your sins, all your garbage, into me on the cross. Michael, my blood has made you clean. You are my beloved.” His voice held no anger, nor contempt: merely love.
For the first time Michael dared to look into the face before him. “Oh Lord,” Michael sobbed, as he looked through a haze of tears, into the eyes of love. This couldn’t be real. He had to be dead. Yet he knew he wasn’t. “Wha…what’d you want from me Jesus?”
The Savior knelt and opened his arms, inviting Michael to crawl into their fold. “I want you to live Michael.”
Michael collapsed into the arms of Christ, tears once again pouring from his soul. Tears of shame, regret, and humiliation: slowly became tears of a life being healed, a soul saved, and a spirit set on fire.
Michael jumped to his feet just as a new dawn broke over the horizon in all its glory. Spreading his arms wide he spun in circles, the joy of the newborn coursing through his veins. “Thank you so much Lord,” Michael shouted as he spun full circle. But the mattress was empty, save for him.
“I love you Lord.” Michael shouted into the heavens, before turning his face toward home, singing “Jesus loves me.”
With one final shriek, death cowered deep into the mountain’s foul shadow, as the light of a new dawn lit the sky, and Michael's song danced upon the breeze.