Mission Creep 26

“What’s logic got to do with anything?” Pat spits back at you. “I was talking about my crappy life situation and you want to bring up logic!”

You begin to reply but somebody turns on their stereo and between that and the noise of the crowd your words fall on deaf ears. A moment later, you turn to ask somebody to shut down the music and when you look back where Pat had been sitting, you see no one there.

Pat ghosts you on SnapChat.

Pat makes a point to avoid you in school. Eventually, you give up trying and just resign yourself to praying about it.

You pray for Pat every day. After a few months, you pray for Pat every now and again.

Twenty five years later, you receive a call from your mom. “Hey. Do you remember your old friend Pat?”

“Yeah. I pray for Pat all the time,” you reply. It’s a half truth. You do still pray whenever Pat comes to mind. Just not all the time.

Your mom continues.

“Well, go to St. David’s Hospital in South Austin. They say Pat has maybe a couple days left to live.”

You make the drive to Austin for old time’s sake. No — for conscience’s sake — wondering the whole way there if things could have gone differently had you only said some other words.

When you get there, Pat is sitting up in bed, hooked up to IVs and all kinds of machines and tubes and what-not.

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

It takes a while for the ice to break, but things warm up when Pat mentions, “say, do you remember that time when we were gonna go sacrifice a chicken in some black magic ritual and it turned out to be a sport team cookout?”

You begin to say, “Pat, I’m sorry about that night. I was –“

But Pat cuts you off.

You spend the next half hour listening as Pat fills you in on a life full of doubt, lies, deception, sin, regret, and … eventually, a return to Christianity.

“… I realized that my screw ups weren’t God’s fault any more than my parents’ screw ups were God’s fault. And eventually, I figured that the screw ups go all the way back to Adam and Eve. Humanity has spent thousands of years blaming God for our own mistakes instead of thanking God for his forgiveness. I wish I’d have understood then, but I am glad I know that now. Somebody must have been praying for me. I think that’s why God finally showed me the truth about Jesus.”

The heart rate monitor begins to show signs of flatlining. With minutes to go, you share with Pat how you’ve prayed on and off for years, ever since that night. Pat thanks you and blesses you for it. Just before midnight, Pat asks if you two could pray together one last time, and you do.

Your friend dies just after 2 a.m., but you know you’ll meet again someday.


The end.