Written on January 21st, 2007 by Shawn Anthony
The audible brush of his wheel chair’s rubber coated steal wheels gliding across the mahogany-stained, crack-gapped, hard wood floors was customarily accompanied by a broad sense of gloom that naggingly pricked at the remaining four senses of coherent individuals within an earshot of the notorious sound.
“Samuel Jay is coming,” the whispers would begin is a sort of disjointed unison, “Samuel Jay is coming!”
The wheel chair’s long distance sensory announcements regularly betrayed the Independent Bible College President’s predictably bitter descent upon what would undoubtedly otherwise be completely dumbfounded students. The students adapted and quickly evolved into a masterfully aloof group of escape artists who could normally manage to duck out of the range of his sunken blue eyes, which were framed proportionately upon an even sulkier countenance sandwiched between a whitish-yellow mop and beard. This unpopular headshot was typically topped off with an equally grumpy looking multi-colored painter’s cap, which Samuel Jay would peer out from under as he passed you during his regular glides around the hallways.
Samuel Jay never really aspired to become the President of the Bible College his demanding father founded and built from the ground up. He would have rather been behind the wheel of a PETERBILT 379EXHD, loaded to the brim with California almonds destined for Pennsylvania, New York, or even Ohio, listening to the “swoosh” of the air-brakes.
Perhaps everything would have been different, had it not been for that damned black-smoke pumping, rickety old John Deere tractor.
It wasn’t a terribly menacing piece of machinery. It was a simple farm tractor: two big traction promising wheels provided propulsion from the rear; and two tiny wheels granted control from the front. If it looked freighting at all, it was a result of the bright blue paint attached to it by students living in the sixties, who obviously found 5 inch hand brushes to be aesthetically pleasing enough for a farm tractor.
One fall afternoon, the deceptively docile and bright blue tractor turned on its twenty year old pilot and snapped his spine in half.
Forty-Five years later Samuel Jay could be found gliding in stealth mode around the archaic and time-trapped hallways of the Bible college he never wanted to head.
The most Holy and Sacred of settings could not have concealed the bitterness, disappointment, and anger attached to the man’s soul. It drove an irreconcilable wedge between him and the young twenty-something spiritual seekers surrounding him. No one cared for Samuel Jay’s constant criticism of everything that made life good. Students were saturated in youth and its prerequisite zest for life, but zest was a doorway to Sin, according to Samuel Jay. Students fell in love with other students, but love was just a euphemism for sex behind the burn-barrel. Students longed for afternoon Frisbee games beneath the warm ray’s of the local park’s sun, but this was pure laziness, at least when compared to polishing the mahogany-stained wood floors of the admin building and dorms. Samuel Jay’s personal concept of life, and everything within it, was, unfortunately, built upon the bitterness of loosing the ability to walk, the PETERBILT 379EXHD, and the girlfriend he had before the accident.
Christianity became his outlet, the dog he kicked every day in disgust. He ruled his father’s little Bible College with an iron fist. Demanding nothing short of perfect sanctification from every student who mistakenly enrolled. He spit, spat, and forced his bitter will upon everyone involved in the daily operations of the college.
Of course, everyone pushed back, in some form. This behavior is not unique. Students, professors, staff were all seduced by the overpowering bitterness, and they too became bitter. The fighting was epic. It destroyed the small college. That is not say that no one tried to get through to Samuel Jay, and show him the love his bitterness seemingly took from him. Many did try, a few may have even experienced a bit of success. In the end it was not enough.
Samuel Jay damaged some who would have followed Christ to Christian maturity. They instead slid away permanently, because of his poor example. He angered others. They fought back, in vain. A few others went on with their lives and forgot all about him, while they held tight to their faith and followed Jesus Christ. They were the wise ones! One poor man’s example is no reason to discard Jesus Christ and the Christian faith. It can be an excuse, but it is never a reason.
One time someone even tried giving Samuel Jay a bouquet of flowers, but the man simply linked the giving of gifts to the giver’s dire necessity to hide something from him.
Perhaps someone should have tried a fistful of flowers.