I had just gotten out of the hospital, and was feeling like they should have sent me to the morgue instead. it was the middle of August with 100% humidity and no air conditioning. The barge I had been living on for the past five years was tied to some trees on a busted levy on the Sacramento delta. I would occasionally jump into the slough to cool off during the night only to gain a few winks of twilight sleep before resuming my tossing and turning.
Suddenly there was a thud in the pit of my chest like the fattest open string on a bass guitar. The pitch black darkness didn't help matters, and I lay there frozen for what seemed like an eternity. I didn't know if the grim reaper was hovering over me waiting for some signs of life to make sure he had the right address or perhaps there was some heroin addict looking to slit my throat before rummaging through my things for a few bucks to contribute to his next fix.
A light began to shine in the distance. As it increased in brightness and intensity, I could see that there was no one in the room. The light then made its way down the hallway, and I along with it to see if the bathroom, the other bedroom and the main salon were also empty of any intruders. I checked the door. It was latched, but not locked so that left only the possibility of the grim reaper or some other demonic entity tormenting my troubled soul.
I later learned that someone had been on the run from the law, and a sheriff's boat had been out with four HUGE stadium type flood lights searching the waterfront for him. As I stood in the darkness again. I fumbled around for something to light the room, and found an old black and white 12 volt tv I had stashed in the closet of the second bedroom. I had a few batteries keeping another boat afloat, but I had one available to power up this tv. It was around midnight and the only channel that had a signal was now announcing "The Shepherd's Chapel with your host, Pastor Arnold Murray". He welcomed his viewing audience and began reading from the bible.
An hour later the show was over, but then, lo and behold, it was yet another episode, and then another and another. Six full hours of the Shepherd's Chapel. After the last episode had aired, I went back to sleep for a few hours before going for a walk. I began to frequent church services, and bible study groups, while watching The Shepherd's Chapel every night for the next two weeks.
I got so hooked on Pastor Arnold Murray's glowing recommendations for The Companion Bible that I bought a copy for myself along with a Strong's Concordance. I still have that tattered bible along with an new large print edition which in an attempt to preserve, I try not to move from my desk.
Contrary to popular opinion, a tattered bible is not a sign of piety.
It is the tell-tale sign of a tormented mind.