YOU CAN'T CHANGE ME: Unraveling the Lie


Chapter 38


Narrator: Merle told Luke that Bee had been in bed moping, since learning of his moving back to California to start a new shelter.
Merle: Luke, I want Bee to go through the program with me, Luke.
Luke: Mama V doesn't have a drug or alcohol problem. Neither do you. She...
Merle: That's not all this program is for, Luke. We're qualified and prepared to help people with ALL types of addictions, bondage, marriage problems, depression, behavior problems, stress and more. We've contracted with other agencies and I'm meeting with Ben to try and combine our programs. Luke...Bee NEEDS help and I need help and I'm not too OLD or PROUD to admit it. Things are good between us, but they could be better. I want Bee to be okay, if something happens to me.
Luke: Papa V...
Merle: No, no, I want you to listen to me, Luke, things have changed. It's not just about all the time we were addicted to grieving and forgot how to live our lives together, trusting and obeying God! This is about being prepared to meet Him!
[Luke gave Merle a blank stare, suddenly aware of what he was trying to say and struggled to process and accept this unwelcome information. He couldn't imagine life without this man he'd come to love so dearly and respect.]
Now, that you've been ordained and you're going to be leaving and starting up your own ministry...well...Bee's taken to grieving even harder. I can't talk to her about it. She won't listen!
Luke: I'll talk to her, Papa V.
[Luke went to the visit Bee.]
Bee: ...What am I going to do, Luke? Merle is always down at the church and shelter. We barely have any customers at the chapel, since we started taking them by appointment, only. Now, you're leaving! What am I going to DO? We're probably going to be forced out of business, soon, anyway! We might as well CLOSE the chapel!
Luke: Forced out of business...forced out of business by who, Mama V?
Bee: The world, sweetheart. Merle refuses to marry gay couples or take on somebody else who will. He's been wanting to go back into full-time ministry for a long time. I know he only kept the chapel for me. I got real sick after Denny died.
Merle said we needed a change of scenery--to get away from everything that reminded us of Denny. Las Vegas and the wedding chapel was my idea. I know he's been unhappy. He's probably tired of me being such a burden. I've probably destroyed my husband and my marriage by being so selfish.
Luke: No, listen, Mama V. One night, after prayer service, Papa V confided in me. He said that after Denny died and you ended up getting so sick, he was empty inside. He didn't know how to love God and he didn't know how to love people. He wanted to leave the ministry. The chapel wasn't just for you. He said it was a type of compromise he made in order to not give up completely...
Bee: He couldn't LOVE people? He didn't love me? I turned him against EVERYTHING!
(Bee buries her head into her pillow and sobs. Luke grabs her hand and puts his face down to hers.)
Luke: Noooo, no Papa V LOVES you and he never stopped loving you. He'd do ANYTHING for you. Losing Denny took a tole on him, too. It just effected him differently.
He's not unhappy. He's working down at the shelter now and he's GREAT with the guys. They've got a full-time ministry now because of him and they can support the shelter. We can help even more people now! That's why I MUST leave!
It's time for YOU to stop being busy and start being PRODUCTIVE! Papa V needs you down at the church and the shelter. He wants and needs you in ALL of his life.
Mama V you helped him keep going all of these years. He told me...he told me that after Denny died, he couldn't have gone on if it wasn't for loving you so much.
--And me...I'm still ALIVE because of you and Papa V!
You''re like the mother and father I never had. (Tears well up in Luke's eyes as he hugs Bee) You've got to be strong Mama V and help me do this. I need you!
Bee: (trying to stop crying) Okay, but you have to come and visit whenever you can.
Luke: Of course! And I'll send for you sometimes, once I get settled.

SEVENTEEN YEARS LATER: In a hospital outside of Denver, Colorado.

Bee: Denny?
Linda (Luke's wife) : No mama, it's me and Luke.
[A nurse whispers to the couple standing in the doorway.]
Nurse: I'm glad you came quickly. We don't expect her to make it through the night. Her heart is real weak. She's a tough lady, though. She goes in and out, but, most of the time she's still in control of her faculties.
[Linda can't hold back her tears and grabs and hugs her son. Luke goes to Bee's side.]
Luke: Mama, it's Luke.
Bee: Oh, it's my other son, the one God left on my doorstep.
(Luke manages a chuckle that ends in tears)
Luke: Yes, Mama, but, we brought Little Denny with us. Merle's watching Meryl at home. Denny insisted on coming.
Bee: Denny? Where are you at boy?
[A boy about six years old timidly approaches the bed, but Bee begins to wheeze and gasp for air, so he runs to his mother.
Bee's eyesight has grown so dim, that she can't see the boy and holds her frail, skeleton of a hand out for him. Denny looks up at his mother, who motions for him to go to Bee. A big and healthy-looking boy, he is the spitting image of his father. Tears stream down his rosy cheeks.]
Denny: I'm-I'm here gramma. (He grips her hand tightly and sobs)
Bee: Now, now my little shadow, that's not what we talked about. You've got to be strong for the family now--your big brother Merle, your sister, little Meryl, the baby on the way and your mommy and daddy. Linda? Linda?
Linda: Yes ma'am. I'm still here.
Bee: Don't you let Luke talk you into naming that baby Bertha or Earlene; not even for a middle name.
(Linda looks at Luke and smiles)
Linda: Yes, Ma'am. We have a name picked out now--Katherine Belinda Thomas. Luke said you were Katherine Hepburn when he met you and we put Bee and Linda together for the middle name.
(Bee tries to laugh, but ends up gasping for air. Denny is terrified)
Denny: (sobbing) DADDY?!!
Luke: It's alright, Denny. She's going to be alright!
(Bee tries to call out Luke's name rather hoarsely.)
Bee: Lucas Matthew Thomas! You know how I hate lies, now. Quit lyin' to the boy. I'm dyin' over here!
Luke: I think mama's had enough, now. We've tired her out. It's time to go.
Linda: Me and the kids love you dearly, mama. Thank you for being in our lives and being so good to us. I'll make sure ALL of the kids NEVER forget you.
(Denny bursts out sobbing, loudly)
Denny: GRAMMA, GRAMMA I don't want you to DIE!
Luke: SHHhh... DENNY! Linda, please take him outside to the waiting area.
(Linda and Denny give Bee a hug and kiss, then leave, whimpering and crying.)
Bee: Are you leavin' Luke?
Luke sits in the only chair in the hospital room, which is over by a window. He leans over to pull the blanket up around Bee's shoulders, lays his head beside hers and speaks softly into her ear.
Luke: I told you fifteen years ago when we lost Papa V...
Mama V, I'm never leavin' your side.
Bee: (trying to smile) We were quite a messed up pair when we met. Weren't we?
Luke: Yes...yes we were. I was pretty lost.
Bee: But then...Jesus...Jesus changed everything.
Luke: Yes, Mama V. Yes, He did.
Bee: You know I love you, Luke. Thank... (she begins to gasp for air and Luke adjusts her oxygen tubes on her face)
Luke: Don't try to talk, Mama, just rest.
[Using his arms for a pillow, Luke lays his head down on Bee's bed to rest beside her and ends up falling asleep, himself. He awakens to a hand on his head.]
Luke: Mama V?
[In one last exhale, Bee speaks.]
Bee: ...Jesus
[Holding her hand, Luke cries out.]
Luke: MAMA V?!!..........mama v?
[Lights out. Total darkness.]


Luke: I want to thank everyone for all the kind and comforting words during my mother’s illness and during me and my family’s time of grieving. Thank you for the cards, flowers, donations and the time you spent helping Mama V, me and Linda, and our children.
[Luke fights back tears, puts on a brave smile and announces his sermon.]
My FRIENDS, as my Papa V would say when he came to visit us, "Sit back and fasten your seat-belts, because we're mounted upon eagle's wings and we're gettin' ready to soar! Let's talk about, WHEN HUMOR BECOMES A BUSINESS!
One of our teenagers once asked me what it was like to grow up with an addict parent. I told them it was like never waking up from your worst nightmare and living it over and over again.
Then, they looked at me curiously and I could tell they were pondering the same question that haunted me everyday of my addict life. Why would you become an addict after suffering as a child with a parent who was an addict? Perhaps, this will help to explain...
Many great comedians have become lost or died due to depression, drugs or alcohol addiction. They help to heal others by making them laugh at their mistakes and lives, while they are unable to be healed and move past their own mistakes. Laughter is no longer a coping method. It has become a stressful business, affecting their personal lives. Their happiness in the world is fleeting--a quick high, that comes crashing down. They have no true Joy, which is everlasting.
Satan has his way, because they have no Rock and no Foundation. They are drifting in a world which can only hear the humor and not the pain behind it. The world, which is neither interested in their heart or spirit nor their life, doesn't even notice they are drifting off, until they are completely lost at sea.
As a child, I was in constant pain and anguish, causing me to have headaches and behavior problems. I had a sister who was sexually abused and committed suicide. Shortly after that, my mother died from a drug overdose. I was passed around from foster home to foster home and no one really paid attention to the details behind my behavior, just the erratic behavior they produced. So, I drifted away.
Becoming an addict is like being that burnt out comedian. There's no more joy in getting high anymore. It's a business that occupies all of your time to keep it going. Until you let go of pain, pride, fear, shame, guilt or whatever is keeping you in bondage, you'll be in the business of being an addict all of your life, trying to find joy and happiness. Drugs become that little bit of canned laughter you can always count on to make you a hit and give you a false since of peace and the false esteem that you need. However fleeting the feelings may be, they're packaged and ready for you at your convenience, as long as you can pay for them. And PAY FOR THEM, YOU WILL!
Until you stop being angry, bitter, hating or prejudice, you'll be working to stay angry, bitter and hateful the rest of your life; not knowing true joy. You will be a slave to your dark emotions and feelings that will keep you in bondage to Darkness.
We shouldn't have to work at being happy and having joy. Neither should we expect others to make us happy or bring us joy. We need only to know the TRUTH!
The world has redefined happiness and joy and fooled us all at some time or another into believing that the world and worldly things and the flesh can give us HAPPINESS. So, we search in the world and become so entangled in Satan's lies that we end up far from the Truth, confused, tired, selfish, depressed, jealous, greedy and so on. Sometimes, forgetting what we were searching for in the beginning, we settle or give in to the lies that fame, fortune, status, beauty, sex, power, drugs and material things can make us happy. And, because we have buried the DETAILS, hidden the facts and circumstances of our lives and refused to face what is truly in our hearts preventing true joy, there is no GROWTH; no change in the RIGHT direction. So, we fall ASLEEP or become truly LOST. MANY embrace the Darkness, walking in sin and death. Pleasing SELF, the flesh, has become their means to, what the adversary has fooled them in to believing is, happiness in the world.
When God uses us to help change others we must pay attention to the tiny details in their lives. We must hear past the laughter and humor, or the anger, bitterness and hatred that has become their business, to hear the pain and understand why it is there. In other words, we must do as Jesus saw His Father do. We must pursue a RELATIONSHIP with them. We must give them something to hold on to, so they won't drift away. I drifted away, using the only method I knew to take pain away; the one that my mother taught me--drugs and alcohol.
Later, this very astute young man asked me, "Can you ever go back to see old friends from your old life of sin and bondage?" Yes! I told him. Life is about relationships! If you truly love them as Christ loves us, you will. You have Jesus with you and if you abide in Him, He is enough to keep you from falling into sin.
If you love those you've left behind, you will go as Jesus' Ambassador, giving your testimony. They know who you were, but when they see Jesus in you, they will see who you have become in Him.
Does this mean that you will change them? Yes, for they will have heard and been effected by the changing power of TRUTH! But, this does not mean that you will SAVE them. They will either be drawn to the TRUTH or spend the rest of their lives hardening their heart trying to REPEL, CHANGE or DESTROY its indestructible, never changing power.
You must be prepared to accept God's Will, for the Word of God draws or repels, opening or closing hearts to The Truth, The Way and The Life.
If you love your Father and Jesus, who have Transformed you into a new man or woman, you will continue to pray for your wayward family and friends and others like them to be delivered from whatever type of bondage they are in, that they also, may enter the Kingdom to have abundant and eternal life. You will offer to pray with them and invite them to taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
(He thinks of Merle, who helped save him that night on the rooftop.) You will tell them that God has a plan for their lives, better and beyond their imagination. You will tell them The Good News of the Kingdom, that requires them to repent.
Let not your heart be troubled if they don't join you, if they laugh at you or ridicule you, remember...God's Word either draws or repels. They have not rejected you. They have rejected God, GOD OF THE LIVING and NOT the God of those who are DEAD!
Who knows? Perhaps, you have left something behind (a seed) to ignite the spark of true deliverance and the next Story of Transformation will begin. Perhaps, we won't even have to wait one or two years for the sequel.
NARRATOR: Yes, My Brothers and Sisters, I AM LUKE. –And I’ve written this story hoping to help you look into your heart and the hearts of others for the details that can connect them with God and help you form a better relationship with them.
GOD OF THE LIVING and what a WONDERFUL God He is to serve!
Bless you my Brothers and Sisters. God's blessings and protection be upon you! My love abounds and hopes for you and yours.
[Luke turns to face camera 2 on his left. The camera zooms in on his face.]
LIGHTS OUT. Spotlight on Luke.
Hey! You out there! Yes, I'm talking to you. I've been where you are, in the dark, watching someone else's life, hoping to forget about my own. You don't have to live one more day in darkness, shame, guilt, anger, bitterness, sorrow, regret or bondage. It all starts with your heart. Give it to God and let him change you. I didn’t think I could be changed either, but that was before I met Bee and Merle Vickers. Perfect Love can have that effect on you.
There IS a better life, here on Earth, within God's Kingdom. Drop what you're doing right now, don't look back and start following Jesus. He will lead you to abundant and eternal life. Hope to see you there!

Published by Mishael T