Keith Atwood is the lead guitarist of Kicking and Taking, a heavy metal band from the late eighties. Their lyrics and lifestyle are replete with controversy. After three albums, Keith leaves and never comes back. What became of him? A life-changing event. Now, it is up to the public to believe him.
Wise Turned Foolish Excerpt
“Are you on the highway to hell?” Keith heard this on the radio a few nights later. “Or are you just living on a prayer?” The man asked this to attempt to get listeners’ attention on WIMZ, the classic rock radio station.
Keith loved AC/DC; the “Highway to Hell” reference annoyed him. He played the guitar riff of that song a lot. It amazed everyone when he did. When he was with Kicking and Taking, plenty of mail had come in telling the band they were going there if they continued doing what they did. Was the mail, and the band members’ responses to it, now coming back to haunt him.
This commercial continued. “Well, take the stairway to heaven. Hi! I’m Pastor Rick Carey. Join us at Rock Solid Church for our Sunday morning service at ten. I teach solid biblical teaching and offer a safe church atmosphere for you and your family. Our church is very warm and welcoming, and there is a place for you.”
A week later as he was surfing the channels on TV one late night, he came across a religious broadcast called Your Life Matters. Is there something you need? Do you feel like your life is a mess? Do you need someone to pray with you? Call this toll-free number.
Assuming it was a twenty-four-hour line, he dialed the number.
“Your Life Matters. My name is Ellen. How may I serve you today?” A woman who sounded like she was in her mid-forties answered. If it was in such a way to comfort the caller and impress her employer, she did well at both.
Heavily inebriated, and in a raised voice, Keith said, “I’d like to speak with Jesus Christ please.”
“I’ll be more than happy to pray with you. Is there-“
“I’D LIKE TO SPEAK WITH JESUS CHRIST!” Keith repeated, shouting so loudly the entire street could hear him.
“We can both speak with Him by-“
“Lady, you don’t understand. I have some connection to Jesus Christ. Apparently, you don’t.” He hung up and bent his arm to the point of the toilet, eventually passing out on the cold bathroom tile floor.
When he woke up, he was lying on his side in the doorway between the bathroom and the hallway. His hair was disheveled and in his face. As he gradually regained consciousness, he brushed his hair away from his eyes, trying to figure out where he was and how he had gotten there. He noticed he had thrown up on the floor.
As he slowly made his way on to his hands and knees, he placed a hand to his chest and felt it was bare. He glanced at the dragon tattoo on his chest. He felt his legs, he was wearing jeans. His head hurt, he felt light-headed…and empty, a condition he had been running on for many years.
Looking around him, he assessed it was morning. A bright light shone from the window into the bathroom.
Sitting with his back up against the wall, he simultaneously wiped away strands of his hair and remorseful tears from his face. He couldn’t remember the last time he cried. Guitar gods didn’t do that.
The desperation in his voice matched his hysterical crying. He looked up and all around him, many times out the window, panting, trying to catch his breath in between sobs and his simple plea to God. He repeated it, getting louder and more desperate each time. Through blurred eyes, he managed to get himself up on his knees, his elbows propped on them, his face buried in his hands.
You need Him.
Wasn’t that what Reuben told him at his bedside when he was lying on his hospital bed?
When he gathered enough strength, he crawled to the phone and called him, his only lifeline.
“Hello?” It was Sandra. She sounded bright and perky, like the morning person Reuben had described her.
“Um…uh…Sandra?” He said, struggling with each word, his head resting on the edge of the bed. With the other hand, he compulsively pulled his hair behind his ear.
“Yes, this is she,” she said, every word enunciated and articulate.
“This is Keith.”
“Keith, are you okay?”
“No,” he said, his voice low, almost quivering, trying to fight back more tears. He leaned his head on the edge of the bed in anticipation of what he was going to say. It was hard, but he had to do it.
“What can we do for you?” Keith was thankful she asked that. In that way, that could break the awkward silence between the two of them, and he could buy a few more seconds to say what he needed to.
“I…uh…well…” After a few more deep breaths he said, “I’d like to go to church with you tomorrow.”
About Author Faye Wilson Walton
Faye Wilson Walton is a Christian fiction author. Her themes include drugs, alcohol, depression, suicide, grief, and pursuing dreams, as well as music, the church, and various personal relationships. She is the author of The Long Road Around the Corner of Hope, Crawling to the Light, and Wise Turned Foolish.
When she is not writing, she is reading a variety of books, listening to classical or classic rock music, playing drums, baking, or training for a marathon. She lives with her husband David in Knoxville, Tennessee. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.