I had a discussion with my eldest son the other day. Someone had asked me if I wanted to submit a story to one of their anthologies. Usually I am pretty open to submitting my work to all different kinds of publishers, but this particular genre was horror. “It is hard to convey a good message of faith in a horror story,” my son said. I have to disagree. People are placed in terrible situations every day, and usually it is these exact circumstances that make their moral fortitude shine through. It is really easy to put good people in bad situations in stories because the good guy is always trying to help in those situations. So yes, I think you can really convey good morals through the horror genre. That being said, I don’t think there are a lot of writers trying to. Most of them take you to a place you don’t want to be, make you consider things you probably rarely think about, and then LEAVE you there. I guess that’s why I have a little trepidation over writing in that particular genre. I don’t like leaving my readers like that. I want my readers to come away from my stories thinking, but I want them be thinking about how good a certain character acted or reacted. I grew up wanting to be those heroes in the stories, and that’s what I want my readers to want. I haven’t decided on whether or not I am going to submit yet. Only because I am not sure if I can pull off a horror story that leaves my reader in a place I don’t mind leaving them, but I will be sure and let you all know if I do. Then you can be the judge.
I remember a sermon I once heard while attending Welcome No. 1 Baptist Church. It was quite a while back, and I don’t recall who the preacher was (I was really young). The preacher said that he had prayed for a message to bring to the congregation and the Lord had granted him one on the unrepentant going to hell. This can’t be right, the preacher thought. Everyone that attends church has been saved. I know them all. The preacher brought the message that the Lord had given him, and no one moved. The Spirit that had given him the message was at peace, so he knew he had obeyed as he should have. The following week the preacher prayed again, and again got a message on the lost going to hell. Again he preached the word and the Spirit was at peace. A third week went by and again another message on hell. After that the weeks that followed were the normal messages one would expect to be preached in a Believing Church. It was many months later before the reason for his messages were revealed. A man came up to the preacher and introduced himself.
“Preacher, you don’t know me, but I live by that little church where you pastor, and I just wanted to say thank you for preaching God’s Word. You see, I was in the field next to that little church one Sunday, and God convicted my heart. He dealt with me for three weeks. Three weeks I was in that field every Sunday, dreading hearing the Word, but knowing I had to hear it. On the 3rd week I was saved out there by an old stump. I just wanted to say thanks.”
I will remember that message to my dying day. It has given me strength at times when I thought I had none. Remember, sometimes God may ask you to do things that do not seem normal to you, and keep in mind you may never know why in this life, but God knows. And your actions may be the only thing that helps that ‘lost soul’ find His Way.
I turned on my radio today and heard Lady Antebellum singing ‘Hey Bartender’. As I listened to the lyrics of the song I felt saddened that this is how we are showing people how to deal with their problems. No, I am not preaching about alcohol. I talking about telling people to ‘drown’ their heartaches. That isn’t an answer. It’s a patch, maybe. Maybe it will cause you forget the pain. For a little while. We all have pain and suffering in this life. It is an integral part of it. There isn’t any way to avoid it, but getting drunk to forget about it isn’t going to help matters. If you’re drunk enough not to remember then you’re drunk enough to do something stupid. Something you could regret when you somber up enough to realize what you did. Yet here we are telling people that this will fix it for ya! This line of thinking led into how the media bombards us with messages of ‘Alcohol makes it better!’, ‘Drugs make it better!’, ’Sex makes it better!’. All these things are false leads. They are just patches that only work for a short duration, if that. There is no true resolutions there. These are pale imitations of things that the Devil throws at you to keep you from realizing the truth. Not only that, they usually come with a multitude of ‘fish hooks’ embedded in them, and the more you use them the better chance you have of getting snared by something that is only going to make the situation worse. When you base your happiness in this world, the pain of loss or tragedy can become too great to bear. So you cover it up with patches. There is a better way. Talk to the Tailor. You think that if He created all things that He can’t fix a torn heart?
I try to be positive in my outlook on life. If you keep the positive thoughts going it brightens your day and usually increases the chances of good things happening to you. And I have so much to be thankful for, you would think it wouldn’t be hard to ‘stay in the positive’. Even so, sometimes you get caught in the negativity trap. Sometimes all it takes is one negative comment or a tragic story on the news to demolish that feeling of well-being, and send you spiraling out of control into a vortex of cynicism and dark thoughts. I lived in that darkness for a very long time, and it took a conscious decision for me to escape the bonds of said darkness. I know for a long time I thought optimistic people were just wearing rose-colored glasses. I labeled myself a realist instead of the pessimist that I was. I believed I was looking at things as they really are and facing circumstances by planning for the worst and hoping for the best. I didn’t realize that by putting so much into ‘planning for the worst’ was causing me to expect it. And really, when you expect something to happen you sometimes end up subconsciously making it happen. And really the best plans are usually limited to damage control if something bad happen anyway. Negativity is a trap, my friends, and it hides under many different disguises. It sneaks up on you under the illusion of ‘being realistic’. A lot of times, our reality is actually shaped by our attitude. So when your ‘tude’ is attuned to the negative side, all you see is the negative choices. So when you run across those ‘optimists’ with their head in the clouds and that dreamy smile on their lips, stop and think about your attitude. Which would you rather do wallow in the mud or bathe in the sunshine? In the end the choice is yours.