Kickin’ crickets in the dark

by Kevin on November 17, 2010

Tom stumbled as he crossed the threshold into the bunkhouse. His didn’t trust his legs to carry him very much further and his eyes kept takin’ turns goin’ to sleep on him. The last few days of gatherin’ had sapped his strength. He couldn’t remember the last time he was so tired. Just a few more feet and the bed would welcome him home.

Tom was grateful for this job. He had looked long and hard for someone to take a chance on a cowboy who’s life had fallen so far. He had quit good places and been run off from sorry employment. He had gone days without food and been turned down so many times that he wondered if he would even survive the winter.

This job didn’t pay anything, but the rancher was willing to take a chance on a drunk. Tom knew he probably wasn’t cured of drunkeness, but he was at least in remission right now.

He sat down on the bed to pull his boots off. He was thankful that he was the only cowhand on the ranch right now. The bunkhouse was quiet and he would have paid a million dollars for it at that moment.

He groaned as his boot stubbornly held fast to his heel. As he leaned over for a bigger pull, he noticed a book on a little shelf beside the bed. He laughed silently as he mockingly prayed, “God, if you are in that Bible, please help me get my boot off and get some sleep.”

With his boots off, he didn’t bother with the rest. He blew the kerosene lamp out and welcomed sleep like a man dying of thirst welcomes water. A smile kissed his face as he felt sleep charging toward him.

The blindfold of sleep was yanked away from him at the last moment when he heard what seemed to be the loudest trumpet call of a cricket he had ever heard. He growled like a starving dog over a morsel of food and yanked the cover over his head.

With each chirp, sleep retreated and it was replaced by a burnin’ anger. His eyes refused to close now as he laid there listening to the sound of that little cricket. He stared at blackness that matched how his heart felt. He had always heard that it was bad luck to kill a cricket and he was about to find out if that little bug made one more squeak.

He jumped out of bed at the sound. A black rage enveloped him and was only made worse when he stepped right on his spur as he stood up. He cussed and grabbed his foot as he hopped one legged towards the sound in the dark. “Shut up!” he yelled into the darkness as he tried to zero in on the little monster.

Tom thought he had it located and even though he couldn’t see it, he kicked out with his bare foot in an attempt to snuff out the trumpeter. What he found instead was the skinny iron leg post of another bunk. The thin metal  slipped neatly in between his little toe and it’s neighbor.

His cry of pain drowned out the sound of the cricket as he hobbled back to his bunk. He sat down and nursed both of his feet. He lit the lamp and when the light touched the Bible he said, “Lot’s of help you were.”

He listened and heard nothing of his bunkhouse companion. He sat there quietly in the dark. Nothing made a sound.

Without even blowing the lamp out, he quietly laid back down and said another prayer. “I ain’t never talked to you before, but I really need some rest. Both my feet are busted and my body feels the same way. Now shut that bug up and give me what I need.”

…chirp, chirp…..

He honestly felt like cryin’. “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME??!!” he hollered as he turned over to face the light. As he listened to the chirpin’, his eyes once again fell on the Bible and he realized that he had never read a word it said. After a few moments of indecision, he picked it up and sat up in bed. He might as well, what had once been a solo performance had now become a bunkhouse cricket symphony.

His daddy’s name was John so he just started there. He read and he read. Things started to make sense. He felt that he had found what he had been searching for.

After John, he flipped around until he came to a book called Revelations. He scanned a little bit of it and then stopped when his eyes landed on 3:20.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…

This time, he did cry–and laughed at the silence of the room.

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  • When I was a kid, my brother and I shared a bedroom in the partially finished basement of our house. I remember many a night trying to go to sleep with a pillow over my head to drown out the sound of one or more crickets. The crickets were usually on the ledge over in the unfinished part of the basement where I could not get to them. Used to drive me nuts! Often I would collect a pile of toys, balls, or old shoes next to my bed so that when the cricket started chirping I could pick up a projectile and throw it in the general direction of the cursed noise. My hope was that the cricket would be quiet just long enough for me to get to sleep. It didn’t always work.

    How many times have I gathered junk like toys, balls, and old shoes around me to drown out the guilt of my sin only to find that the sound of my sin remains. I have learned that throwing the things of this world at my sin problem gets me no rest. The only solution to it is to take it to Jesus, who dealt the death blow to sin on the cross. He is the one who give rest for my soul.

    And I still don’t like crickets. –Richard

    • Kevin

      Your right Richard, the only way to really have rest in your soul is to have Christ take up residence there.

  • Don Coyote

    Having had to spend more time than I care to account for in big cities, little cities and towns in general, where the noises of sirens, car alarms, traffic, late night parties, etc. etc. etc. wouldn’t allow a dead man to sleep, I find the sounds of crickets, night birds, bats and owls are kinda like a lullaby. Sure do sleep well, with that kinda racket as opposed to the other. Dead silence brings me wide awake ’cause I know there’s somethin’ or someone afoot where it/he don’t belong.

    • Kevin

      I agree, when those things are outside. But a cricket inside my bedroom or a mouse chewing will keep me awake every time.

  • I never really thought about how much noise in my life until now. I always need to have music or talk radio playing in the background. I don’t have to listen to it, it just needs to be on and helping to drown out the silence. It makes me wonder if in a world so over-full with noise if we could even hear the sound of anyone knocking let alone the sound of Jesus.

  • Pingback: Beyond the noise part 1 « The Ignition Point()

  • Pingback: Beyond the Noise Part 2 « The Ignition Point()

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