How to Change a Life
Twelve years passed in quick succession, yet nothing for the youth named Jiminy Puppeteer had changed.
Of course, he had grown from a curly haired young boy, to a subtle handsome youth of twenty-two, whose vision had faded over the years.
He had been forced to wear spectacles, which to the occasional lass made him look all the more appealing; yet as soon as they saw him in the company of his parents, they fled.
Throughout the years spent with his parents, they constantly griped and nagged him, begging him to stay until they died.
Sooner rather than later, was an unfortunate prayer he’d prayed one night.
While he always longed for a way out, Jiminy could never muster up the courage and actually leave.
When would he be a free man, when could he find his True Love of a lass and have a family of his own?
He’d always sworn that if he was blessed with kin of his own, he would raise them differently than he had been raised.
Jiminy did meet a few women during his travels, one was a beautiful, shy artist named Alice.
She was pleasant to talk to, yet Jiminy felt something in his mind that told him something about her was wrong; she wasn’t the one for him.
Alice had definitely given him something to think about.
“You could get away you know- just leave. We could leave together!”
Jiminy sighed. He and Alice had been meeting quietly in the glen of the village for two days now.
He’d known yesterday she wasn’t the one, yet he hoped she could be a friend; someone he could talk to.
Alice had other plans for the young thief it seemed, for in that next moment she placed hr lips upon his own, and kissed him.
Surprised, Jiminy waited a moment or two before he noticed her left hand. All of her fingers were the same tone, save one.
Her left ring finger had a sun line on it. Uh-oh!
Jiminy broke the kiss, his heart pounding with fear and regret. He grabbed her left hand for further inspection.
“I was considering friendship of you, but even that can’t be gained!”
Alice looked at him, his timeless blue eyes seemingly searching her soul.
A few seconds later she broke down. She told Jiminy about her husband, Jefferson, and their little girl, Grace.
“I was unhappy for a long while… I thought perhaps I could make a break for it during one of his acts, and find freedom…yet all for naught”
Jiminy could empathize somewhat, his ire with her dissipating.
“Have you tried to return?” he asked.
“Many times… yet I am afraid! What will he do to me? What will my daughter think?”
Jiminy shook his head. “I don’t have the answers” he said. “I’m no better, and no less guilty than you are, because I didn’t pull away from that kiss.”
She nodded, sheepishly, blushing in shame.
“What do I do?” she asked. Jiminy sighed. “Go. Return to your husband. Godspeed Alice”
Alice nodded. “Same to you, Jiminy. Thank you, and farewell!”
When Jiminy returned to the camp, his parents looked at him suspiciously.
“Where’ve you been?” Myra asked.
“Out” Jiminy answered.
“Out?” both of his parents asked, astonished at his tone of voice.
“Out” he confirmed, bidding them goodnight.
Every night Jiminy read from the book that a traveling minister had given him, by firelight. Tonight was no different.
This evening he was ending the Gospel of Matthew, wondering how so humble and perfect a person could do something so utterly selfless as to give up his life for those who hated him.
How could this man, this Jesus, as they called him, sacrifice himself for the wrongs of many, allowing himself to be nailed to a wooden cross?
Jiminy winced. He had a hard enough time dealing with the pain of splinters and the soreness he felt from lifting heavy boards.
The marvelous thing about Jesus, was not all of the good and marvelous things that he did, but the promise that he kept; rising from the dead after three days.
And he did it! Jiminy pondered that magicians always said that once a person died, they couldn’t be brought back. The power of God was the only way that Jesus could rise from the dead… as well as that man called Lazarus.
There were other dead people in this Bible that it was called, that had been raised from the dead, but Jesus was the one he longed to read about.
Jesus said he would be lifted up to die on the cross and after three days be risen again. Why? To save sinners… to save murderers and nearly adulterous thieves like him!
To save people from adultery and lying, cheating, among others. The deed may not last long, but the ramifications did.
Back then, if someone committed a crime, like the thief next to Jesus, they were punished and sentenced to death.
Jesus said himself: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
What did that mean? It meant that while a person still lives they should seek to have a personal, spiritual relationship with Jesus. .
If those who didn't believe in Jesus died, they would be forever separated from God, no matter what good things they did.
Jiminy shivered as he remembered the story of the rich man and the poor man named Lazarus he'd read in Luke.
Jiminy continued reading in Matthew and pondered the thief’s words: “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom”
He felt a connection with the thief. Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom
The thief’s eyes clouded up as he read the next sentence, Jesus’ own words: “Today you will be with me in Paradise”
Suddenly Jiminy heard the flap of the caravan and his father bickering with his mother.
He would tell them someday about what he learned, the salvation through faith he’d received, by first glancing then reading a later book called First Corinthians written by a man named Paul.
“God, I know I’m not perfect, and I know that I have helped my parents do many wrong things; I’ve cheated and I’ve stolen. Today I kissed another man’s wife! I’ve never prayed before, but if you can hear me, I want to say I’m sorry. Jesus, when I die, will you remember me into your kingdom? um… Amen”
That night, Jiminy felt a peace that he’d never felt before…
He could almost hear the wind whisper: Today you will be with me in Paradise…