THE SHOCKING STORY OF ROSS PURCELL
In about five minutes, or maybe even less, Ross Purcell knew that he would be dead.
Most people seem to die from automobile accidents or heart attacks. Many older men and women meet their demise simply by growing old and their bodies ceasing to function the way they have for 70 or 80 or 90 years or so. But here he was, Ross Purcell, or R.P. as many of his friends called him, at the point of death because of some freak accident. Why him, he questioned over and over in his mind? At his prime at 40 years old, Ross Purcell’s name was known in the building industry as the best in the business. Sure, his homes were expensive, but as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. And these executive types with their fancy wife’s and perfect children didn’t mind handing over a half of a million dollars for one of his finest! The bulky, somewhat overweight man moved slightly as his mind flashed to what brought him to this predicament.
Ross had heard about a great land deal only two counties above where he lived. He could have scheduled an appointment for next week to see the property, but he wanted to take no chance at missing this bargain that could eventually bring him well over a million dollars profit.
So Ross turned down the offer of attending church this morning and decided to drive up and scan the possible investment site. His wife, Maggie, who was quite upset at Ross’ decision, and his 4 year-old daughter Mary, still went however. Maggie had been pestering Ross lately about bringing religion into the family and Ross had grown tired of it very quickly. It was all that fellow’s fault, Mark whats-his-name, that she worked with, who showed up at his house a few Thursdays ago with the preacher of his church. Ross recalled what a sight both of them were; Bibles in hand and everything. They even had the nerve to ask Ross to turn the television off!
Anyhow, Ross remembered it crystal clear. Maggie sat listening to every word and Ross trying to politely ignore the two of them as they quoted Bible verses and talked about Jesus dying for he and Maggie’s sins. Though there was one phrase that the Pastor had said that strangely stuck with Ross since then. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” The big man normally could only remember the latest sports scores, yet these words kept popping into his head! In fact, even as he was walking the land, those very words seemed to gnaw at him, to haunt him almost.
Anyway, as the important Ross Purcell was happily calculating home sites and how to minimize expenses, he neglected to see the large hole that he stepped into! Of course, part of that was due to the brush that almost camouflaged the entire crevice. Down he went! And a long fall it was, at least to Ross it seemed twenty feet! The worst part of it was that when he dropped he caused many layers of dirt and debris to follow him, trapping the big man, leaving him no way to escape!
That was hours ago and the air was running out! Every breath was a chore! Guessing that he had just a few minutes at the most, Ross struggled again to suck some air into his pleading lungs. His mind racing, knowing the end was coming drastically closer every second, he began to panic. He could barely move as well, which frustrated him greatly and aided in his frenzy. Thoughts that he was sure would be his last came and went. Maggie! No more Maggie! And his little Mary! Too never see them again...for his precious Mary to grow up without a father, what would ever become of her? No more nice cars and name brand living! What does it matter now?
Again, Ross inhaled to the best of his ability but it was only a fraction of a normal breath. Tears formed as he began to cry like a baby.
Suddenly the thought came again. “What shall it profit a man...” Maybe the preacher was right? Surely he was a sinner, Ross decided instantly. Thoughts came to him now as he saw things in a different light. Terrible thoughts! Lying...his drunken binges...his lust...he was lost! It was clear now, he was doomed! There was no hope for him! In mere seconds Ross somehow knew that he would enter that horrible place that he had laughed about for years-that place of blackness and yes...fire! If only he had another chance! Then the big man remembered the words of the preacher. Those words too had new meaning. With every ounce of his strength, Ross Purcell lifted up his eyes to the darkness above him. I will turn to you Jesus, his heart cried out, save me from this death and I will believe on you. There was no more will power, no more time, no more air. Long seconds, perhaps even a full minute came and went as Ross drifted in and out of consciousness. It was over. Darkness......but then...something...was it...could it be...yes it was! A faint, a very faint light! Then followed noise. A steady, hammering noise! Ross could see, his lungs started filling with air...he could breath! Ross was alive and he was going to be saved! With a fresh energy, Ross kept looking up and was rejoicing! He saw some sort of machine tearing up the soil. They found him!
Just minutes later the shaken man was above ground. Two men had pulled him out and steadied him and in a shorter time than expected, Ross had regained his strength and soon his lightheadedness too, was gone. “They told us you might be up here somewhere sir” stated the taller of the two. Ross looked at both of them. They wore coveralls labeled with a power company insignia. “I thought you would be a rescue team or something, or from the sheriff’s department, you work for the electric company?” Ross questioned. The shorter man employee answered now. “Mister, you were out in the middle of nowhere. You would have been dead by the time anyone got out here. The sheriff called after your wife could not get hold of you. We just happened to be in the area putting some poles in and we saw this notebook...then we saw where we guessed you fell in.” Ross eyed the logbook. It was his for sure. “Well, thanks” He said as he took the journal and shook both of their hands. “Thank you two so much for savin’ my life.” The rejoicing was quick and then Ross turned to walk away. Glancing at the land, monetary figures began speeding through his mind again. Here he was, the Ross Purcell. Good as new and ready to make some money. So he lost a few hours? Suddenly he recalled the pleading he did the last few seconds in the hole...his promise to turn to Jesus. Taking a deep breath, Ross gave a satisfied look as he gazed at the acreage around him. That’ll have to wait, he decided. Maybe later he would let Jesus save his soul. Paying no attention to the screaming voices of the two men behind him, Ross turned and unknowingly stepped onto a live wire and immediately hundreds of thousands of volts went through his body, then he fell to the ground and died.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”