Updated: Aug 12, 2022
Below is an excerpt from Eric Soldahl's book, From Hero to Zero.
A Poem from the Bedroom
With fall came more than a change of seasons. There was a change of heart. In the middle of the night I woke up abruptly in my basement bedroom at Center Street. I heard “Awake!” and the sound of a trumpet on perfect pitch. Often there was music in my dreams. Opening my eyes all was quiet and dark. I felt an amazing warm glow all around me.
I recalled the night at the Billy Graham Crusade. I considered my faith and how I was conflicted—afraid to tell others about Jesus.
Why was I so reluctant to go forward in that sea of souls?
My faith had been challenged since returning from Europe and questioning the Catholic Church having so much money. The Vatican even had its own bank and currency.
My summer had been filled with parties, pot, music and girls. Now here in my room, I lit a candle and got down on my knees. I began to weep and said a simple prayer: “Oh God, thank you for my life, please forgive me and let Jesus rule my heart from now on.” I was sixteen years old on a warm fall night in 1971.
In the morning, I woke up late for school and grabbed a doughnut while running out the door. I jogged past Cull Canyon Lake and up the hill to Canyon High. Oh no! Upon arriving, I remembered my poetry final was due that morning; a reading of an original poem in front of our class. While waiting in line for our teacher, Doug Rogers, I hastily scribbled something on the doughnut napkin. Of course my turn came first. This is what I read to my High School poetry class:
It wasn’t when I was a baby
as water was poured from a shell upon my head
It wasn’t while dressed up
as a “wise man” during a Christmas play
It wasn’t while reciting a verse to a congregation
to confirm my faithful memory
And it wasn’t while raising my hands shouting “Glory!”
along with thousands in a sea of new faith…
but that’s o.k. if it is
But it was just last night
And it was in my little room
That an angel sang to me: “Awake!”
And I fell down to my knees
Thanking God for saving me--
In one word: It’s spelled: “J-E-S-U-S.”
The classroom was silent. I sat down and folded the napkin, and pressed it into my pocket.
At the end of class, Mr. Rogers asked for our written poems to be turned into him. I just sat there for a while contemplating my napkin. After waiting for everyone to leave, I approached his desk.
“Did you write that on your way to school?” He asked. I pulled the crumpled napkin out and nodded a ‘yes’ while handing it to him.
“Quite an accomplishment,” he smiled, “how did you fit all that on here?” My favorite teacher held up the napkin, while a few doughnut crumbs fell to the floor.
“More importantly,” Mr. Rogers continued, “You made me believe this happened to you last night.”
As I backed out the classroom door, I stammered: “It did…it did.”
Link to From Hero to Zero by Eric Soldahl: