Billy the Believer
Taken from the book, "The Voices Within Us" by Jim Stewart
This is Billy Joe's story.
I was living in Nashville with my family, but I was chasing women, doing drugs, drinking booze and chain smoking Camel cigarettes. I was almost dead. I got so bad, I couldn't even put two words together, much less write a song. I put my family through hell.
One particular night, I had a vision of Jesus Christ sitting on the edge of my bed, shaking his head. It was like a bright light. In the middle of the night, I went oput and got in my pick-up truck. I drove myself to the Harpeth River. I went there because my son, Eddy, had shown me this place. He told me this place was real spiritual. A pretty big cliff overlooks the river. I climbed to the top of that cliff, right above a naturally built altar. I knew that there were two ways that I could go that night: either jump off that cliff or give all up to Jesus Christ. I crawled down to that alter. For a while, I wasn't sure of what was really happening, but then it hit me right between the eyes. I had seen Jesus Christ and I had talked to God. I asked him to give me my life back. While I was out ther on that cliff, I started writting a song, "I'm Just an Old Chunck of Coal, But I'm Gonna Be a Diamond One Day." This song tell how I try to live my life each and every day. Thanks you, Jesus.
* That night Billy had planned on killing himself. He bought a gun and a bottle of wine. Instead he wrote a number one hit song for John Anderson. He also discovered Jesus Christ.
He was telling me one time about that night and said, "I went back to the hotel room to get the gun and go on home. I accidently pulled the trigger and several rounds went off in the ceiling and walls." '" I learned one other thing that night, Don't use an automatic pistol."