The Conversation

I looked around the living room at the various family photos, the little knick-knack shelves and the china case in the corner that also harbored some sports trophies; mainly football. The furniture was nice - not new - but comfortable. It was a "lived in" home, not a showcase. A family lived here, played here, ate here, talked here and loved here.

He was a man in his early thirties, starting to lose a little hair on top and gaining a little weight around his middle. He probably had once been well-built - but not like a body builder - and lean, with very little fat cushioning his muscles. It's amazing what a few years out of high school will do to you. Your parents try and tell you that you won't be a bottomless pit forever, and that you'll need to watch your weight "someday," but when you're young, "someday" is an eternity away. And suddenly you turn around and your body has betrayed you. The pounds have started to settle on; you play softball and wake up stiff the next day; your forehead seems to be getting bigger and you have to suck in your belly to see what notch you're putting your belt in. It happens to all of us. Don't I know!

We talk about the fishing tournament from the past weekend, and about work and what our wives are up to, and I mention that Vacation Bible School is coming up. That brings us around to church a little bit, and I tell him that I really enjoy hearing his wife in the choir. He fidgets a bit in his chair. He knows what's coming, and so he decides to head me off before I get there.

"Yeah, she really enjoys the music you guys have been doing, and I gotta tell you, I was really sorry to miss the Easter Pageant but my mom had that thing, y'know, and I couldn't get out of going home. And ever since, I've been getting up to see them whenever I can and with all the extra stuff at work these days and all, it really cuts into a my schedule, y'know?"

I assure him that I understand family comittments and the way grown children end up having to take on extra responsibilties when their parents begin to show signs of aging. He relaxes a little.

When I arrived that evening, I wasn't sure I was going to ask him, but it seemed like now was the right time. Before I knew it, I heard myself asking him, "Can I ask you a question? In your personal opinion, what do you understand that it takes for a person to get to Heaven?" [Continue]


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