A short fiction story or a ‘Brooks Tale.’
‘John, what do you really think that the christian life is all about,’ I asked my friend and Pastor.
‘Well, Brother Jay, I believe that it is focused on how we treat our fellow man…and not on specific works or good deeds that we attempt to accrue,’ John said.
I lazily cast my fishing line into the Little Pigeon River at Gatlinburg…and thought about what my friend had said.
John spoke of the profound suffering in our country and across the world. He spoke of the millions of hungry people…when there is enough food to feed everyone if it were distributed properly.
John, quoted the scripture, in the book of James 2:18, that said, ‘Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.’
I responded that scripture seemed to support ‘works’ as a primary facilitator to heaven.
John asked me if I wanted some more coffee from his thermos?
I said that I sure did and inquired what kind of coffee it was?
‘Just good old Maxwell House,’ he replied.
I ruminated that the coffee must taste special, as I was with my friend.
John asked me what I thought of the current President and Administration?
‘Republican or Democrat…means little to me…I am always searching for a politician or leader that cares about the human family…and not just their limited political base,’ I said.
John, suddenly, pulled in a large trout…and was he excited!
I have visited the Little Pigeon River, in Gatlinburg, more times than I can count, but today seemed extraordinary…for some reason. The movement of the beautiful water and the sound that it makes and the peaceful feeling of nature, in the Smoky Mountains, has a magical effect on me.
John said, ‘You know, Jay, this is all coming to a point…someday?’
‘I hope not before lunch,’ I responded.
‘You know, actually, we are all living in God’s Watch or Clock,’ John said.
‘When I was a child…I was often told that there is a reason for everything…and indeed we are all part of a master plan,’ John went on to say.
I retorted, ‘would it be alright if I had one more cup of that delicious Maxwell House coffee…before the end?’
John laughed and said, ‘all of us must fulfill our purpose in life and then…we move on to the next level.’
I recalled the popular television show, Lost, and a scene where a cast member had returned, to great jubilation…only to die…shortly after she had completed her purpose.
I thought…how young and healthy John looked…I had never seen him look better.
I wondered if I could move to Gatlinburg and visit the Little Pigeon River…every day? I do not remember anywhere that I have been happier.
‘Next level…you say, John…what does that even mean,’ I asked?
John replied, ‘have you ever noticed that this life…seems to be missing something?’
‘Have you ever felt that you were a player in a story…that had the plot…hidden, he asked?
I sipped my Maxwell House…as a Park Ranger approached.
‘The Park is closing my friend…if you do not mind please gather your gear,’ the Ranger said.
I mentioned that I must alert my friend…to which the Ranger quizzically asked, ‘what friend?’
When I looked up from my tackle box…John was gone.
I remembered….then….that John….passed away….a number of years ago.