[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There was a man who had a vast estate. He died and stood in a great hallway. As he turned around taking in the vast room, a young boy came out to meet him.
The man asked the little boy, “What is this place and why am I here?”
The little boy answered, “You are to choose where you are to live.”
The man turned and surveyed his options. There was a decorated doorway, beautiful, gilded in gold, with names of various souls who had passed through its enormous arches. As the man read the names, he gasped as he recognized some of the names. They were great men and women, known for their world renown efforts at societal humanitarianism. The man opened the door and peered inside. There was golden light and beautiful dwellings. Tidy shops, trees and parks, lined the roads. Food was cooking, and it smelled lovely and inviting.
“Is this heaven?” the man asked.
The little boy did not say anything.
The man turned and saw another door. It was soft and misty, shimmering and iridescent. The man passed his hand through, and followed with his head. A cool breeze met his face. His eyes were filled with color that changed and formed into whatever thought crossed his mind. He immediately thought of when he had gone scuba diving and swam with the most beautiful sea dwellers. Then he was there, swimming with them, He had no need of tanks and breathing gear. He was able to swim with them in comfort and peace. Then his mind thought of hiking to the top of a hill. Then he was there, and was watching a sunset over a most peaceful and beautiful valley. He was almost drawn into this doorway, when he thought of the little boy.
He stepped back out into the great hallway and asked again: “Is this the way to heaven?”
The little boy said nothing.
The man asked, “What doorway did you come here from, Little One?”
The little boy pointed to a very small door that the man had overlooked when he had first arrived. It was so plain and small. As his gaze swept the hallway, the number of doors continued to multiply and he walked in a great circle until he ended up back at the small door and the little boy.
“What is it like behind that small door?” the man asked.
The little boy said, “Come, see.”
The man replied, “It is too small for me to enter.”
The little boy said, “I have seen larger ones than you enter.”
“How?” said the man.
“They bend over and crawl on their knees.” Said the boy.
The man laughed. “I am so big that even on my knees I would not fit.”
The little boy said nothing.
“Is there another way?” said the man.
The boy looked at him and said, “You may use my key.”
“Why would I want to go there, when there are other doors through which I already fit?”
The little boy said, “You will never be happy until you are home.”
The man laughed. “Where is home? I have traveled widely, my home is where I decide.”
The little boy looked at him quizzically.
The man said, “I may choose the “town of goodwill” doorway, or the “world of great beauty” doorway, or perhaps another more engaging. I could spend quite some time exploring all of these gates to find one of my liking.
The little boy stood still waiting for the man to make his choice.
The man turned slowly around and touched the door frames of all the beautiful doorways within reach.
“Where is the path that leads to hell?” He asked.
“All but one.” Said the little boy.
The man laughed. “So you were sent here to entice me into it or away from it?”
The boy said nothing.
“So where is this magic key of yours?”
The little boy held the key up in his palm. It looked small, insignificant, not enough to open a door, especially a door to heaven.
“I have seen ones such as you, who do not bend over or kneel, enter using this key.”
“Here then, let me see it. How do you use it?”
“It is not for you to hold.”
“Here now, what nonsense is this? Do you play riddles with me when I ask you a question?” The man asked, “Who uses the key and on what door?”
“I hold the key, and you trust me.” Said the boy.
The man said, “Where is the lock that it will open?”
The little boy pointed to the man and said, “There.”
The man looked to where the boy was pointing and did not see the lock, only that his finger was pointing directly at his own heart.
“See here, young man, what kind of joke are you playing?”
“There is no joke, sir.”
The young boy held up the key and as the light glinted off the key, terror welled up in the man. The key seemed to grow in size to look like a dagger, wicked and lethal.
“Wait,” said the man, “you will kill me with this wicked trick.”
“You are already dead,” said the boy. “How can you be killed?”
“You speak lies and tricks,” said the man. “I will not allow this lie to touch me.”
“Then I shall go,” said the boy.
The man watched the boy move toward the small door, and his heart struggled with decision. The boy’s words and the image of the dagger cast doubt in the man’s soul about the other doors. A great rage grew in his soul, shadowed by a grief, then a grip of fear. He recalled an image of his mother preparing a turkey for their dinner. Her blade had sliced the turkey bone and exposed the marrow. He had asked her what was the purpose of the marrow. His mother had explained that marrow made blood for the bird. Without the marrow the bird would not have life. Would this boy’s dagger slice him to his marrow? Was it a key to life or a deceit?
“Wait, boy, will this key give me life?”
The boy turned, “you will have life no matter which door you choose. But you will only have one home.”
“Is your doorway home for me?”
The boy waited.
The man bent over and touched the small doorway. Immediately, he felt struck to his core; no words, only slain, and tears deeper than his own breath. How could this be the way? But his heart recognized what his mind did not know. He knew. No lie could fit in between his mind and heart to deceive him. He looked at the boy and said, “Use the key.”
The boy took the key in his hand and it slid into the man’s heart and pierced it with a searing white-hot light. Shards of darkness filled with lies shredded his heart as they departed, and he felt in his agonal breaths deep unspeakable joy. He opened his arms wide, and the doorway enlarged to fit the exact shape of the man with his arms outstretched.
The man awoke to find himself embraced by the boy who had come through the doorway with him. The man was covered in blood, but not his own, it was poured out from the heart of the little boy. A stream of pure water poured out from the side of the boy, and he was laid upon the shore of this river and washed clean by the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She called for her attendants and they led him out to be greeted by so many souls that he could not even count, yet he knew each one who greeted him intimately. They took him by the hand to discover his new home.