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Previous Message From Virtual Church

A Place Called Home

As the youngest CEO in the history of Jefferson Securities, John Kierson was not a happy man. His plane had been delayed six hours in Chicago. When the plane landed in  Cleveland, the passengers were all searched and then searched again for security reasons before they left the terminal hallway leading away from the plane. His cell phone would not work in the terminal so he could not contact the personnel office at corporate to come and pick him up. When he got to a pay phone after being searched by airport security, the number of his contact person in personnel would not answer. Shortly a young fellow about 6’3 walked up to John and said, “Are you Mr. Kierson? I am looking for John Kierson.” John replied, “Why yes, I am John Kierson. What do you want?” The young man introduced himself as Morgan, from Morgan’s Limo Service. Morgan directed John to a waiting limo. As Morgan helped John with his baggage, John asked, “How did you know who I was? How did you know I needed a ride?” Morgan’s reply with a smile was, “Oh, its part of my job. Morgan closed the trunk lid of the limo, moved over to the rear passenger side door, and opened the door for John to enter. John crawled into the back seat.

After Morgan had crawled behind the wheel, John immediately said, “You know, this is really, really weird. I go to this religious web site on the Internet and I read a story a few months ago about a limo driver named Morgan in Cleveland. Do you know the writer of the story?” Morgan said with a chuckle, “Yeah, the guy has a great imagination.” Morgan turned the key in the ignition and in a minute Morgan was pulling out of the limo pick-up area and was heading south on the airport six-lane. John kept his train of thought going by saying, “Yeah, in the story you drive into a snowstorm and the rider has some kind of weird experience or something. Well, we certainly won’t get any snow today. It must be 95 degrees in the shade here. With all the rain, the humidity must be 100 percent. No snow today.” Morgan nodded his head yes and said, “No snow today. We’ll be hitting a bit of fog though.” John immediately replied, “Fog? Now that is also weird. Don’t tell me we are going to hit a patch of fog like that one up ahead and then we’ll be…” John’s voice trailed off into silence as the limo entered a fog bank. The visibility was zero. The limo was in a total white out. John said, “OK, is this some kind of joke or something? I mean, in the story I read, the limo went into a snowstorm and there was a total white out and the driver took his hands off the wheel just like you are doing.” Morgan said, “Yeah, that was quite a ride for Ted Glass. His life will never be the same. I hope your journey will be just as productive.”

John remained silent for just a minute, and then asked “Where are we going. I cannot afford to get delayed any longer. I have an important board meeting here in Cleveland. I’m the CEO of the firm and we are at a critical stage in our corporate growth. I have to get to that meeting.” Morgan said, “Yes, I am aware of your meeting and your firm. But there is another place you need to be. You need to go home.” In an instant the limo had left the fog bank and was now somewhere other than Cleveland. The limo was moving down the main street of small town. The street was lined with tall maple trees on both sides of the street and all the houses had lush green lawns. John said, “Well, I can’t see my mom and dad because I never had a mom and dad. I was raised in foster homes and never knew my parents. I never even knew their names. So if you will, get me back to Cleveland, I have to get to that board meeting.” Morgan said, “Well, I know you never knew your mom and dad. But you are about to meet a couple who never had a son just as you never had parents. They are expecting you.” John said, “Wait. Wait. Wait. I don’t care about meeting these people. I do not want to meet these people. I need to get to my board meeting.” In a few seconds, Morgan’s limo pulled up in front of a large white house with a green lawn. There was a bird bath in the yard and a gray-haired couple was sitting in a porch swing on the front porch. The limo pulled to a stop and Morgan exited the limo and opened the trunk lid to pull out the luggage. John exited his side of the limo and immediately began to protest the stopping and the delay.

The couple who had been sitting on the swing on the front porch walked out to the street and stood next to John and both said in unison, “Hello son, welcome home.” John was very much taken aback. He did not know quite what to say or how to say it. Having given speeches numerous times before large audiences, John was never at a loss for words except now. John turned around toward the limo but somehow the limo was gone without a sound. John said, “Listen, I don’t know you people. I am not your son. I really need to get to Cleveland. I have an important meeting to attend.” The lady, who introduced herself as Martha, and the man, who introduced himself as Howard, both coaxed John up on the porch to sit for just a minute. John reluctantly sat down on the porch and pulled out his cell phone to make a call. The cell phone was dead. Martha said, “Son, you just sit right here and I’ll be back with your apple pie.” Becoming more agitated, John said, “Wait. I like apple pie, but I really need to get out of here.” Martha, undaunted, said, “No, you need some apple pie.” Martha opened the front door of the house and disappeared inside. Howard said, “Son, you are too busy. You need to kick back once in a while and relax. Here in Mapleville, we don’t have cell phones because we don’t need them. In fact, we don’t even have clocks because time has sort of stopped for us. Don’t worry about your meeting. You will get there in plenty of time. Let things play out by themselves the way the Lord intended. You know, we have a lot of people who used to be like you who live here. People sort of found their way to Mapleville by one means or another and they just decided to stay.” John was more quiet than normal. Mapleville did have a peace and quiet to it. John looked out on the street and saw a paperboy speeding by his bike with a full sack of newspapers. John said, “You know, the place is kinda nice. It looks like something out of a movie. Where are we anyway? I don’t ever remember hearing of a place called Mapleville, Ohio?” No sooner had John gotten the words out of his mouth than Martha reappeared with a huge piece of apple pie, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the top, with nutmeg sprinkled on top of the ice cream. John said, “You know my favorite. How did you know my favorite pie was apple, with vanilla ice cream, with nutmeg sprinkled on top of the ice cream? How did you know that?” Martha said, “Well, it is sort of my job.” Forgetting about his meeting and the time, John dug into the pie and ice cream with a vengeance. The desert melted in John’s mouth. He had never tasted pie and ice cream this good in his whole life. Finishing off the pie and ice cream, John said. “The pie and ice cream are delicious. It tastes like it was made in Heaven. But who are you people? Why am I here? What is all this about? Am I in a real place or am I dreaming?” Martha and Howard didn’t say anything for a short time and Howard finally said, “John, we want to be your mom and dad. We want you to make our you’re your home. We know you have another life. We know all about you. In fact, we have known about you since you were born.” John was even more perplexed but had begun to relax and whatever agenda John had at the moment seemed to be fading away. John asked, “Are you my real parents. My real parents might be about your age. If you are my real parents, why didn’t you raise me like other parents raise their children?” Martha said, “No John, we are not your real parents but we know more about you than your real parents could ever know. We know about every moment of your life. We know about that time you got lost at the fair and were taken away by that truck driver who wanted a son. We know about how bad you felt when you lost that baseball game when you were a senior in high school. We know about the time you almost drowned in Settler’s Pond. We know all abut you.” Stunned into almost total silence, John asked “How? How could you know all this?” Howard laughed and said, “The Lord can do anything He wants to do.” There was a long period of silence. John was thinking and trying to make sense of what could not be made sense of. Martha said, “One of the reasons you were brought here was so that you would know you were truly loved. Everyone needs to know they are truly loved. Most people do not really and truly know they are really and truly loved. When people find out how much they are loved, their life is made new forever. That is one of the reasons you were brought here. We just wanted you to know we love you now and we have loved you since before you were born.” John shook his head in amazement, bewilderment, and disbelief. It was all too incomprehensible. John asked, “Am I in a real place or am I dreaming?” Howard said, “Son, you are in more of a real place than any real place you have ever been in. You don’t know this yet, but you are home. For the first time in your life, you are truly home. And you know that girl Nancy, the one you had a crush on in junior high, well, she lives across the street.” Still shaking his head, John said, “No, I must be dreaming. No place like this really exists. This is a very wonderful dream but I know I will wake up. Martha said, “John, you never had much faith. You were always very skeptical. You never were able to trust people very much because of all the foster homes. You didn’t know this but Nancy had a crush on you just like you had a crush on her. You are in a real place with real people. It is a place called home.” John said, “Nancy had a crush on me? I never knew.” Howard chuckled and said, “John, you have a very busy life. You are so busy you don’t even know you have a life. Do you ever go fishing? Do you ever just sit and watch the grass grow or the birds feed? Do you ever walk in the park? Do you ever think about your life, or think about God?” John got very quiet in thought for a while. Finally, John said, “No. I don’t do any of those things. If I stop living like I’m living now, I’ll probably die.” Martha said, “Well, in a way, that is why we wanted to see you and why we wanted you to finally see us. Of course, we don’t want you to die in a physical sense, but we do want you to let your life go and take on the life we have always wanted for you.” John, Martha, and Howard sat on the porch for at least two hours talking. John noticed, however, the sun hadn’t moved in the sky. John noticed, that time indeed had been standing still. John said, “For some reason I seem to know both of you from somewhere else. It seems like I have known both you forever. I can’t explain it but it seems like you have both been with me forever. And like other people who live here, I like it here. I like Mapleville. It really is wonderful here. But what about my life? My other life. My other CEO life with no rewards, all the worry, all the stress, all the anxiety? What do I do? Just leave that life to live in this imaginary place?” Martha said, “John, you can choose to live wherever and however you want. You can choose to live in a place like Mapleville or you can choose to live in a big city. Your life is your choice. We just want you to know whatever choice you make, you are loved now and you will always be loved in the future. We love you and God loves you, that is what we want you to know. And for you, there will always be a place in your heart called home. Now you see that young woman on the porch across the street? Why don’t you go say hello.” 

John, still pondering everything that had been said, looked across the street and saw this dark-haired beautiful young woman sitting on the porch steps. John said, “Wow. Is that? Is that her? You know I don’t have a relationship right now and… You know, I think I will go say hello.” John stood up and walked down off the porch and out to the sidewalk in front of the house. He crossed the street and said, “Hi Nancy!” Nancy smiled and said, “Hi John, how are you? I haven’t seen you in awhile. Wanna sit down?” John said, “Sure!” As John sat down next to Nancy on the porch steps, John gazed across the street and was shocked to see not the house he had left just a minute before, but an abandoned house, with the windows boarded up, with peeling paint, and a yard full of trash and weeds. John said, “Nancy, do you know the people who live across the street?” Nancy replied, “No, no one lives there. Rumor has it a couple lived there thirty or forty years ago and they were both killed in an auto accident about the time both of us were born. Somebody needs to do something with the place. It is a beautiful house but someone either needs to fix it up or tear it down. The place has been boarded up for as long as I can remember. John said, “Yeah, it is a beautiful place. A place someone could call home.”

Epilogue: Mapleville turned out to be a real place but not a place by that name. Cell phones worked and time marched on. John and Nancy got married. John resigned his CEO position and started a career as a school teacher. They bought the house that was boarded up and restored the house to its original condition. John and Nancy joined a small church and accepted Christ into their heart and life. They had two children. Although they had the same problems, stresses, worries, and difficulties we all have, they lived in a place within their heart called home.

John 14:23Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. (NIV)

This story is fiction in terms of names and places. Any similarity to any persons living or dead except God the father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is purely coincidental.

This story appeared as the July, 2004, Virtual Church message in Shepherd's Care Ministries virtual church site at http://www.findthepower.com

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018