The Words of the Weber Family
This is another fictional story about Father Carson, who was in my story, "Do You Believe In Miracles?" It has the same opening, but it is a very different story with a surprise ending. Enjoy! K.W.
Every now and then my memories go back to the time when I was growing up in a small farming community called Clear River, Illinois. One incident sticks in my mind because it changed an attitude that I had about my beliefs. The incident began when the pastor of our church, Father Carson, overheard a few members of our congregation talking before the Sunday service. In their conversation these members were commenting on how all of the good and faithful religious people would be saved and go the Heaven, while all the evil people in the world would be banished to Hell.
I, myself, had seen nothing wrong with this conversation. After all, there were plenty of verses in the Bible to support these beliefs. However, Father Carson became visibly upset with what he had heard. Whispering something about the probability that these members considered themselves among the elite who would be saved, he quickly went into his office to make final preparations for the service. When it came time for the sermon, Father Carson slowly walked up to the podium and looked out at the congregation. His sermon that Sunday was very short. As a matter of fact, it consisted only of a short parable.
I once knew a family whose name was Jacobs. The father's name was Brian; the mother, Helen; and their twin teen-age daughters were named Hope and Vanity. Brian and Helen were good and loving parents. Their daughters, though they looked alike, were as different as night and day. Hope was a wonderful and caring young woman who was loved by everyone because she was so loving. Yet, Vanity was an obnoxious hell-raiser who caused so much trouble that people hated to have her around.
One day, the Jacobs family was driving together down a winding country road. Suddenly, another car came speeding around a turn in the opposite direction on a collision course with them. Brian swerved to avoid a collision, and the Jacobs' car went careening off the road. It rolled over a few times and came to rest upside-down at the bottom of a hill.
Both Brian and Helen were thrown from the car, and they found themselves looking down the hill at their smashed and broken car. But, they were alone! Their daughters were nowhere to be seen!
"Dear God!" cried Brian. "The girls must still be in the car!"
As they ran down to the wreck Helen wept, "Oh, please have them be all right! They have to be alive!"
But, when they got down to the car, they were surprised to find an angel standing next to the car. The angel held out his hands to stop them. "It's too late!" he said sadly. "They didn't survive! They are now beginning their journey into the afterlife! Hope, who led a loving and good life, is on her way to Heaven. Vanity, however, who led a wicked and selfish life, is on her way to Hell."
Brian and Helen were naturally distraught and began pleading with the angel.
"Please!" wept Helen. "Don't let our daughters die like this!"
"They had their entire lives ahead of them," said Brian. "Isn't there anything that can be done to save them?"
So fervent was their pleading that the angel finally threw up his hands. "I can take you into the afterlife," he said. "You will have just barely enough time to rescue one of your daughters. I am limited, however, and can give you time enough to rescue only one, and you must go together. It takes the love of both the father and mother united to rescue someone in a situation like this! Who do you choose to rescue, Hope or Vanity?"
Without hesitation, Brian said, "Hope is in the better situation. We must go after Vanity!"
"Yes," said Helen. "We must give Vanity another chance!"
The angel grabbed each of them by the hand and they found themselves flying swiftly into the afterlife. "Take us to Vanity!" they cried, and the angel led them down into a dark and murky area on the way to Hell! As they flew downward, however, they were surprised to see two human figures in the distance flying up to meet them from the blackness below. Brian and Helen gasped! It was Hope and Vanity, holding hands and flying up together!
The angel smiled. "Well, here is a surprise!" he said.
Hope and Vanity flew up and, after many hugs and embraces, Brian said, "I don't understand! Hope, what are you doing down here? Didn't you go to Heaven?"
"Yes, I did," responded Hope. "But, how could I be happy in Heaven knowing that my sister was going to be suffering in Hell? I love her too much to let her go through that by herself. So, I came down here to be with her!"
"It seems," said the angel to Brian and Helen, "that if you had gone to Heaven to save Hope that she wouldn't have been there! But, since she came down here to be with Vanity, you can save them both now!"
Suddenly Brian, Helen, and the girls awoke at the top of the hill looking down at their wrecked car. They were all alive, and they were all together. They sat in silence holding hands...thinking about the experience that they had just had.
Father Carson finished his sermon and looked out at the congregation. "We often think that God loves and wants to save only the good people. But, God's love is not limited to just those who are good. Like the parents in this story who loved and wanted to save the evil daughter, God loves and wants to save those who are evil as well as those who are good.
"We should also be like Hope, the good sister, who couldn't be happy in Heaven as long as her sister was suffering in Hell. She came down out of Heaven to be with her sister because she loved her. How can any of us go to Heaven and let anyone suffer in Hell?
"So let us go out this week remembering the types of love that are demonstrated in this story. Go forth this week with these types of love! Amen!"