“God does not require that we be successful only that we be faithful.”
-Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
There is a fable about a man who died suddenly in a car crash and was met at the gates of heaven by St. Peter. St. Peter welcomed the man and explained that the way in which he would travel in heaven would be determined by how he answered one particular question.
St. Peter asked, “How faithful were you to your wife?” The man answered, “St. Peter, you must know that I married the love of my life. I never looked at another woman. She was everything to me.” St. Peter was excited to point this man to a convertible Porsche parked just beyond the gates and he playfully tossed him the keys. Overjoyed, the man happened to notice that there were two other men standing right behind him in line. The man lingered, curious to know their answer to the question.
The second man admitted to having transgressed his marital vows only one time early in his marriage and he said that he never forgave himself for his lapse in judgement. His contrition was sincere and very obvious. St. Peter pointed the man to a 1987 Ford Fiesta that was parked some distance away. The second man did not seem too surprised.
The third man’s nervousness was apparent as he approached, fidgeting and avoiding any eye contact with St. Peter. When it was his turn, he shared with St. Peter that he had obviously married the wrong woman and he went on to report that he cheated on his wife countless times in their twenty-five year marriage. St. Peter glanced just past the gate and with his eyes, he lead the man to a three-speed bike and motioned him to his heavenly ride. The third man looked dejected but not at all surprised.
The three men then rode off into eternity.
A century passed and while riding his bike, the third man noticed a sleek Porsche pulled off alongside the road. He approached to see what had happened and to offer some assistance. He recognized the Porsche’s driver as the man two places ahead of him on the day that he entered eternity. He asked the driver what was wrong but the man waved him off, sobbing almost uncontrollably. The biker pressed him, but again his kind offer of assistance was rebuked. His third inquiry set the man off. The driver shouted out in between sobs, “Leave me alone would you? I just saw my wife go by on Rollerblades!”
This fable illustrates how it is that at times, our best efforts and intentions are not always reciprocated as we would like. It is difficult for me when I perceive that my well intentioned efforts are not appreciated or not in balance with comparable energy from friends, co-workers, or even close loved ones. I get twisted-up emotionally when I judge the commitment of others. It can be difficult to keep my head down and stay focused on my own priorities, realizing that it was never really about them anyway. It’s about my own perseverance and the quality of my character.
Success is never guaranteed. Opting instead to make faithfulness my mission quells the martyr within and frees me to get on with life.
Think about the times in which others may have taken you for a fool. How did those experiences change who you are in your primary relationships?
Thomas “TD” Dierker
Live like you’re dying….cause you are!