Bob: A Parable

Bob was an average guy, that’s how he described himself anyway. Few would disagree. His wife sometimes thought she could have done better, but as her friend reminded her one time, “You could have done much worse, girl.” His son didn’t mind him. It was just that life had passed dad by, like outdated milk in a fridge—dad’s advice had expired long ago. His daughter thought he was alright. But she stopped talking to him a few years back. Besides, the boys were noticing her now, and social media had its demands.

Bob’s dreams died years ago. They were already so far in the rearview mirror, if pressed he couldn’t even tell you what they once were. Years had become like a NASA countdown, “10, 9, 8, 7…” until retirement. And retirement?—who knew where that money was coming from. Bob knew there was now more sand for him in the bottom hour glass than there was for him in the top.

Was that why he was becoming more reflective? No one knew this about him, of course. The weather, box scores, and the latest movie release were comfortable topics. But to talk about more personal things required taking some risks. And taking risks was not something Bob was prone to do.

Another unremarkable Sunday morning began as it always did for Bob—a cup of coffee and a fumbling around for the remote. The Sunday morning news shows were talking the same stuff and the 10 a.m. NFL matchups had little to offer. With a sigh, Bob flipped the television off and wondered what to do as the rest of the house still slept.

Then a very odd thought came to him; odd in that the seriousness of it surprised him. Was it from not sleeping well the previous night? Or perhaps something was still bouncing around in his head, leftover from last night’s reflection? It mattered not, the thought was there. And the longer Bob was aware of it, the more unsettled he became.

“What if,” Bob stewed, “there was more to life than living and dying? What if,” he thought further, “there was a God?” And if there was, “Did that mean there was a heaven, and there was a hell?” And if there was, he teased out further, “Which place for me?”

Just hearing him question these matters unnerved him, “Didn’t I settle this back in high school?” He had. But he had changed his mind on many issues through the years. Why had he never revisited this one?

“Why are you staring out the window, Bob,” inquired his wife. He hadn’t heard her come down the stairs. “Oh,” he said, slightly turning her way, “I was just thinking about stuff.” “It’s about time,” his wife muttered back. Her sarcasm didn’t matter. In fact, he didn’t even hear her. He just knew he needed to take another look; another look at the most important questions of life.

Pastor Rich Hamlin

January 9, 2014

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