Friday, August 10, 2012

The Two Paths

   There were two young men walking along a path.  They were best friends since grade school.  Their names were George and Ned.  Their path led them together the first part of their journey.  They looked at the scenery the same way and followed each other along the way, until they came to a fork in the path.  There were two ways to go.  One was a narrow way that looked difficult to walk.  The other was a wide path filled with all kinds of possibilities.  Both George and Ned looked at each other in confusion.  They had to make their decision on which way to go.  It was tough to make.  Would they go along the same path or would they go their separate ways for the first time in 13 years?The decision was very difficult, but it was finally made.  George went one way and Ned went the other way.  They hugged and cried and said their goodbyes, never to see each other for a long time, if ever again.

     George saw both paths at a distance and saw that the wide road was an easy path.  Nothing was obstructing the way, and very few obstacles getting in the way, the only thing was that it seemed darker than the other path, but George took that path.  He said goodbye to Ned and went on his way.  Ned wasn't sure that George was making the right decision, but he let him go on his way without an opposing word.  He knew that if George didn't choose the right path, he'd have to learn the truth about the path on his own.  George started the path and at the time, the path seemed brighter than it did at a distance, so he continued with a big smile on his face.  He thought to himself, "This is the life I want.  I wish my buddy Ned was with me."  He saw all the possibilities on this path.  All the possessions he could have  and all the pleasures he would enjoy.  

     A strange man in a dark cape came up behind him and he was startled at first.  "Hello young man.  I have something valuable for you to have.  Would you be interested?"  the strange man asked.  "What is it?", George inquired.  He took it from the strange man's hands.  It was gold!  Millions of dollars worth!  George just pushed the strange man's hands away.  "I can't take your riches from you!", George insisted.  "What is mine is now yours", the strange man told him, so George took the millions in gold from the strange man and went merrily on his way.  The funny thing was that the path was getting darker as he went down it.

     He later came to a young man about his age.  He wore a black hoodie and was covered in tattoos.  He kind of stunk, but he did have something to offer to George as well.  "Here, take this, it will make you feel on top of the world!  Like a king!," the young man told George.  "I can't take that.  It's yours," George said.  "What's mine is now yours.  Go on, it will make you feel great!", the young stinky man prodded.  George took the substance from him and went on his way.  He felt like a king, but only for a moment, then he felt like he was in a dark endless hole, so he looked for that stinky young man in the black hoodie for some more of what he had, but never found him.  He felt like he could die right there.  The path got darker.

     He was practically crawling on the ground in agony when this beautiful young woman came up to him and wanted to grant him the most pleasurable experience he could ever imagine.  He told her he had never done anything like that, but was anxious to feel pleasure again, so they went into a cave and she seduced him.  He felt total ecstasy and wanted more of what she had to offer but she had left him with an empty feeling and he yearned for her and went looking for her, but never found her.  He found more women in more caves but never got enough of them.  They all told him what was their was his, but the offer was empty.  He felt shame and devastated.  The path got very dark where he could no longer see.
     Ned on the other hand went along the narrow path.  It wasn't much to look at and he couldn't see very well, but he continued on.  He found this little old lady that was injured and helped her.  She was lying in the middle of the path, moaning in agony and bleeding.  he bent down to help her and she was very thankful.  "Ma'am, you are injured badly and I need to get you to a doctor, come with me", Ned told her, and carried her on the path.  The path got brighter as they went on their way.  They came to a doctor and she got better so they parted their ways.
     Ned got further along the path and there was a severe storm.  He didn't know where he could get cover so he continued on the path.  He had to walk up a steep hill with thunder and lightning all around him and it got hard.  He thought to himself, "This is not what I though this path would be, I may die on this path."  An old man came up to him with a comforting voice.  "You are doing well, my son.  Continue on this path and you will find ultimate joy.  There may be trials but you will find ultimate peace in the end", the old man said.  Ned went on and trouble came and went.  He fell ill with a serious disease that almost killed him, but when he got well, he still stayed on the narrow path.    His cell phone rang one night.  It was his father.  He hadn't heard from him in years.  His father said that his mother and brothers died in a terrible train accident.  Ned was devastated and very weary.  He wanted to just go home, but the old man said to keep going, so he did.  He was laden with burdens he could not bear on his own, but he found a man that walked with him up the hill.  The man told him he must go to the end.  This man glowed like an angel from heaven itself.  He trusted this man, and had known him from the beginning.  It kept getting lighter as they went up the hill together.

     All of a sudden the lights went dim and he couldn't see his friend that stayed with him.  He got afraid and stopped to rest.  He saw sheep ahead and continued after his rest.  One of the sheep offered him treasures beyond his imagination if he would only follow him.  Ned was suspicious at this animal.  It didn't look like a normal sheep when he got closer.  The lone sheep said that Ned could have anything he wanted, provided he followed the lone sheep.  Suddenly it became light again and he saw his friend once more and felt safe.  The lone sheep ran away.  As the sheep ran, Ned looked closer and saw that it was actually an evil wolf trying to lead the young man astray.  All his friend said was "Follow me.  What's mine is yours".  So Ned continued and it became so bright that he was almost blinded, but he felt extreme joy coming from it.  

     George was at the end of his rope at journey's end and gave up and died.  Ned had everything when he fell asleep one night at an old age, and never woke up.  They both saw each other at the end of their lives.  They were so excited to see one another.  Ned knew from looking at George that he had a terrible life.  He felt a little sad looking at his best friend.  George asked Ned, "Hey Ned, how was your life?"  Ned answered him, "George my friend!  It was rough but in the end I had all I wanted and needed!  I was very blessed!  How was your life, my friend?"  George answered him sadly, with shaking hands and said, "My dear friend, George, I had it all!  Fame, fortune, pleasures from my wildest dreams, and lots of women at my command!  I...I just lost it all in the end.  My life got so dark and I gave up.  I had nothing in the end."  They walked down the hallway that they were in, but down two different paths.  They finally approached the King.  They were waiting to see which door they would go through.  The King came up to Ned and said, "Go through the pearly gates into everlasting life.  Well done, my good and faithful servant."  Ned opened the door to pure joy and was elated beyond what he expected.  George felt a sudden terror in his body as the King bellowed out his name.  "George!  I never knew you! Go through that door to your demise!  You gave up without trying when life got hard and didn't trust the friend I sent to you!"  George had a questionable look on his face and said, "But King, where was this friend?  I never saw him."  And the King answered,  "He was right beside you all the way and you didn't even notice!  Now go through that door immediately!"  And the smoke and fire beyond that door consumed him.

     Which road would you take?  The wide, easy road, with everything imaginable and pleasurable at your command, but end up with nothing but darkness and despair?  Or would you take the hard, narrow road that brings troubles you can't face without a friend, but continue to the end, and get everything imaginable?  Think about it the next time yo want something that looks so good, but in reality is deadly.  If we help others in need and not think of ourselves first, and tread through illness and loss with victory with the friend who watches over you and guides your way, you will have it all and have an eternity with that friend forever.


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