Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Passport (07/25/05)
TITLE: One Way In
By terri tiffany
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“Passport? What do you mean Passport? This is Heaven! I don’t need a Passport to get in here.”
“And who told you that lie?” The face belonging to the arm yawned with overt boredom.
“Listen. I paid my tithes! I went to church every Sunday! I invited the pastor and his wife, I might add, to my house for Sunday dinner even after one of his particularly boring sermons.”
“Buddy, if we let everyone in here who threw a few quarters in the Salvation Army kettle or said a quick prayer when the local cop pulled them over for speeding, it wouldn’t be called heaven, now would it? Either step out of the line or I’ll have to call someone.”
“Wait! Where do I get this Passport? My church didn’t tell me I needed one!”
The gatekeeper thrust his bushy brows higher on his glistening face. Reaching for a nearby scroll, he licked his feather pen and proceeded to make several checks on the parchment paper.
“Hmmm. Sunday school teacher, first grade. Youth camp counselor at Missions Camp, next door neighbor named Joe, the pretty brunette who sat next to you on Flight 1143 leaving Newark. I’d say you had plenty of opportunities to get your passport.”
“But those people just wanted to talk to me about Jesus! I was already a good person. I didn’t need a savior to die for my sins!”
He licked the quill again and made a few more checks.
“It appears even your wife has her passport already. She’s had hers ready for twenty years. Too bad you didn’t get hers when she did. Let me see it was at that Christmas Cantata she went to without you back in ’85. Seems you were too busy working late to attend. Well, I’ll be,” he licked the pen another time for good measure. “Two of your three children don’t have theirs yet either. Too bad.” He clicked his tongue “One of them is arriving here any day soon. “
“Arriving here? What are you talking about? My children are only in their early twenties! They’re too young to come to heaven!”
The silver draped arm reached out and gently touched the man’s shoulder.
“I’m truly sorry. I wish you had listened when you had the opportunities. You only get so many times to receive your passport. It’s quite a gift, you know. Now if you’ll kindly just step out of this line, we’ll see that you go to the right place.”
He awoke covered in a drenching sweat, his heart racing in his chest. Joe reached for his wife in the heavy darkness of their bedroom.
“Mary, wake up!” he sobbed. He shook her sleeping form.
“What is it Joe? Has something happened to one of the girls?” She leaned over her husband beside her.
“Mary. You have to tell me again.” He cried with urgency. “Tell me how Jesus died for my sins so that I can have everlasting life. I’m ready to listen now, Mary!”
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