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a story of fiction, kind of

by Todd Goodwin

The morning sun was barely peeking over the horizon. The black night sky giving way to brilliant hues of orange that fade into yellow and muted green that eventually flows effortlessly into a light blue sky dotted with small clusters of white cotton ball clouds. John loves to watch the sunrise and to see it set. It’s the time of the day he feels closest to God. No distractions, no noise, nothing to arrest his attention other than the scene that unfolds before him every morning and every evening. 


John is standing on his pier that overlooks a small lake on his 40 plus acres that he and his wife Anna purchased almost 35 years ago. One hand in his pocket while the other cradles a hot cup of coffee. John repeated this routine almost every morning and evening for 35 years. Alone with God. Alone with his thoughts. Alone. Away from the hustle and bustling schedule of an executive of a large company. Away from the paperwork. Away from to do lists. Away from the phone, that rang constantly. Normally John would be admiring the beautiful sunrise before him, but not today. Today John’s thoughts are louder than the scene he is currently standing in. He just stares out over the motionless lake and through the sunrise and beyond. The cool chill in the air and the not wind blowing makes the lake almost looks like glass. The glass like lake reflects the sunrise that looks like a Bob Ross “happy” landscape. 


But John doesn’t notice.


John is reminiscing and looking back over his 70 plus years, actually he is almost 80; he is just a few years shy of it. John drops his head, eyes shifting back and forth, as if he is trying to understand his own thoughts. Then in mid motion his eyes stop moving, he pops his head back up as if he has had an epiphany and he “hmms” to himself.


After 55 years of marriage, a successful career, raised three amazing children, he and Anna have eight grandchildren, and now retired to the place of his dreams, could he say that his life has been worth it? Can he say that his life has made an impact? Did his life and the way he lived make a difference in the world? Is the world a better place because he lived? Did he love people like Jesus did? Did he make the most of every opportunity? Did he do what God had called him to do? Did any of this matter?


Slowing turning his back on the fading sunrise John turns around towards the house and makes his way down the pier and a faint smile begins to slowly appear on his weathered and wrinkled face. John’s smiling because he CAN answer those questions with a resounding YES! Yes, his life has been worth it. Yes, it’s made an impact. Yes, he has made a difference in the world. Yes, it does matters. How can a man say that about his life? Isn’t that arrogant and prideful to say those things? Not when you consider where the motivation for your life comes from.


John had committed his life to Jesus when he was just a teenager and made a deal with God at the age of 14. “I’ll always listen to you and obey what you say, if you will always take care of me and let me be successful.” Probably not a good idea to presume to tell God what to do. But John was only 14 and not yet seasoned enough, with life, to know better. Yet, God in His mercy and grace did exactly what John had asked. And John was a man of his word and did what he said he would do.


Now with a full-blown smile was on his face, John walked up the hill back to the house. 


“God, thank you. I have no regrets. I listened to every word You said. And with all my strength tried to obey everything You asked.”


“Thank You for listening to me!” 


“By the way, good morning!”