The Question

by Bill Willson

Thoughts from the goblet of life.

The question’s asked, Are we alone?

The thought causes faith to falter.

Of course we’re not.  He told us so.

Why should His word we alter?

Before we believe, must we see all?

Common sense has found,

trees falling in woodland,

always make a sound.

Many worlds has He made.

Our earth is but one.

Wherever we look,

His work is begun.

The universe is a library,

for those who are seeking.

what’s happened before,

keeps on repeating.

Backward,  forward,

through endless time,

each event but an echo,

of life sublime.

Drink deeply from the goblet and live.

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Data Base Paranoia

Ever since 911 American citizens are going ballistic with regards to the fear of attack and searches of personal information and the data bases that are being created for investigative purposes.

The post 911 the Patriot act allows the government and its many arms of criminal investigation to establish data on or about anyone and everyone with or without probable cause.

With the advent of modern technology, and a plethora of communication channels from the person to person connectivity to movements and /or events is very difficult to analyze or discern, so the government agencies need to be able to collect and investigate any and all communication sources. The general public seems to be outraged because of this. I think that this is unreasonable fear, panic and paranoia. The only ones who need to fear are the ones doing the bad stuff. All others enjoy and be thankful for peace and safety.

Data bases have been around ever since there has been clay and sticks. Data is especially useful to criminal investigators. This fact is or should be comforting to the general public. The use of data bases to fight crime keeps us safer and more protected from evil criminal elements. Now that we have computers, and infinite capacity to store as much data of any kind as we want, but not necessarily need, the crime fighters of the world are saying. “Why not, the more the better.” With the search engine capacity and a massive amount of personal conversations and other types of communications or data it is easier for an investigator to connect the dots, and the more dots they have to work with the better their chances for a faster solution to the investigation.

This type of a data base is no more invasive than the finger print, or DNA data bases that are being created constantly. In fact I have a suggestion on how they could make finger print and DNA Data bases better. I think they should collect the DNA as soon as we are born, unless it changes when we become fully mature and the same with finger prints. As it stands now our DNA and finger prints aren’t on a national data base until we commit a crime, so first offenders are harder to catch.

This kind of mundane data is never going to be considered or looked at unless somehow it is tied to an illegal or subversive activity, So why worry unless you plan to do something Illegal or subversive, this type of data is simply in a closed file with no significance paid to it unless it becomes entangled in a web of crime or subversion. So come on all you crybaby worry warts relax and don’t worry unless you are really planning to rob a Brinks armored Truck so you can pay off your credit card debt, or if you are part of a conspiracy that is planning to take over the world.

So what if your significant other called and you had a fight and broke up? No one in the entire world will ever hear that conversation unless your mother was on the bedroom extension listening in. If any government agencies are eavesdropping, that sound bite will never be heard by anyone until it becomes relevant to terrorism, subversion or a crime.

So put down your Lynch ropes and quit listening to the rabble rousers . Put your worries to rest. Remember no data that is collected by the crime fighters can ever be used against you personally unless you are engaged in some sort of illegal activity and your piece of the puzzle emerges from the data pit.

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Learning to Recognize the Spirit

Written by Bill Willson, and previously published in “Angels Watching Over You:True Stories of the Lord’s Tender Mercies.” An anthology by Judy C. Olsen; Covenant Communications Inc. 2013; p-29

In the fall of 1972, because of a downturn in the construction industry in California, I changed my job classification from construction surveyor to carpenter and took a more permanent job with a large power company. Our crew was building foundations for substations, and we moved around a lot.

By the summer of 1975 I was in Eureka working at Humboldt Bay Power Plant. It was a huge job, and we were going to be there for an extended period. I slept in my van at nearby campgrounds, and I was a bit depressed wondering why I was 300 miles away from my wife and three young daughters in Livermore California, and I prayed for the Lord to let me know what I could do in my free time while in this distant place. The Lord tried to tell me but I didn’t listen.

I was married to a wonderful woman who had been an active member of The Church all her life, and she had a mom, dad, and two brothers who were active also. I was the only member of The Church in my immediate family. I was baptized, as a teenager, to the basketball and Saturday night dance part of The Church in 1953. I became truly converted and active at the end of October1961  three months before getting married.

My father and mother separated when I was five, we learned of his death when I was 11, and Mom had died just last year. The only living relatives I knew about were my two half sisters, and a half brother, my dad’s older brother and his wife who lived near us in the San Francisco Bay area. We only had limited involvement with my family during holidays and special occasions.

As winter approached, I decided camping out at night was no longer an option so I looked for a room to rent. Someone gave me the name of a Mrs. Zacardi who rented out rooms, and as I was looking her up in the telephone directory I browsed through the W’s for Willson. I had a habit, of doing this because of the unusual spelling of my last name. I noticed a V.H.H. Willson, and did a double-take. Yes, there really were two “l’s” in Willson, just the same way I spell my name. I wonder how we’re related? The thought passed, and I continued my search for the landlady.

After I made my call, I had a persistent thought to call this Mr. Willson but I worried that he’d think I was crazy. As a convert, I had only limited experience with receiving promptings from the Holy Ghost. Even though I thought several more times about contacting V.H.H. Willson, I couldn’t get up the nerve to call a complete stranger and ask him if we were related.

In February of 1976, I was seriously injured, and after a short stay in the hospital, I was flown back home in a small medical transport plane to the hospital in Livermore. Thoughts of Mr. Willson and the possibility of a genealogical connection faded, and I focused on rehabilitation. I changed job classifications once more because of my debilitating injury, and I went back to work with the power company in an office job; I no longer had to travel.

Several years later Uncle Morley, my dad’s older brother, passed away. We went to visit his widow, Aunt Julie. She asked me if I had ever contacted my Uncle Harold. I asked, “Who is he?”

She said, “He’s your dad’s younger brother.”

I said “I have never heard of him.” So, she gave me his phone number. I called him and found out he was the very same V.H.H. Willson that I had seen in the phone book while I was in Eureka. He was so glad to hear from me that he was crying when we ended the call. We visited him several times over the next few years, and he came to visit us once before he died. We were happy that our kids were blessed to have contact with a grandfather figure on my side of the family tree.

Because of this reconnecting with my roots, I not only had the opportunity, as an adult, to see a glimpse of what my father would have been like if he had lived longer, Uncle Harold was of similar build and appearance as pictures I had of my dad. I also received memorabilia that belonged to my father, which had been in Uncle Harold’s possession. This included photos of my father and the Willson clan clear back to my great grandfather as well as an old miniature family Bible with an inscription from my dad’s grandmother to his father (November 1891), and then inscribed from his father and mother to my father on April 19, 1917, as my then seventeen-year-old father left to go to fight in WWI. This bible became the most precious gift from my father to me by way of my uncle.

One other piece of memorabilia that I treasure is a small ten-inch diameter wooden ship’s wheel with a photo of my father’s last ship, the U.S.C.G.C. Northland. Dad sailed on this three masted ship during the thirties to Alaska to take in mail and supplies, and to bring out mail and passengers.

As I progressed in the Church, I learned to recognize promptings and follow the spirit; this takes some practice. Now I have learned to respond quickly, and not to ignore these promptings, even if I don’t understand the reasoning. If I had been in tune with the Spirit back then, I could have met my other uncle sooner. But the Lord, as always, was kind in giving me a second chance by prompting my aunt to ask me the question, so I could come to know this wonderful uncle. I am also grateful that through meeting him I gathered much needed family genealogy information, which helped me to update my family history and get more familiar with my progenitors. I’m convinced that the Holy Spirit does try to guide us when it is something important.

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A Life of Meaning; The Meaning of Life.

I do not know what to title this work. It is a collection of writing about human values and ideologies for living.  When I first started writing this, I called it “A Life of Meaning, The Meaning of Life.” As the worked progressed I seemed to be leaning more toward values of life and living.  I want to avoid the medicinal or therapeutic tone for my title; I want the title to draw readers out of curiosity and the work to hold them out of interest.  I think the work does focus more on meanings in a broader sense than one could find in a dictionary or thesaurus.  I want to project the positive values that enrich life and to displace the negative aspects of the slam bang work-a-day world that drives us all insane.

This is a work in progress

Preface

The next time you’re out in a crowd look around you.  How many heroes do you see?  This book is about the values in our lives that make humans unique.  It is about the unseen driving force within each of us that make us tick. It’s about values. It’s about why we are all heroes to someone, whether we know it or not. It is about looking at our friends, neighbors, or others, with renewed respect.  It’s about understanding basic morality and ethics. It’s about the difference between making progress, or just getting by.

This work is an attempt to define values in the world around us by examining God’s Laws, along with some material, Psychological, Philosophical, and Religious ideals, encountered in our daily life.  This book deals with virtues on a gut level mentality, not just the ethereal moral fables and fairy tales that were written for children in an attempt to teach them higher standards, by pointing out the difference between right and wrong.  We are all born with an ingrained sense of right and wrong. The problem is our sense of right and wrong seems to fade as we get older, or our standard of living increases.  More is not necessarily better.  We need to look at the basic values and moral issues in a new light.  We need to see them through the windows instead of in the mirrors. Christ and other religious leaders have taught us to be grateful for all we have and to always remember to thank God, the giver of all, for the good in our lives.  They also taught us to love our neighbors.

As we thank God for the great gifts in our lives, do we sometimes overlook the fact that some of these great gifts come through the lives and sacrifices of our family, friends, neighbors, and others in our life.

Of course we recognize the sacrifices of our forefathers, who gave their all that we might have freedom.  We also recognize the sacrifices made by the soldiers who fought in the great wars to safeguard that freedom.  But, do we recognize the everyday sacrifices of the masses around us, when we walk or drive down the road; when we turn on the lights, or turn up the thermostat? Do we remember to thank God for the teachers, police officers, fire fighters and medics that educate us, and safeguard our health, safety, and homes?  Do we appreciate the trains, planes, ships, and trucks, when we go to the supermarket, and see all the goods laid at our feet from all over the world?  Do we recognize all the labor that goes into providing these services, conveniences, and marvels of technology?  Do we appreciate the long hours of backbreaking labor that goes into providing, building, maintaining, and fueling this public infrastructure?

Oh yes, you say, “This is the fruit of people’s labor, which was traded for daily bread.  Why do I need to be grateful for it?”  For the same reason we all feel better about our days work when we see what we’ve accomplished.  We all need recognition and appreciation when we do our jobs well.  We need to overcome the tendency to think that everything is about money, and daily bread.  I think we should regard a person’s time, talent, and honest labor, as a sacrifice, which is laid on the altar of life, in return for blessings, that each of us has a share in.  A part of any blessing is appreciation.  The more it’s appreciated the more we are blessed.

With respect to the wars fought to preserve freedom, do we appreciate or even understand the values that have motivated the unbelievable personal sacrifices made throughout history? I think everyone should at some time in life, stand in the middle of Arlington cemetery and try to comprehend the meaning of all those cold stone crosses that stretch out endlessly. Or take a walk along the massive black marble wall where the names of all who died on the battlefields of Vietnam have their names carved. Try visiting the hallowed ground of Gettysburg, or any hallowed ground which has been consecrated by the blood of brave men for the cause they felt was worth laying down their lives for.  See if you are the same as you walk away as you were when you arrived.

In order to understand better the values that motivated these heroes to pay the ultimate sacrifice for the cause, we must examine the meanings of the words that represent the values. Words are only a set of symbols representing a phonetic sound that humans utter when they wish to convey a certain meaning.  Meanings are constantly changing so we need to get to the ideas behind the meanings at a basic gut level.  For example: Peace, or an absence of war.  In today’s world we say we are enjoying an era of peace.  Who is enjoying peace?  We are!  Who are we? Perhaps we are the super powers of the world? If you look beyond the super powers to the emerging third world cultures you will see that it has been a long time since they have enjoyed any kind of peace.  Are the super powers actually enjoying any real peace. They aren’t really at peace; they just aren’t killing each other as quickly right now. In fact, there hasn’t been one single peaceful day in the entire world since Cain picked up that rock and slew Able.  Right here in America, there are kids who fear for their lives while they are trying to get an education.  There are senior citizens who are afraid to leave their homes for fear of being mugged.  The real meaning of peace is: You are safe from harm, let your soul rest assured that you have no reason to fear forever, for your safety and welfare are secure.  Can anyone afford to rest before that kind of peace is available to all?

It is true we cannot incorporate morality or righteousness, into our law, therefore we must teach values that will promote morality and righteousness in our everyday lives.  We must reinstate and recognize work, courage, honor, respect, truth and many other worthwhile values, in the fiber of our life.  We must learn to recognize all the heroes in our life.  We must find a system of values that will replace the hatred, violence, sloth, fear, deceit, prejudice, lies, and shame, which are permeating the world we live in.

I have long felt that the meaning of life is progression. If we live a life of meaning, we are progressing toward the discovery of the reason for our existence. When we understand why we are here, we are ready to progress forward to a better life.

By exploring the words that define values, and holding them up to the light of truth and knowledge to look at their spiritual and temporal meanings we can gain a greater appreciation of the effect of the value in our own life. This will translate to a greater understanding of the meaning of life and heighten our personal awareness.  My slant in approaching each value will always focus on thankfulness and appreciation for the hand of God and the unrecognized heroes in the enrichment of the world we live in.

I have drawn truth from many places in literature and from life experiences.  I have used scripture generously.  Readers from all faiths should find familiar passages here.  I have also drawn from modern day scripture found in “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”.  I learned long ago that the truth is the truth no mater where you find it.  It is the responsibility of the readers to examine what they read and decide for themselves if it is true.  The tragedy occurs when a sparkling bit of truth gets trampled under foot because it never made it into the closed mind to be examined.  I would invite all that read this to do so with an open mind, and let your own spirit discern the truth from the error.  There is no need to fear the truth.

To be continued

 Some topics addressed in this work. 

“HAVES Vs. HAVE NOTS”

The endless cycle.

The nourished MYTHS of the wealthy feed the unfounded FEARS of the poor.  This book is written in hope of leading the reader to the MIDDLE GROUND, which is higher than the alternatives.

MYTHS

Poor people are poor because they are:

lazy

ignorant

untrustworthy

inferior

deficient

substandard

FEARS

Rich people are rich because they:

cheat

are unfair

swindle

defraud

were born that way

victimize poor people

they get all the breaks

the laws are made by them

MIDDLE GROUND

A safe place to meet and advance the human cause:

love

trust

devotion

service

justice

freedom

respect

recognition of hard work

reverence for knowledge

     In Appreciation of Work

I’m a worker.

My handprints are buried

in your city’s concrete walls.

I’m a clerk.

My sweat gives the musky odor

to silent corporate files.

I’m a surveyor.

My expertise keeps corners true

and lines straight.

I’m a builder.

The towers of commerce were raised

by the strength of my back.

I’m a miner.

Your city lights blaze more brightly

than my dim-lit carbide lamp.

I’m a teamster.

Markets are filled by the life

I spend on endless highways.

I’m a seaman.

Your homes seem exotic

because I long for my own.

I’m an inventor.

You have more time to play

because of my love of it.

I’m a farmer.

Your pantry and cellar are full

because of my  leathery hide.

I’m a rancher.

You have meat in your freezer

because I ride in the roundup.

I’m a nurse.

my tender hands

have cooled your fevered brow.

I’m an author.

What I have written

has touched your mind.

I’m an entertainer.

I’ve lifted your spirit

and etched lines of mirth on your face.

I’m a policeman.

My watchful eyes

keep you safe at night.

I’m a teacher.

My legacy to you

is the wisdom of the future.

I’m a doctor.

My skill and knowledge

preserve your quality of life.

Im a lineman.

Power surges across the countryside

because I toil in heat and cold.

I’m a worker.

Look around you, and appreciate

my Presence in your life.

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A CLOSE CALL AT WINDMILL BEACH

On my first tour of sea duty, in the Sea-Bees, we were deployed in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. It didn’t take me long to discover that there wasn’t much to do with my spare time. There was; fishing and swimming or swimming and fishing, or just plain swimming, of course if you did that you had to watch out for the fish. Then there was always just plain fishing . . . but then you had to watch out for the swimmers. If it was too tough to make up your mind about whether to swim or fish, you could just drink beer, until you looked like a fish and the room was swimming.

I guess I was one of the lucky ones I liked to swim and I also liked fishing. While I was in high school I had read some books about skin diving and spear fishing, so I decided this was an ideal opportunity to take up this new activity. I invested a few bucks in a snorkel, fins, face mask, a knife and a spear gun, and I went down to the beach and literally jumped into my new hobby.

It was the most incredible experience I had ever had in all my 20 years of life on God’s green Earth. There, right in front of me and all around me was this Jacques Cousteau, like scene, that just simply overwhelmed me with wonder. I couldn’t believe my eyes. In this day and age this might seem a little overstated, however let me explain to the reader; this was in 1956, and I grew up in a relatively simple environment . . . no TV, not too many movies and a lot of hard work, in my leisure time I had radio, books or just plain sitting around talking the nights away with friends. I never even got out of the San Francisco Bay Area of California, except for one two week trip to 29 palms to visit my sister and nephew when I was ten, until I was 19 and joined the Navy.

I soon adapted to my new found world and got comfortable enough to go out of a morning and not come back in to shore until late in the afternoon. I made friends with a fellow Sea-Bee who also loved skin diving. The two of us spent all of our spare time skin diving. My friend’s name was Frank, he was about a year younger than me and a very good swimmer, he was tall and lean with a typical dark Cuban suntan. He had a peculiar sense of humor and such an infectious grin that I couldn’t stay mad at him if he played a joke on me. He liked to slip up from a blind spot as we were intent on stalking a fish or poking into some dark spooky looking coral overhang. This was difficult underwater with a snorkel in my mouth I had to maintain breath control or drown.

One Sunday morning we went out bright and early to do some shelling and general poking about the outer edge of the reef. We didn’t take our spear guns because we had just had a big fish fry the day before and we really didn’t want any more fish for a few days. I grabbed my gear and headed out of the Quonset hut so fast that I left my knife hanging on the handle of my spear-gun. We settled down to an area of the reef just off Windmill Beach north of Leeward Point, we were about 100 yards off the cabanas at the edge of the reef, in water 30 to 50 feet deep, and the tide was at ebb, so the currents weren’t very strong. The water was exceptionally clear that morning and the visibility was about a 100 yards in all directions except close to shore in the shallow water.

When Frank and I were diving together, we had a sixth sense about the others presence, without really watching each other we knew about where we were relative to the area we were diving in, we always made a point of making a visual contact each time we surfaced. On about my third surface I made a visual sweep of the area immediately below me and to each side, I didn’t see Frank anywhere. So I made a quick dive in the direction I had last spotted him, just to make sure he was OK. I was about 15 feet from the edge of the reef, and 20 feet beneath the surface, when I was startled by a blur of bubbles and motion that came at me out of the coral to my left. I instinctively veered upward and away from the blur as I turned my face toward it at the same time, then I stopped swimming, as I recognized Frank, boring for the surface as if the devil from the deep had a grip on his soul, I followed him to the surface and expected him to chide me about how bad he had scared me. Instead he grabbed me by the shoulder and said, “What’s that down there, coming in from the deep?

I thought he was continuing to try and scare me. He didn’t even look at me he was looking intently beneath the surface, while keeping one hand on my shoulder. I began to worry that maybe he was serious, but I was a little hesitant to be too gullible for fear that Frank would have another laugh at my expense. When Frank lifted his head and looked at me there was a look in his eye that I could not mistake; he was scared.

What is it Frank?

He answered by pointing away from shore and under the water, I put one hand on his shoulder and looked under the water toward where he was pointing. There about 50 yards distant and skimming along the bottom of the sea at about 80 feet deep was a very large, slender, silvery shape that emanated an ominous presence as it made its stealthy approach toward the reef. I do not think at that moment the fish had seen us yet. I was not sure but from the pictures I’d seen, in my reading material, the one word that immediately came to mind was Barracuda. I started to raise my head out of the water and say something to Frank. From all that I had read I knew that the worst thing we could do was to panic and start swimming erratically toward the shore. I was going to suggest that we stay put and keep quite so that maybe he wouldn’t see us, but I never got the chance. Before my face mask cleared the water, Frank took off like a shot for the beach. I called after him, Frank stop! He’ll see us for sure!

It was no use because Frank didn’t even hear me. I started to follow, but instead I decided to take a look and see which way the fish was headed. Sure enough it was a huge barracuda, and he surprised me at how fast he had zeroed in on the sound of Frank thrashing his way toward shore. The fish was almost opposite me, about 5 or six feet beneath the surface, on a bee line for an intersection point with Frank’s chosen line. I thought, oh no Frank’s fish bait, he’ll never out swim the cuda.

With only a moment’s hesitation and without thinking, I brought both my flippers out of the water, and smacked them down as hard as I could. I was trying to scare the fish off or distract him from Frank, in hopes that he’d lose sight of his objective. Wrong! I saw the fish veer off immediately and begin a series of concentric spiraling circles which rapidly closed on the center of the circle, me! There we were eyeball to eyeball, the fish was a good five to six feet long, and the middle of his body was as big around as a basketball. He was broad side, about 10 to 15 feet away and right about waist deep beneath the surface. I hung there scarecrow like not daring to take my eyes off of him. The only part of me out of the water was the top of my head. I was trying to remain calm and to breathe evenly through my snorkel so the fish would not sense my fear. Actually I was thinking that this was probably going to be my last day on earth, and I silently said a prayer and mentioned something about being sorry that I was not paying proper respect to the Sabbath. I began to study the fish which by now was almost motionless I could see his fins moving rhythmically to maintain his chosen standoff position. I wished that I had my trusty spear gun with me, or at least my knife. His deadly eye stared at me and I can still remember how big and fierce it was. I tried to stare him down, but I could see the big fang like teeth that protruded from the upper jaw and projected about a half inch below his lower jaw-line. I thought, those teeth are going to tear me to shreds. I’ve never felt so helpless in my life. I guess I didn’t want to go down like a scared rabbit, so I decided I had to do something to break the awful dark spell. I remembered something from my reading about barracudas being afraid of a larger unknown creature swimming toward them, so I took a deep breath, not knowing if it would be my last, and made a sudden surface dive toward the fish. Zoom! He vanished behind the closest coral bank. I continued in the direction I had thought he had gone for a few yards and pulled up short. While keeping a sharp eye constantly turning in all directions, I swam as smoothly and as quietly as I could back to shore. I hauled out and sat down on the beach to give my legs a chance to settle down and my knees a chance to stop knocking.

Frank came trotting up like an over exuberant puppy, and said, What took you so long? I was about to call out the troops

When I could speak I said, “If you only knew what I just did to save your dumb ass, you’d want to stand by for me on every mid-watch I pull for the rest of my hitch, and that’s a fact!

It took him awhile but eventually Frank came to realize how close a call it was that day at Windmill Beach. He finally came to appreciate what had happened, although Frank never ever mentioned it to me . . . I guess that’s why we got along so well, if our roles been reversed Frank would have done as much for me, he was like that.

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Black Granite

vietnam-memorial-wall

 

 

   By Bill Willson

I stand before the cold stone wall

My eyes fill with tears, heart so heavy,

The writings so small, and the wall so massive.

I press my hands and face against cold blackness

How many gallant lives does it take,

To convince humanity, war has no victors?

The clouds darken and the cold rain comes down;

No matter, my heart is already chilled,

Its as cold as black granite in winter.

I walk slowly in the rain to the end of the wall.

So many names of soldiers long dead,

Their young lives lost,

With little to show

Only their names on this monument.

Sixty thousand souls lost, not counting the missing,

Yet if truth were known all are missing

From wives, husbands, children, mothers,

Fathers, friends, and our nation.

Incalculable in terms of human progress,

If they had but lived to fulfill their full measure.

And what of the material loss

To carry them into battle?

Civilizations wealth spent on destruction and death

Breeding hatred and revenge in the hearts of children.

Wealth which could better be spent on education.

Education to teach wars horror, and death=s finality.

The challenge to search for an alternative,

Or to discover the horror of the

Blood soaked battlefields.

This was but one small war

Since the beginning of time,

How many more, until we learn the lesson?

Blood lust is fanned by hatred and greed.

The real losers in war now bury the vanquished.

If they fought with courage to protect their homes,

Both winners and losers, ascend with the just to their home on high

Let all mankind say in their hearts, I will fight no more,

And let peace reign over the earth

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THE INNKEEPER:

A Christmas Story

The innkeeper was tense. A meticulous man, he would check each room personally. His servants hurried before him to be sure that each accommodation would be in perfect order. Fresh, sweet-smelling straw had been placed on the clay floors of the rooms, and covered with a comfortable linen covering with pillows and bedding. Incense scented the air, along with the scents produced by the cooking of delicious sweet-meats and other delicacies produced from local gardens.

The preparations for the coming events had been in progress for several weeks. Ever since the great king Caesar Augustus had decreed that each man and his family were to return to the place of their birth for the purpose of taxing. The innkeeper had only recently obtained his position and was anxious that his employer be impressed with his ability to please his guests and provide the very best of accommodations. He knew, if he showed excellence in this new position, the employer would want to keep him on steadily and then he could pursue his plans.

Very briefly, he allowed himself to envision the beautiful young maiden who had captured his heart. If he were successful they could wed . . . have children . . . and grow old together. He pondered his thoughts, smiled and calling to his servants, pleasantly encouraged each to hurry with their tasks that all would be ready when the guests began to arrive.

The city was alive with people. Such activity had not been seen in many years. People gathered on every corner. Great caravans of citizens converged on the city and the inns began to fill. Although the traveling was hard, inconvenient and . . . expensive, most of the people enjoyed returning to their birthplace and excited greetings could be heard as many enjoyed renewing acquaintances with childhood friends and relatives.

The early arrivals, of course, had the most comfortable accommodations. To ensure that his inn would be one of the first to be filled, the innkeeper had sent two young servant boys out to the highway. And, like modern neon signs, the servants touted the excellent services that their inn had to offer. The ingenuity of this idea did not pass his employer’s careful observations. The owner liked the new, young innkeeper. And, took note of the honest, cheerful manner of the young man to whom he had entrusted his business.

As expected, the inn filled quickly. The travelers were impressed with the inn’s excellent preparation and the comforts provided them. The food was well prepared and each guest was treated with respect.

The innkeeper began to relax. His guests were comfortable, some even jovial. The conversation was stimulating as each enjoyed relating the adventures of his journey to his birthplace. Children played in the dark corners of the great gathering room and the women enjoyed the company of old and new friends.

The innkeeper began to enjoy the friendly atmosphere and knew in his heart that his employer would be pleased with the inn’s success. He was only a little concerned when a servant came to him and asked him to speak with a man who had come to the door of the inn seeking a place to stay. He moved casually through the room, out into the hall and approached the door with authority.

He was only mildly disturbed when, even after explaining to the young man that the inn was filled, he continued to plead for a place to stay; he said his wife was great with child, and his voice was raised. The innkeeper found it necessary to step outside and close the door so that the guests would not be disturbed. He would not allow anything to ruin his successful venture, even though he felt uncomfortable about turning the weary travelers away. As the man gave up his pleading and began to turn to go, the innkeeper looked into the eyes of the woman who was with him. She returned his gaze and the innkeeper felt compassion because he knew she would soon bear a child and his heart began to soften.

The man and his wife left the inn and the innkeeper returned to the festivities. But the innkeeper was tense again. He called a servant woman to his side and quickly whispered instructions in her ear. She left the inn by a side door and hurriedly caught up with the two tired travelers. She gave her brief message to the man and they agreed to follow her to the stable, grateful for the innkeeper’s compassion and the help of the servant woman pulled fresh hay from the bale and helped the expectant mother from her donkey to sit comfortably in the hay, and lit a torch so that soft light diffused the darkness. She shooed the roosting chickens from the manger and cleaned it quickly. Then she piled more sweet-smelling hay into to the manger and placed it beside the laboring young mother.

The woman discreetly brought food and drink, and then tucked herself quietly into a corner in case she might be needed for the delivery.

And so it was that the young mother did deliver her baby in the lowly stable, with the help of her husband and a servant woman. And all the wondrous events of which each of us knows did take place.

The many citizens returned to their homes and life went on in Bethlehem. The excellence of the innkeeper’s hostelry was passed on by word of mouth and the inn became the favorite place for caravans and travelers to rest. And the innkeeper prospered. He wed his beautiful bride and they enjoyed many children and they prospered, as the years passed. Many children produce many, many grandchildren and the prosperous innkeeper was known throughout the land for his honesty and charity. He found it necessary to travel a great deal as he insisted that each of the inns that carried his name, maintain the high standards of the original.

In his travels, the innkeeper met many people. He was a respected businessman and it was not long before a friend, in idle conversation one day, asked him if he knew anything about a young Jewish rabbi named Jesus. Apparently he was about 30 years of age and was in trouble with the Jewish authorities. The rabbi was causing a great disturbance, doing things like healing people, giving sight to the blind, causing the lame to walk, and raising the dead. Some people even suspected him to be the promised Messiah.

The innkeeper’s interest was piqued. At the first opportunity he determined to place himself in a position that he might observe this teacher and decide for himself. And so he tucked himself into an obscure outcropping of rock and became enthralled as the rabbi taught about love, families, doing good unto others and all the principles of kindness, charity and humanity that he, the innkeeper, had tried to live and to teach his children.

The innkeeper became a follower of Jesus. And even though he continued to run his thriving business he found that because he too, was a traveler he could often be present when Jesus taught.

So it was that the innkeeper, an influential man, found that he had arrived too late to help when the trouble came to a head. He knew that Jesus was being falsely accused and had hurried to Jerusalem to help him. It was a cruel shock to see the savior, hanging limply from the cross, flanked on either side by mere thieves. And the innkeeper shrunk from the site, blinded by tears, he felt heartbroken as a he pushed himself through the crowds of people who wept quietly at the feet of the savior.

Huddled in the darkness the innkeeper grieved, quietly at first, and then he mourned with deep wails until he felt spent and fell silent to the ground. He must have slept. Exhausted he awoke and knew that he must make one last gesture of devotion to the great teacher. Once more the innkeeper’s compassion came forth only this time he did not send a servant. This time, he himself went and with great dignity arranged for the removal of Jesus’ body from the cross. The innkeeper, with the help of some of the teacher’s friends lifted the lifeless form into a cart and together they pulled it to the tomb; the very tomb that the innkeeper had recently provided for himself. Gently the women assisted him shrouding the body in dignity and together they rolled the stone in front of the tomb. Ignoring the cruel comments of the roman soldiers, the innkeeper and his companions left the tomb. He was overjoyed when he heard that the Savior had risen from the tomb, in fulfillment of that which he had prophesied his followers about the possibility of immortality and eternal life.

This Innkeeper was a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, and he decreed that the tomb in which he had laid the body of Jesus should forever remain empty, that it should be a witness to the entire world that Christ had risen from the dead and conquered death.

Life continued for the innkeeper. He continued to prosper. His posterity grew and when the time came the innkeeper died a happy man. His widow laid him in a new tomb which he had purchased, and with great joy he greeted the savior in heaven. Jesus’ very first words of greeting were, AArimathaea enter into thy joy, for Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

The End

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