Posted 7/20/11 (Wed)
Heard a story the other night about a fellow that had died and was waiting in line at the Pearly Gates. As he waited, he could see a lot of the souls weren’t making it in. Satan was standing there, and as the bad guys were turned back, he would grab them and throw them into the fires of hell.
But as this fellow watched, every once in awhile Satan would throw a soul over to the side on a separate pile.
Being the curious sort, this cowboy finally walked over to Satan and asked what that pile of souls off to the side was?
Satan replied, “They’re from North Dakota and too wet to burn!”
I tell you what, it dang sure ain’t haying weather.
That got me thinking. Once upon a time, Lynn and I were on our way to a rodeo meeting. As often happened, we were having an intelligent conversation over our soda pops. I asked Lynn if he thought he would go to heaven or hell upon his demise. He promptly replied, “I’ll bet I run into someone I know either place!”
I receive many bits of information over the Internet. Some good. Some not so good. Usually, since the good ones have been shared with most, I don’t pass many on. But I found this so touching, I decided to use it for this week’s article. It goes like this…
“As a bagpipe player, I am asked to play many gigs. Sometimes it is a wedding. Sometimes a parade. Sometimes a celebration of different sorts. This time it was a funeral.
The owner of a funeral home asked if I would come play for the funeral of a homeless man. He had no known relatives. No known friends. He was to be buried in a pauper’s cemetery in the backwoods of Kentucky.
I agreed to play, and the next morning took off for the cemetery. Not being acquainted with the backwoods, I became lost. There was no one around to ask directions, and being a man, I was determined to find it by myself anyway. This driving around gave me plenty of time to reflect on this homeless man’s life. Who was he? Had he been a veteran? Was he old? Was he young? How could a man go through life and leave no footprint? It was heartbreaking.
After wandering around back trails for a bit, I came upon the gravesite in a small clearing. As I was over an hour late, the minister had left. The hearse was also gone. All that was left were the gravediggers, waiting to cover the grave, and they were sitting near the grave having lunch.
Feeling terrible, I apologized to them for being late, walked over to the gravesite and peered down. The vault was in place, and all that was left was to cover the grave.
I began to play. And I played as I had never played before as I looked down at that grave. The sound of the bagpipe filled that glen with music from a thousand years. As I played “Amazing Grace,” the workers took off their hats and stood next to me. Tears streamed down my face, and as the notes from that bagpipe filled the woods, they also streamed down the faces of the workers.
For some reason, the mystical sound of the bagpipe had never sounded so fitting as it did for this homeless stranger. It was as if his soul was defining each note and making it more beautiful than it ever had before.
As the song ended, I bowed my head and said a silent prayer, wiping a tear from my eye.
I slowly began the walk back to my waiting car when I heard one of the workers say, “I been putting in septic tanks for over twenty years, and I ain’t never heard nothing like that!”
Apparently I was still lost.