John walked into the cabin, flipped on the light and was afraid. But it was nothing new, though. John Champlin was always afraid.
He was the poster child for cautiousness. Since elementary school, John was careful. Safe. And refused to rock the boat. He sailed in the channel and never explored life’s coves and peninsulas.
John lived a good life. But it was a boring one.
He was the proverbial servant who buried his talent. The Good Lord had given him a life. And John refused to use it.
John’s brothers had invested their talents. His older brother Paul had joined the Air Force and seen the world. His middle brother Liam was a doctor of psychology. Both had traveled extensively. Both were alive. John feared airplanes. And besides, he had a TV to show him the world. He went from work to his cabin everyday. Nothing less. Nothing more.
“I’ve been waiting for you.”
John dropped the bag of groceries he was carrying, breaking the dozen eggs and jar of mayonnaise. He saw the figure in the corner of the room and let out a scream. ”WHO ARE YOU?” he reached for a poker by the fireplace.
The man, dressed in a white silk suit, brushed dust off his shoulder and smiled, “Who would you like me to be?”
“A tree and leave.”
The stranger laughed. “For such a boring man, you sure are funny. No, John, I’m the brother you never had. You can call me Isaac.”
John paused for a moment. His mother had lost a child between after Liam.
“Yes, John. You shouldn’t have been born. Your parents were going to quit after three. If I had survived, you wouldn’t be here. Did you ever chew on that?”
John stumbled and felt lightheaded. Who was this man sitting in his cabin, making him think of such disturbing things?
“Don’t be afraid. I’m your best friend, brother. Particularly right now. Because you’re sleepwalking through your life. And I’m here to give you a wakeup call.”
John wasn’t sure he wanted to carry on a conversation with a man who hadn’t even been born. ”How do you know about my lost brother?”
“Because I am your lost brother.” Isaac smiled, pulled out a golden book and continued, “Your mother and father are middle class and gave you pretty much everything you could have ever wanted. You have settled on the safe path your whole life. And you’re afraid not of failure, but that people won’t like you. Dude, that’s sick. There are, what six billion people on the planet — maybe more. Not everyone is going to like you.”
“If you’re done psycho-analysing me, I have groceries to put away.” John was looking for his cellphone so he could call the police.
“You think the police will see me?” Isaac walked over to his brother and put his hands on his shoulders. His hands felt warm to the touch. John noticed his eyes looked just like his father’s.
“I know you don’t go to Sunday School much, but reread the Parable of the Talents. It’s in Matthew, I think. Anyway, talents were money back then. And you can even interpret the story to mean that if God gives you a gift, you should use it. If you can sing, sing, for example. But I think it means much, much more. The talent that the Good Lord has given you, my lucky brother, is life. You have been given the gift of a chance. Of an opportunity. And YOU are BURYING it. Wasting it. And like the story said, the master will not be pleased.”
John ignored his lost brother and turned on the TV. Isaac walked over to the TV, picked it up and threw it out of the window. John, stunned by the crash of glass, just stared at the broken windowpane. “WHAT THE…”
“Got your attention, didn’t I?,” Isaac laughed. He picked up the video game system under the TV and tossed it out, too. And then John’s laptop.
“No, start it!” Isaac yelled in John’s face.” You are given 86400 seconds each day. Start USING them. They are your talents.”
John paused for a moment and then picked up his cellphone and threw it out the window.
“Look little brother, you’re like a snowflake. There is no one else like you. Be special. Be unique. Love this life.”
Isaac stretched out on the couch. ” I never got to enjoy a couch. I always wanted one of these.”
“Well, gotta go…Don’t be afraid of failing little brother. And don’t be afraid of succeeding, either. I will always be here with you.” Isaac began to glow and then slowly faded from sight.
John was once again alone.
He began to openly weep. The man who always played it safe had never thought about his life like this before. He fell to his knees, shaking. He had never felt more alive in his life.
And in a lone cabin, on a lone hill, a lone man, at the age of 40, was born.