Door Number 1
I stood in the foyer and stared at Door Number 1. The only choice I was given was the order of the doors. So I could know the future to warn others—wasn’t that what the voice said?
I turned the handle. The door opened to a room of mirrors. However, these weren’t regular mirrors; they were mirrored doorways. “Which one should I enter, Lord?”
I heard nothing. I waited a little longer, but God’s voice was silent. He left the choice to me. I wanted to choose wisely. I stepped around several and came to a tall mirror. I stuck my hand in and pulled it out. I passed up that one and several others until I came to a mirror with moving images. I entered that one.
I was in a world of moving sidewalks. They went to the north, south, east, and west, crisscrossing each other, intersecting, and moving at very high speeds.
I looked down at my feet, and I was standing on the word “Go” in a multi-dimensional space. As I studied the moving tele-transports, I noticed travelers. Some of the people were anxious. Others seemed to enjoy the journey. Some disappeared and reappeared farther down the road. Others popped up and stayed.
I watched, mesmerized. I tried to see people’s faces. Who was happy and who was sad? That wasn’t made clear to me.
There were more than a dozen sidewalks. The longer I mulled over which one to choose, the more uncertain I became. After a while, I grew weary. I threw up my hands. Choices carry eternal consequences, and I wanted to make the right one.
“You choose,” I heard a voice say. “Free will is a wonderful thing in the hands of an awesome God.”
The sidewalk whisked me alongside dozens of other travelers. As the moving sidewalk carried me, I saw foods that whet my appetite. Cinnamon rolls, chocolate croissants, and other pastries called my name. I passed a brewery with a sign advertising free samples of beer. Farther along I caught a whiff of delightful scents—perfumes, essential oils, and soaps—so many choices, so much opportunity.
The exchange of money increased. Soon I saw people buying things they couldn’t afford. They pulled out credits cards, signed bank loans, borrowed from friends, and more.
“I’ve maxed out my credit cards,” someone said.
“No problem,” a merchant replied. “Just sign here.”
I left that conversation, and I continued along the widening sidewalk of debt.
“This car will be the best car you’ve ever owned,” a car salesman exhorted. “It’s the number one rated sports car in the world.”
I looked at the price tag—a hundred thousand dollars.
Soon I came to a crosswalk. Until now, I didn’t know the sidewalks were named. To my surprise, I was traveling on the Sidewalk of Necessities. I came to a store where a merchant was selling animals. The buyer offered the seller money, which was no small amount.
The merchant shook his head. “That’s not enough. These animals are extinct. You can breed them and create a new Garden of Eden. Imagine the people who will flock to your attraction—people who love Mother Earth, conservationists, animal lovers, and bird enthusiasts. You’ll be the richest man in the world. Who wouldn’t want to visit the rebirth of the Garden of Eden?”
The bartering continued. What would be a fair price to buy extinct animals and create another Garden of Eden?
As I walked, I came to a merchant who was selling futures. “Hear ye,” he shouted as he waved his hand. “Step right up. We’ll release your heart-felt dream. It’s reasonably priced, and you deserve it. Come and see a demonstration of the only dream reaper in the world.”
A woman walked up. “What’s the price?”
The wiry man whipped out his hand and pointed with a dramatic flair. “Have a seat. If you qualify after this demonstration, you’ll be given a special seat in the real dream reaper.” I looked behind the salesman at a most unusual contraption.
The woman was in her late twenties or early thirties and appeared to be in good health. Youth was leaving her, as it does for all of us, but she was too immature to have attained wisdom.
The woman poured out her heart to the stranger in extraordinary detail, expounding on all the unfair and unjust things that had happened to her, leading to a life in the gutter of despair. Always the victim, she wallowed in self-pity and rejection.
The merchant smiled. “You’re just the right person for the dream reaper. You deserve better. Don’t worry about the cost. You can pay it off in the next thirty years before your date with death.”
“What do you mean, my date with death?”
The merchant replied, “Well, I can’t tell you any more than that. You’ll need to talk to the dream reaper. He can answer that question.”
She looked around. “Where is he?”
The merchant pointed. “Step right up to the dream reaper building.”
The woman hesitated.
“You want to release your dream, right?”
The woman nodded, but her enthusiasm dissipated when she realized she couldn’t have it—another unjust and unfair thing to add to her trophy list of unhappiness.
I continued walking. A merchant stood out front waving a strange-looking banner—Soul Extractor. No one was at his stand, so I left the Sidewalk of Necessities and strolled up to the merchant.
“Tell me about your soul extractor business.”
His eyes lit up, and he greeted me with such exuberance I felt indebted to make a purchase.
“Would you like your soul extracted?” the man asked me.
“What do you do with the soul once you extract it?”
“Oh,” the merchant said, “I give it to the devil.”
“What do you mean?”
“Have you ever met a person without a soul?”
“Wait a minute,” I interrupted. “If I sell my soul to you, then I no longer have a soul.”
“That’s right,” the merchant said. “But for some people, other things are more important than their soul.”
I stared at the merchant.
The man leaned over and looked into my eyes. “Think about it,” he whispered.
“You mean people would sell their soul?”
He laughed. “Absolutely.”
“What do you give them for their soul?”
The man cocked his head as if surprised by my question. “The devil sets the price.”
So what do you do with the soul you extract?”
The man laughed. “As I said, I give it to the devil.”
“You can’t do that,” I protested.
The smile left his face. “Look, I’m not discussing the moral issue of it. All I care about is selling the soul, and all the devil cares about is receiving the soul. So we have the soul extractor. Everyone is happy. The person has what he wanted, I’ve made the transaction, and the devil has the soul.”
I shook my head. “How can you do that?”
He leaned over and whispered, “Because I sold my soul to the devil and now I do his bidding. I have no choice. He owns me.”