The Window

by Kevin on February 23, 2014

The three brothers sat around the fire. Each pop of the wood sent an ember on a twirling dance across the night, lending their beauty to the darkness for a brief moment in time. The last question hung in the air like a fog that shrouds all but the immediate surroundings.

None of them knew the answer. They were young, but growing up without a father had not only kept them together, but now it was also driving them apart. Like leaves in the wind, they each began to choose their own path…and these paths seemed to be leading them all in different directions.

They had just finished a line camp job for the winter and now that they had a pocket full of money, the decision needed to be made of what they would do next. One brother wanted to buy a farrow table in a saloon. The lure of women, whiskey, and quick cash, where the odds were forever in your favor ate on him like a buzzard eats on a dead cow. Another brother wanted to just lay low for a while and not do anything. His effort was usually exhausted trying to get out of work than getting a job done. The third brother was a dreamer. He was not especially fond of drowning in sweat, but he also figured if your feet were always kicked up, they would forget how to get you where you were supposed to be.

Lightning startled them all and the fire hissed its displeasure at the few big raindrops that dared intrude. The brothers all made a mad dash for their kack and drug out their oiled slickers. Like personal teepees, the each huddled under the only protection they had from the rain.

The drop of liquid seemed to solidify each man’s resolve to act on his desires. Life seemed to be too short for only the company of cows and cold coffee, and all three brothers dreaded the soggy slumber that would be sure to follow.

Suddenly, their horse’s heads looked up in unison and the three cowboys tried to follow their gaze. Before they could see anything, a voice called out in a friendly manner and into the soggy camp walked a man leading his mount.

“Y’all best be getting your kack together and come with me. This rain’ll make man and mud plum miserable. I’ve got a place about an hour’s ride from here and y’alls welcome to throw yer bedrolls down at the ranch under a solid roof.”

With that said, he saddled up and rode off. There was a mad scramble and the three younger fellows were up and lopin’ off in the direction the stranger had set out.

They passed a bunk house and rode up to a barn with a set of corrals next to it. The man didn’t say anything, but motioned for the boys to follow and do as he did. With the horses tended and tack put away, he bid them follow to the big ranch house.

Inside they found a big living area with a huge rock fireplace. The fire was warm and inviting and the boys looked around for the Mrs. of the place, but they didn’t see anyone except their host. He poured them all a cup of coffee and stood in front of the fire to dry away the dampness that had intruded despite the slicker.

“Where y’all boys headed?” the cowboy finally asked over the steaming cup of coffee.

Four or five different answers were offered, but everyone in the room knew they didn’t know. After a long silence, the man stated that he was looking for some cowboys to help him on the ranch. He would be leaving and needed some hands to tend the place he’d built with his own two hands. He’d pay a meager wage, but they’d never be without food or shelter or clothes.

Before they could answer, he got up and walked to a big picture window that seemed to overlook the ranch. Glimpses of a long valley could be seen in the lightning flashes. He turned and motioned for them to stand beside him.

All four men, three of them just being a hair past that description, stood with coffee cups and stared out the big window. Finally, the man spoke.

“What do you see?”

The little boy gazed in wonder at the very spot his grandfather had stood those many years before. He turned back and said, “Well you can’t stop there grandpa!! What did y’all see when you looked out the window?”

The old man smiled and looked back in remembrance. “Well, it was dark so it was pretty tough to see anything, but the funny thing is…we all three saw something completely different.”

“What do you mean, grandpa?”

“My older brother saw a job. He ended up working there for a while, but he eventually left unhappy. He was looking for money and you will never find satisfaction in that.”

The old man got up and walked over to the window and stood there next to his grandson.

“My younger brother saw the easy road. Some people play the first card they’re dealt because they don’t have to think, work, or make a decision. He never liked to expend much effort on anything more than being lazy. He eventually left the ranch in search of an easier way of life.”

The young boy reached out and touched the window as if it had some magical quality. In a low voice he said, “This place could’ve been theirs too if they would have stayed, huh grandpa?”

“I’ve thought about that question a lot son. But I don’t think so. They weren’t looking at life through the right window.”

“Why not grandpa? You stayed and the ranch was given to you.”

“Well, the ranch was given to me that night. I just didn’t know it. When we woke up the next morning, the ranch owner was gone and we never saw him again. ‘Course, we didn’t know that he wasn’t ever coming back. After quite a spell and after my two brothers had gone, I went in the big house to check on things. In the master bedroom, laying on the bed was the deed to this place with my name on it. But it also had something else written on the front of the envelope.”

The boy’s eyes were wide as he asked, “What did it say?”

“You can’t understand what it said son, until you know what I saw when I looked out this window. Take a close look. Do you see it?”

The boy turned his attention back to the window and said, “It’s dark outside. I can’t see anything.”

“It is in the darkest times that you can see it most clearly. Relax and don’t try so hard. It’s right in front of you.”

The young boy was trying so hard and his grandfather didn’t want him to feel like a failure so he gently guided his grandson’s gaze.

“My brothers looked through the window for gain and the easy road…” The old man squatted down behind the boy and pointed. “I saw only the love of the man that rescued us that night. Do you see it?”

After three or four heartbeats, the young boy yelled, “I see it now grandpa! I understand!”

In the lighted living room on a dark night, the little boy saw through the eyes of understanding for the first time, the reflection of the wooden cross hanging above the fireplace behind them.

The old man pulled out an envelope and handed it to the boy. On it were the words….

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2


If you would like to watch the sermon associated with this, I encourage you to click here.

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