Finding Faith – a modern parable

"David's Charge to Solomon" (1882), ...

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On Saturday, I drove to Columbus to participate in a workshop on Biblical Storytelling. I’ve spent time in Columbus, but it’s been 15 years, easily, since I was last there. But I was armed with a good map, extra time, my favorite CD, and coffee, and it was a beautiful day, so I felt ready to make the journey.

The workshop was taking place at King Avenue United Methodist Church, and per my directions, I exited the freeway, turned left and found Kinnear and Olentangy River Roads. Olentangy splits, though, and being directionally challenged, I took the wrong path.

I found myself taking a very pleasant, scenic drive along Olentangy River Road. But after about 20 minutes, it occurred to me I was going the wrong way. I should have arrived at the church by now, and I hadn’t even seen King Avenue.

I backtracked, came to a gas station, and asked Erik, the young man behind the counter, where I had to go.

He said I was almost there, gave me good directions and said, “It should only take you about five minutes from here.”

Perfect! I thanked him, left, and continued on my way. I wound up back at the place where I’d gotten off the highway in front of a movie theater. It was then I noticed where I’d made my mistake. This time I chose the right way.

King Avenue itself was tricky to find and then, even counting the addresses, I wasn’t 100% sure if that huge old church I passed was the right one. It resembled a castle or small fortress. It turns out the stately building of blond stones, heavy wood doors and stained glass windows was, in fact, the right place.

I found a place to park, and pulled on the first door I came to.


I walked around the side of the building and tried the next pair of doors.

Both locked.

At the next entrance, four doors wide, I yanked on the massive handles.

All locked.

After a three hour drive – including getting lost – I felt a little irritated. And embarrassed. I shouldn’t have this much trouble getting where I need to be. It shouldn’t be this hard. I’m smarter than that.

A young man in mirrored sunglasses, carrying a backpack and walking with purpose, passed me.

“Excuse me!” I called. “If I was the door to get into this church, where would I be?”

Even with the sunglasses on, the stillness in his face told me he was at a loss for an answer.

“I am not sure,” he replied with a thick accent. “I am not from around here. But I will wish you luck and say, ‘keep trying.'” He smiled and strode on.

I sighed, and walked around the next corner.

I’d gone almost completely around the church’s exterior to my parking space, when I came upon a large sign that said ENTRANCE and had a long red arrow pointing at the next set of doors.

I laughed. “Thanks.”

Again, two sets of doors. I pulled on the first one. Locked!

Was God trying to tell me something? Did I miss a memo?

Finally, the last door. I pulled. It opened with a whisper and a rush of cool air greeted me.


The moral of the story?

There are many paths to faith. There are many homes and fortresses and many doors. You have to try a lot of locks and get directions sometimes. But ultimately, you are shown the way to go.


3 thoughts on “Finding Faith – a modern parable

  1. Oh I love this. So true. Sometimes it is easy to give up after a few locked doors… I love how you made your point with this story. Thank you!

    • Thanks, my friend! The metaphor hit me between the ears while I was sitting in the workshop – almost laughed out loud at the irony!

      However, I’m still trying to figure out the symbolism behind the tire disintegrating on the front of my car on the way home. 😉 Nothing like changing a tire alongside a highway two hours from home in 95 degree weather!

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