One day, about three years ago, Holly and her family were sitting around their home when there came an unexpected knock at the door. Holly went to answer it, and was shocked to find standing there Old Man Death. He had a gaunt face and black robe and in his pale hands he held out two things: Fear and Pain. Holly slammed the door in his face. She went to the doctor. He said, “There are treatments for this type of cancer, they often succeed, there is a little time in the hospital, then some pills,” and then Old Man Death was gone. At least for a while.
But then one day out of the blue, Holly wasn’t feeling well, and she looked out the window and saw a black robe come near. She slammed the window and drew the shades. She went back to the doctor. He said, “There are more aggressive treatments, but you’ll lose your hair.” She went wig shopping. Her sister told her she made chemo look good, and Old Man Death was gone again, for a while.
Then Holly went back to the hospital — some new complications. And slowly walking down the hall came Old Man Death. When he got to their door, Darren slammed it, and pushed against it with all his might. The girls even sat down in front of the door like little blonde doorstops. Her family and friends and church leaned against the door too. And Old Man Death went away, for a little while.
But then one Saturday evening in downtown Houston, while Holly lay in her bed, she saw Old Man Death slowly walking down the street. “I’ll get the door,” Darren said. “Don’t bother,” Holly replied. “I’ll bar the windows,” Iris said. “It’s ok,” Holly replied. “We’ll get him out of here,” her friends, and family, and doctors proclaimed. “No,” Holly replied.
And so the door was slowly, reluctantly pulled open, and instead of fighting off an unwanted enemy, they prepared to receive a guest. And yet when someone entered the room, it was not the Old Man Death who had earlier pursued, but someone else. He did not look gaunt and pale, but warm and compassionate. In his hands he did not hold out Fear and Pain, but instead he held out Rest and Peace.
And if you looked really closely at his hands, if you walked right up to him and stuck your nose near his hands, you’d notice something about them, you’d notice they were the hands of a carpenter.