Clarence Carmichael closed his eyes and breathed deeply the air of Heaven. Only moments before he and his brother Charles were sitting at the dinner table with their mother, Evelyn. It had been a long day and Clarence had looked forward to getting together with his family. Teaching and dealing with his students at Stonehaven High School always made Clarence grumpy and depressed. Every week he came to his mother’s house grumbling and complaining. He was always talking about his students, his job, his co-workers - everything! On more than one occasion he questioned whether or not he should be doing something else with his life.
Getting together with his brother and mother for dinner was always the highlight of his week. Besides, it was a great place for him to unwind. They ate together at least once or twice a week. Charles and Evelyn always listened patiently as he vented his frustrations. The last thing he remembered was reaching for a bowl of fried potatoes. The next thing he knew he was in the presence of his Lord and Savior!
Just a few feet away he saw his mother and father as they laughed and wept.
“This is so awesome!” he said as he continued to look around taking in the scenery.
There was his brother, Charles and his wife Brenda. They were surrounded by their three boys: Alex, Adam, and Arthur. Clarence closed his eyes and let the joy well up inside once again.
“This is Heaven!” he heard himself say out loud.
“Mr. Carmichael?” a voice came from behind him.
Startled, Clarence opened his eyes and turned to see who had called his name. Standing before him was a young man - probably in his early twenties. Instantly Clarence recognized him.
“Toby?” He said as he stretched out his arms and pulled the young man close. “Toby Reeder! I am so glad to see you here!”
Toby laughed as he wiped tears from his eyes. “I guess you’re surprised to see me here - especially after all the trouble I gave you in class?”
“Welllll….” Clarence said as he exhaled slowly. “To be honest, I guess I am. So, when did you make the decision to follow Christ?”
“Well, Mr. Carmichael“, Toby said as he looked around, “it wasn’t long after I graduated from high school. In fact, it was because of you that I accepted Christ.”
“Me?” Clarence said wide eyed.
“I know we always gave you a hard time in school and everything, but your life really had a big impact on us.” Toby said as he smiled.
“Us?” Clarence repeated.
“Yes, ‘us’” Toby said as he turned and gestured with his hand.
There behind him stood several of Clarence’s former and current students! The teacher stood speechless as student after student shook his hand or hugged his neck. He had no idea the impact his life had made on his students. Yet, here they were in Heaven because he obeyed God and demonstrated the love of Christ through his everyday life.
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