John Bressler-022511Listen to John Bressler read his column.
There is a great beach in Sarasota, Florida, called Siesta Key, covered with what the locals call "sugar" sand. Just like the word implies, the sand is so soft that you feel you're walking on powder. At the north end, the road turns off to the right, unless you are wealthy enough to own a piece of Gulf-front property, where tourists and home folks are treated to some very tasty burgers and fries, a knock-down drag-out ice cream parlor and high-priced beach wear with some funky odds and ends every vacationer just has to have.
I digress. If you had the money and the key card to enter the gate clearly marked "private property," you would move along a rustic two-lane roadway lined with palm trees and lush island vegetation. There are plenty of openings to see the clear blue water, an occasional sail boat and the ever present yacht going out for a day on the briny deep.
The homes are what you would expect: big, exclusive, overwhelming and very expensive. They were all those, "When I win the lottery," mansions.
At the very end of the key was the perfect piece of property, with the perfect beach home and the perfect panoramic view of Big Pass, Longboat Key and unbelievable sunsets … with one perfect flaw.
Years before, the doctor bought this piece of property with one thought in mind. He was going to build his dream house on it and nothing was going to stop him. He had quite a struggle with the town council. Beach-front permits don't come cheap. He would have to sign all the regulations guaranteeing that any construction would not damage the already fragile beach. He had to provide adequate insurance. And, did he know that Siesta Key beach had been created by the same wave and tidal action that could destroy it? His reply was basically, "Here's the money and I'll risk it."
I know you folks are already turning to the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5 through 7, and are looking at chapter seven verses 26 and 27.
About a year after his dream was built, something began to happen. Slowly, very slowly, the tidal movement began to change, the wave action was more southerly and the sand began to wash away at the rate of nearly a foot a day. During the next seven months, the owner brought in coral, built concrete barriers and tons of sand hoping to stop — or at least slow down — the inevitable.
The local news carried an almost daily account of the story. In less than one year, the perfect dream was destroyed. The amazing thing was that the beach restored itself and hasn't changed much in the past 30 years and most folks down there have forgotten the incident, the house and the man who built his home on sand.
It's been about 2,000 years since Jesus taught the lesson: "Hear my words and do them! Be wise and not foolish! The rains will fall, the floods will come and the winds will beat against you!"
"Not me!" I say. "I will choose and I will make my destiny and I will not listen to the ancient words of a so-called teacher, prophet or mystic. I will do it my way!"
Now, folks, I am not much of a better man, but if I were, I would put money on the possibility that someone down there on Siesta Key is walking that same beach-front property and can see the foundation being laid for a magnificent home overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Every person who has ever walked the face of this earth has to make choices: listen to reason, lay out the options, determine the possibilities and choose.
A caveat: "And when Jesus finished speaking, the crowd was astonished!"
I have always wondered, "Who listened?"
Some simply refuse to listen and let ambition, pride or stubbornness stand in the way of reality.