Hundreds were disappointed and dumbfounded Saturday when they arrived at the departure point for their much anticipated trip to Heaven and discovered that it had been postponed. The tour director had not distributed tickets; he had simply tweeted the time of departure to his followers. He explained that this is a common practice in his business. People tend to misplace their tickets if they are distributed beforehand.
Would-be travelers were dismayed when the trip did not materialize; they looked to the tour director for an explanation. He attributed the mix-up to a miscalculation on his part. “Actually,” he told the crowd, “I do have your tickets for the trip of a lifetime. I received them this morning. However, due to an unfortunate error, for which I take full responsibility, the time of departure is five months hence. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you, and I do hope you will be on board when that day arrives.”
Many in the group, although sad, simply turned and walked away, determined to wait until the next date. After all, they had prepared and saved and told all their friends. And the tour director could be forgiven if, as they suspected, he was a graduate of the Camping School of Math. Anyone can make a mistake.
However, a few had been through this before, and they were not so easily pacified. They demanded that the tour director hand over their tickets. They were beginning to want to see for themselves what was printed there.
Reluctant to allow them to see their own tickets, which they had already purchased, the tour director attempted to assure them that the next date was accurate. He told them to wait patiently in their homes and listen to music in the meantime. Unfortunately, they had no homes or radios as they had sold them or given them away. They had believed they would no longer need them since their tickets were one-way. When they discovered that their trusted group leader had all his possessions still intact . . . well, that’s when it turned ugly at the train station.
Officials reported that two or three angry men overpowered the tour director and snatched his brief case. When they opened it, there they were . . . the tickets to Heaven. They did exist . . . but what was printed there surprised and perplexed them.
Those who observed the situation were quick to comment: “How could they have been so foolish? How could they have put their trust in this man? Why did they blindly believe what he told them?” In fact, several bystanders asked them these very questions.
The response was universal: “He gave us something definite and specific. We wanted everything figured out, and he did that for us. In short, we had to know, and he provided a concrete plan.”
Police had the tour director in custody, but no one pressed charges. After all, he had only provided what they had demanded: definite information. The crowd slowly dispersed as dazed officials began to clean up the area. The unused tickets were scattered everywhere. One uniformed employee appeared sympathetic with those who had followed the tour director. When asked why, he shook his head and said, “See for yourself. People can’t live their lives so indefinitely, can they?” He revealed the ticket he had retrieved from the floor where the people had discarded them (even though they would still be honored at a future time). Clearly, they were unable to operate in the vague realm known to some as faith, for printed on the ticket was:
Time of Departure: Unknown”