Pity Poor Johnson
Poor Johnson had spent his life making wrong decisions. If he bet on a horse, it would lose; if he chose one elevator rather than another, it was the one he chose that stalled between floors; the line he picked before the bank teller’s cage never moved; the lane he chose in traffic crawled; the day he picked the picnic was the day of a cloudburst; and so it went, day after day, year after year.
Then, once, it became necessary for Johnson to travel to some city a thousand miles away and do it quickly. A plane was the only possible conveyance that would get him there in time, and it turned out that only one company supplied only one flight that would do. His heart bounded. There was no choice to make! And if he made no choice, surely he could come to no grief.
He took the plane.
Imagine his horror when, midway in the flight, the plane’s engines caught fire and it became obvious the plane would crash in moments.
Johnson broke into fervent prayer to his favorite saint , Saint Francis. He pleaded, “I have never in my life made the right choice. Why this should be, I don’t know, but I have borne my cross and have not complained. On this occasion, however, I did not make a choice; this was the only plane I could take and I had to take it. Why, then, am I being punished?”
He had no sooner finished when a giant hand swooped down out of the clouds and somehow snatched him from the plane. There he was, miraculously suspended two miles above the earth’s surface, while the plane spiraled downward far below.
A heavenly voice came down from the clouds. “My son, I can save you, if you have in truth called upon me.”
“Yes, I called on you,” cried Johnson. “I called on you, Saint Francis!”
“Ah,” said the heavenly voice, “Saint Francis Xavier or Saint Francis of Assisi. Which?”
This page was last updated July 1, 2003.