Alex, the parson knew to be, was one who seemed to be moved from one appointment to another at least every three years. The parson also knew he was a more than adequate preacher; he was above average in pastoral care skills. But he seemed to always be at odds with the congregation to which he was assigned to serve.
“What's this church doing?” the parson asked.
“Well, that's just the point, Parson. They're not doing anything. Absolutely nothing. And it's driving me up the wall.”
“You've only been there six months, Alex, maybe you should give them a little more time to grow on you.”
“Grow on me. Grow on me. That's a rich one, Parson. Grow on me. You're a riot.”
“Look, Alex, I didn't mean to get your all riled up.”
“I”m sure you didn't, Parson, but the fact of the matter is the people in the church have a very limited vision. They don't look beyond tomorrow to the future. They only are concerned about the next service and when they get to that service they're mostly concerned that the service is over within one hour. Grow on me. I don't think I want that kind of stuff to grow on me.”
The parson thought a moment. Then he said, “Alex, mind if I tell you a personal story?”
“Back when I was in high school, somebody started calling my parents and complaining about things my friends and I were doing in the neighborhood. Turns out this person had called the parents of my friend Charlie and another friend Jack. The complainer told out parents that we were making too much noise on Saturday nights when we played ball out in the streets. He also said that we should respect personal property and not use his yard as a short cut when going from one place to another. He suggested to our parents that we were disrespectful of our elders and had no consideration for others.
“My parents lit into me about it. They said Charlie, Jack, and I should have been more considerate of others. All thre of us were punished. I got two weeks restriction. Charlie and Jack got punishment just as unfair.”
“So why are you telling me this?” asked Alex.
“Hang on, Alex,” the parson suggested. “there's more.”
“When the three of us were off restriction we got together to discuss who could it have been that got us in trouble. Jack said his dad said something about it being a Mr. Anderson. Ah, yes, we all knew Mr. Anderson. He rode the bus from work. He got off the bus and walked a block down the road and then walked up Orchard Court. He lived on Orchard Court.
“Charlie told us he knew where Mr. Anderson lived. We decided to get back at him. So one night we headed over to Mr. Anderson's house with about fifty rolls of toilet paper. We started tossing those rolls into the trees. In no time at all we walked down his driveway and pause at the street to look back at the yard. We did. And afterward we turned to walk home. It was then we noticed the mailbox. It read Johnson, not Anderson.
“I have to tell you, Alex, my dad was more than a little upset. I don't remember how long the restriction was, but it seemed like forever.”
Alex stared at the parson a good full minute before he responded. “And, knowing you, there's a moral to this story.”
“Of course, there is, Alex. Anger misdirected only hurts the angry.