A story tells of a merchant in a
small town who had identical twin sons. The boys worked for their father in the
department store he owned and, when he died, they took over the store.
Everything went well until
the day dollar bill disappeared. One of the brothers had left the bill on the cash
register and walked outside with a customer. When he returned, the money was gone.
He asked his brother,
"Did you see that dollar bill on the cash register"? His brother replied
that he had not. But the young man kept probing and questioning. He would not
let it alone. "Dollar bills just don't get up and walk away! Surely you must
have seen it"! There was stubble accusation in his voice. Tempers began
to rise. Resentment set in. Before long, a deep and bitter chasm divided the
young men. They refused to speak. They finally decided they could no longer
work together and a dividing wall was built down the center of the store. For twenty
years hostility and bitterness grew, spreading to their families and to the community.
Then one day a man in an
automobile licensed in another state stopped in front of the store. He walked in and
asked the clerk, "How long have you been here"?
The clerk replied that he'd
been there all his life. The customer said, 'I must share something with you.
Twenty years ago, I was "riding the rails" and came into this town in a
boxcar. I hadn't eaten of three days. I came into this store from the back
door and saw a dollar bill on the cash register. I put in my pocket and walked
out. All these days I haven't been able to forget that . I know, it wasn't
much money, but I had to come back and ask your forgiveness."
The stranger was amazed to
see tears well up in the eyes of this middle-aged man. "Would you please go
next door and tell that same story to the man in the store"?, he said. Then the
man was even more amazed to see two middle-aged men, who looked very much alike, embracing
each other and weeping together in the front of the store.
After twenty years, the
brokenness, was mended. The wall of resentment that divided them came down.