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Scales at the Gate 2

This is a follow-up (variation) to my post, Scales at the Gate.

This is another story.

A 10th degree black belt in Karate was standing at the gate of heaven. The angel who guarded the gate sat next to a large pair of scales, balanced by a golden chain.

"Welcome to heaven," said the angel. "Can you tell me a little about yourself?"

"Well," said the judan, "there's not much to say. I lived and tried my best."

"But aren't you a 10th degree black belt in Karate? A hanshi, shihan, grand master... I mean great grand master. You know more than any other Karate instructors. Basically, you are the very best."

"Those things don't matter," said the judan. "I did practice Karate, but I tried my best at whatever I did in life. Being a good husband, father, grandfather, and friend was much more important to me."

"But you've won hundreds of awards, been inducted into numerous Halls of Fame, been featured in countless magazine articles, appeared on a dozen television specials, and had a special day named for you in your home town," continued the angel.

"Can I tell you something?" asked the judan. "When I taught Karate I always emphasized that rank and titles without skill are meaningless, and that destructive skill without character is dangerous. In Karate, character comes first. Then it comes second. Then it comes third. Character is what counts."

The angel could not speak for a moment. Standing before him was an honest, humble, accomplished person. "Well come right in," he finally said.

"What about the scales," asked the judan.

"Never mind. I'm afraid you would break them," replied the angel.

In the End, your character is what speaks most loudly about you. And not just in the End. In the Beginning and Middle too.


Charles C. Goodin