The Prodigal Son/Daughter – Revisited

The Prodigal Son/Daughter  (11-10-07)

There was once a woman who was left to raise her children on her own. She worked hard to try to make sure that the absence of a father in their lives would not mean that they went without. She gave them guidance and love and watched over them as if with the careful eyes of two parents.

Her youngest child got into a bad crowd and started to drink although he was too young to do so. He came home frequently too drunk to speak, except words of hurt and violence. He missed school and government bodies started to look closely at the parenting skills of the mother. They recognized that she was doing her best as her elder child was not giving her the same worries. They offered support and intervention but nothing seemed to penetrate the sense of the younger child.

Things went from bad to worse. Exam results were no good, attendance at school was at an all-time low and the police had even come calling; threatening her child with an anti-social behaviour order.

The mother cried and pleaded and prayed. One night, while the son was out drinking with some friends, they got into a fight with another crowd and some people were badly hurt. The younger child was stabbed in the leg and found by the police and taken to hospital.

The mother was called and rushed to the hospital where she kept a vigil by her son’s side until he awoke.

When he did he looked at his mother’s face and into her eyes and wept for the hurt he had caused her and the life he was leading.

On his release from hospital he went home and began to change his ways. His mother rewarded him with a laptop which she paid for so that he could study more easily and have another interest.

The elder son was angry at this and said,

‘You’re always saying how hard it is to manage on what you’ve got coming in. I give you what I can but he’s never given you a penny. Now you’ve taken out credit to buy something for him he doesn’t deserve. How is that fair?’

His mother held his two hands between hers and said,

‘You’ve never given me a moment of unnecessary worry. Your character is strong and with purpose. Your brother lost the plot for a long time and I thought he would end up in prison or dead. He’s with us again as he used to be – stronger now for what he has experienced. You both have all my love always. But when one needs me more than another, at a given time, it is that one whose needs I best try to fulfill. It takes nothing away from you and gives him the chance of a new life. And us too. For what would our lives have been with the loss of a son and a brother?’

The elder son cried and held his mother to him , understanding better the meaning of love.

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The Pieta

The Pieta (4-1-08)

Awkward and too heavy,

Sprawled across a knee too small,

Lying precariously

And ungainly.

Ready to fall again,

Even after death.

The Pieta.

What have I done? a mother asks.

What have they done to you?

Why do they hate you so?

To torture your body

And my heart and mind?

And yet the knowledge was ever there.

A sword will pierce your heart.

Did she know exactly how?

Does she look resigned to the facts

She could only have been half aware of?

One hand lies loose,

Not holding on to the prone figure.

Not cuddling, as a mother would, an infant.

Resigned she may be;

For the face knows more than the two figures show.

The broken man is broken only in body.

His spirit lives

And sets us free.

She knows this but still her heart is heavy

For the child and the man –

The physical being she has lost –

Only to return ,

Physically and spiritually,

In glory and splendour.

Her honour –

An assumption into heaven-

Without death.

Having carried the one

Who carried

The burdens of the world

She sits in glory.

With the Father

And the Son

And the Holy Spirit.