Thursday 22 August 2013

Thought Picnic: The New Parable of the Prodigal Son

Angels of gathering
For angels abound that walk the earth in the form of people you and I see on the street, whose humanity has heart and soul, beating with compassion and empathy, leaving you speechless in gratitude, disarmed in thankfulness and helpless in the tenderness that can expressed by those who in their time have become another narrative of the Good Samaritan story.
As he left that office yesterday, having bit his lip in utter regret of the experience he had just suffered, you found on the busy street, a bench to sit, famished for hunger, he sat to gather his thoughts.
The gathering of the shards of his life shattered in a history that really had become a drama almost too liveable for words.
The new prodigal son
He left his country which had become his fatherland full of health, full of promise, full of hope and much else to the land of a different tongue, he lived, he prospered and he wasted his means – prodigal he had become that all he left with and what he had gained was lost – health, promise, prospect, status, job, home and desire – as each day appeared to hold no tomorrow, he came to himself like the prodigal son and decided to return home.
For he thought, at least at home they speak his tongue, his fatherland, maybe he might find shelter, boarding, sustenance and some new hope, he was not expecting open arms, but there were many open to arm him with much to see beyond the morrow – it started well, though with difficulty.
The truth is, unlike for the prodigal son, there was no father that ran into the fields having sighted his son from afar to fall upon his neck and cry for joy that the son that was lost was now found, no new robes, no welcome feast but a resentful and judgemental big brother with a long checklist of eligibility for this and for that.
Checking the boxes to hell
Single, no dependants, no local connections, able, no proof of address, no bank account, no local references, no recent utility bills, no priority, not eligible for security clearance, not our business, no way here – the list was as long as judgement day had arrived and the only way was the way to hell or without saying the words, what he did hear from them was – Go to hell.
And hell it would have been because as he sat on the bench before nightfall yesterday gathering his thoughts until his angels came by to bear him away to safety from crawling with the swineherd and enjoying the Michelin star gourmet of pigswill, he would have been on a bench through the night drenched by the watering of the heavens that fed the trees and he would have found no tears to flow with the flood of sorrow that would have overcome him.
Barely netting the whale of the problem
The times have changed, the rules have toughened, the righteous are resisted and the cunning have run rings round the system, whilst England has no place for prodigal sons – it is mercy of angels, far and near, in kind and in means that ushered in another day.
The new parable of the prodigal son is not reading like happily ever after, the assumptions we made about safety nets are fallacies because the below on the jagged rocks of life lie those who have fallen through holes bigger than the size of elephants, we see them daily, the ones that checkboxes discarded without consideration, the ones society forgot and the ones that have become invisible but are there, in rags of clothing and prospect, in hope for the next meal having had none for longer than they can remember – they probably were not prodigal but have been put on the speedway to hell by a system bereft of heart and soul.
Yet, the politician and the comfortable mounts soapbox, rostrum, podium and lectern preaching about those abusing the system but saying nothing about those abused by the system and they be many too bruised to ask for anything but for some spare change from you and I – what will be done for them – he asks, what?

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