It is a great disappointment to me that despite my efforts to be kind and compassionate there is a rude little woman with a Snarky Voice in my head who surfaces when I am out of sorts. She tromps around in my head saying all sorts of mean things.
A woman had just said, carefully, “I have something I’d like to share.”
And Snarky was all over it. Ohgodno I do NOT want to hear another story about another person I don’t know. No. No. No.
I try to make the woman sit down with The Sheer Force of My Mind. Do you hear me? I started willing a woman to SIT DOWN. Which is stupid and impossible, but these are the crazy things I do when the mean voices show up.
While I focus on commanding the woman to sit down (with my mind), she continues on, blissfully unaware of my efforts. I eventually tune in to hear her say:
"…and when he was 3, he was taken in by his grandmother because his parents were abusing -- torturing him. Truly. I mean, they are bad people. They are in prison for life."
<Snarky abruptly exits the building. Even Snarky has lines she won’t cross.>
The woman continues her story…
“…And he was a good boy, and never caused his grandmother any trouble. Never caused any trouble in school, either. Then, when he was 15, there was an accident, and he was shot in the face. It was a long and difficult recovery, but he did recover. Only…shortly after that, his grandmother passed away. After that, we didn’t know where he was. We found out later he was homeless, basically living on the streets. He had resources, but he didn’t know it.”
She woman brushes back her bangs and continues on, more quickly now.
"My cousins began to search for him. When they found him on the streets, they worked to get him into a shelter. That worked for a while, but after about 18 months, they realized…they felt…well, a homeless shelter just isn’t ideal for a 20-year-old. So they decided to take him in. Give him a home."
“I visited them last week,” the woman concludes. “They are so happy. And you would think his favorite words in all the world are 'mom' and 'dad.' He never misses an opportunity to call them mom and dad. He slips it into almost every sentence. ‘You got it, mom.’ ‘Over here, dad.’"
“They’re a family now,” she adds. "And I’m just so grateful." She smiles. "And happy.” She sits down and the room is silent for a while.
That’s when I hear The Other Voice. And It says, simply,
This is a parable.
The woman’s story is a parable, my friends. Do you see it? No? Ok. Try this:
Jesus of Nazareth stands in the center of a room with soft white walls and plain hardwood floors. Everyone is quiet, waiting. He looks slowly round at His listeners, takes a breath and begins:
“Once there was a boy who suffered much. When he was small, his little body was wounded by the very people entrusted with his care. A good woman took the boy away from his torturers, and cared for him for many years. But one day, the good woman died, and the boy became lost. There was help for the boy, but he did not know it. So he wandered the streets, alone, filled with sorrow, believing himself forgotten.
Now, there was also at this time a man and woman who had NOT forgotten the boy. The man and the woman searched for the boy in earnest for a very long time. When they found the boy, they helped him, and when the boy was ready, they took him home. The boy felt their love, and the man and the woman felt his. And they were happy.”
Jesus looks over the room thoughtfully, then asks,
"Which of these people are you?"
Are you the boy? Lost, wandering the streets, filled with sorrow and loneliness? Take heart. God is coming for you.
Are you the man and the woman? Is there someone in your world who is lonely, struggling, unaware of her resources? Are YOU her resource? Good heavens, get going. Go help her. She needs you.
And they were happy.