A year later, elder sibling

March 16, 2016

This is the one I have dreaded to write — for in all my envisioning of this parable I’ve never imagined the elder sibling walking away. (Perhaps you’ve noticed.) I know I need to face that resolution for the open ended parable. What happens then?

Of course, I wasn’t going in to dance –
not then, not ever.
And it wasn’t even so much
about the stink of pigs
and sex and booze,
the cheap puff
of scared repentance,
that will have no staying power –
just watch.

It was my parents,
peeing themselves for the chance
to be sucker-punched again.

No – it is not
about failing to honor
or appreciate or even recognize
anything I’ve done for all these years,
(not that I’m counting,
not that I’m tired of being used
and unnoticed and
taken for granted.)

I will not watch
this come down again.

Forgiveness is over-rated —
I’ve heard victim impact statements
to prove it.

And, you see I am,
for the record,
and I like keeping records,
and shifting them, too …
the honorable one here.
I left the three of them my half
of the inheritance
to live on – I turned and walked
out of that field,

left my parent there in the road
blubbering the-lost-is-found-blah-blah …
Really! Give me a break!

I set myself up very well,
having known the right people
for quite a long time
in the tax collection business,.

I am doing fine, a small house,
but I’ll trade up to villa.
No planting, no harvest,
no animals,
well one goat for the milk.
No temptation to do
a good deed on the Sabbath.

It is a pleasure, especially at holidays
to have no family at all,
and I blithely ignore
long-term expectations
of my widow-with-benefits
(in my business I can count
to fourteen)
and I am not likely
to give them the excuse
of a grandchild.

Enough – time to roll the scrolls
on this day of work.
Making money on money
can give a person quite a thirst,
and I was glad to talk to you,
fill you in on the last year
in my own personal far country.
As they always say —
why did I wait?

Left that party and I’ll never look back.
I have some great new friends
who appreciate me
for what I am worth –
and throw some fabulous feasts
to which I am the one invited.

Look, here comes my best
and shortest friend.
Bet he has roast lamb, the best wine,
and entertaining visitors.

Zacchaeus, certainly I’m free –
I’d love to come to your home tonight.

Having myself met Jesus when I lived each of the three roles – prodigal and parent and self-satisfied righteous one, I am pretty sure that even walking away from the party would not be the end of the story. I know that it is not the end of the story when a parishioner who supports the candidacy of Donald Trump walks away from church because there has been too much pro-immigrant conversation or when a long time church member finds it impossible to accept a welcome for LGBTQI members or Muslim neighbors. To these, as to me, comes a figure on the beach asking softly “do you love me … do you love me … do you love me …”

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4 Responses to A year later, elder sibling

  1. sugruerm says:

    Oooh, this is the scariest one – repelling reading, yet possible redemption – not able to click ‘like’ to the poem but can murmur Amen to the end note.

  2. Linda Grund-Clampit says:

    And aren’t the ones we are afraid to write the ones which pry open the most truth?! Thank you for going to this perspective and sharing it. It is so important to imagine how we are included, even as we work to excuse ourselves from grace.

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