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Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Continuing Story

Brone's life was full of misery. He was bitter and resentful. Over the years he found himself acting in ways that he despised, instead of being kind to those weaker than himself he was often impatient and harsh. He began to loathe himself.  After Brone met Joshua things began to change. Brone began to think "what if?" That small thought was like a slit in a curtain that had covered his heart for a long time. Now, when Brone was in the market he often heard the name Joshua and began to listen to what people were saying. Once Brone heard, "Joshua rescued that old lady" and another time, "Joshua helped my neighbour pay her debts". Once Brone heard someone say "they say that Joshua helps anyone who asks, he never turns anyone away." The rent in the curtain of despair grew. Brone started to keep his eyes open for Joshua. 
The day that Brone finally came upon Joshua was particularly dark. Jacob had berated him for something that he'd forgotten to do and Brone in return had shouted at a young one. He went to the market that day feeling depressed and hateful. As he turned away from the fish stall he came face to face with Joshua.
"Hello Brone"
Brone did not look at Joshua's face as he replied "Hi."
"How have you been since we last met?"
Brone replied "I've been wretched!"
"Are you ready to trust me and come with me?"
"Why do you even want me? I'm not what you think I am."
"Believe me when I tell you that I know you."
Brone struggled within himself, "how do I know that you aren't lying to me?"
"You've heard others speak of me. What do they say?"
"They say that you are a good man, that you help people."
"It is up to you. You can turn away, go back into the dark or you can trust me and leave it behind."
Brone took a deep breath, grabbed hold of the little courage he had and said "okay, I'll go."
So Brone walked away beside Joshua with his back to the shadows and his face to the sun.
They did not go far before they came to a trim little house. It was not unlike it's neighbours except that it was freshly painted a pale yellow and the curtains were open. 
Joshua said, "this will be your new home." 
They entered a neat living room and went through to the kitchen where a man was at the sink with his back to them. 
"Hello, Michael. I want to introduce you to your new housemate. His name is Brone"
Michael, turned, wiped his hands on his apron and said, "glad to meet you Brone."
"Michael, I'd like you to show Brone around, help him get settled in and show him the ropes."
"Sure thing Joshua, no problem"
"Well then, I'm on my way. Be well Brone."
Joshua left Brone standing in the kitchen with Michael "Come with me and I'll show you around."
Michael took Brone on a tour of the house and brought him to the room that he would be sharing with another young man. 
"Where is everyone Michael?"
"They are all out working."
Brone's heart sank when he heard this.
"We all have work to do. But don't worry it is fair and well suited to each person's talents. You'll be given your assignment in the morning."
"I don't think I have any talents."
"Joshua has a way of knowing what will suit each person. He will give you something that will be both a joy and a challenge."
Brone went to sleep that night in a warm, comfortable bed. For the first time in a long time he slept well and woke up refreshed.
As Michael said Brone was given a job to do and he was happy in it.  His new life was good. He and his housemates shared their responsibilities equally. Twice a week they would gather with others for a community meal. At these meals some would serve while others ate and then those that had eaten first would serve. While they lived, worked and ate together Joshua would visit often. He would teach them and take them out on "rescue missions" to find other lost souls. Sometimes small squabbles would break out but they were short lived, Joshua's teachings were about grace and forgiveness.
One day Brone was serving at the community meal when he saw Jacob enter the room. Alarmed and angry, Brone thought "what is that monster doing here?" He rushed to find Joshua and warn him of his old enemy's presence. "Joshua! Jacob is here! What should I do?"
"Go and serve him, Brone."
"What! Do you know what that man did to me? Do you know how despicable and untrustworthy he is?"
"I know him just as I know you."
"But he is so much worse than I ever was!"
"Jacob has left his old way of life and all who are willing to leave the old and embrace the new are welcome here. Trust me."
Brone went and served Jacob his meal but he could not look at him. Jacob said thank you and Brone did not reply.
After the meal Brone stayed behind to talk to Joshua.
"I don't understand why you made me serve that man."
"Because you need to let go of old grievances in order to heal. If you don't let go the old blackness will overtake you and you will be lost again."
"But I don't know how."
"You started tonight when you served Jacob. Continue to bless Jacob and one day you will find that love has replaced hatred."
Joshua paused then said, "Now I'm going to tell you something. Do you remember the conversation we had long ago? I told you that all children start in a place like Kadera and that some leave before they are ready?"
"Yes, I remember."
"Brone you were a child of nine when you were lead away. Jacob was barely four. The only life he's known has been one of cruelty and injustice. We must be patient with him so that he can learn to live a life of justice and mercy. Will you agree to help me in this?"
Brone, humbled by Joshua's words agreed. It wasn't an easy or short road but little by little he found that he was able to let go of pain and anger. Brone began to love Jacob and in the end learned to love himself.

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