Saturday, February 22, 2014

"The Giver" a parable

The Giver


Once there was a busy man who worked most of the day at his job, only to come home to a wife who was cold and busy, a teenage son who was astute, but gave the father and the rest of the family only contempt and disdain, a younger son who was failing his classes and using drugs, and a toddler daughter, whom everybody loved. The wife had contacted The Church of Allism to send a Giver, and despite the Father's disapproval, the Giver showed up on time.

"I suppose you want us to worship Ama and give up our own religion?" scoffed the Father.

"Not at all. I am your guest."

"What have you brought us, then, giver?"

"As all of our sect, I have brought nothing at all."

The Giver ate meals with the family, helping with the preparation and with cleaning the dishes. He spoke little, interrupted even less, and after a few days, the family relaxed and started to act like themselves.

When they had fights or disputes, he never interposed himself. When asked his opinion, he said he had no opinion to give on the matter.

While the kids were at school and the parents at work, the Giver earned his keep by cleaning the house. He started by ordering the immediate area, simply putting tools and utensils in logical order, a difference the family immediately approved of and thanked him for.

Over the course of the week, he also cleaned the attic. He made no comment on what he found there, but the middle son who struggled with drugs discovered a few things that had been stuffed in the attic: love letters grandpa had written to grandma, and grandpa's old guitar, dusted, shined, strung, and tuned. Curious, the boy read the letters and was surprised that grandpa had struggled with drugs too, but that his love for grandma and love for music had helped him overcome his demons.

As the family religion was Christianity -- though it had been a long time since any of them had seen the inside of a church -- the Giver read their scripture to find words that would resonate with them. Having found some verses about the stronger brethren helping the weaker, he marked them with a colored pencil in grandma's old bible, and left it for the older son to find.

The Giver was a little embarrassed when the wife confided in him that she kept a set of letters from a previous lover, long before she married her husband. She explained that the letters to him were equally as passionate and poetical as his were to hers. She said she was considering contacting her former lover. She also explained that nothing she wrote ever mattered to her husband, since, despite his intelligence, and despite that he was a hard worker and provided for the family, he was not romantic and did not care for poetry or for passion. The giver simply asked, "Were you to write a letter to your husband, what words to you think could reach him?"

As for the husband, the Giver did not give him anything at all, except for he would share a beer with the man after the family had gone to bed, and they would talk as men talk -- and the husband admitted to himself that he had never been able to relax and forget about his responsibilities as he did with the Giver.

Finally, the Giver would babysit the toddler, while everybody was at work or at school, and this was his favorite time, for the girl was a gem of a human being, and truly was the attendant angel of the family. Again, the Giver did not give much to the daughter, just a necklace, which she afterwards would never take off, even to bathe, and also the inspiration to draw pictures for her family members, for her aunts and uncles and grandparents, which the Giver sent out in stamped envelopes.

It went on like this for a few weeks, and nothing profound happened, no mass conversion to a new religion, no miracle, nothing stark or bizarre. But the giver had planted a seed and taught the family how to tend it. They didn't know how or when he had taught this lesson, or what the seed was or meant, but one day it sprouted. That was the day the Giver left.

The family hardly knew to thank him. He just seemed like a nice guest who would be welcome back any time.

But after a few months, the older son had offered to help the younger with his homework. The younger had given up drugs in exchange for music. The older son would also stay up a little later and share a beer with his dad. The mother had begun writing poems for the husband, and the husband, to her surprise, appreciated them. Over all, and for the first time, the family didn't just say they were happy, but they really were, and they didn't know why. Only the daughter, as young as she was, knew the cause of the change, and vowed in her heart to one day be a Giver herself.



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