Take yourself back … back to before you were born … back to imagine yourself as the first child to have heard a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale … or one of the first to have heard Jesus "speak in parables". How would you discern the meaning of a parable hearing it for the first time? Today we have a complete change of pace for a lead commentary on Catholica. Francis Brown presents us with a modern Australian parable. You, Dear Reader, are presented with the challenge of discerning its meaning. Enjoy…
Journey to a seer…
The wise and holy man lived in a wide valley quite distant from any otherwise settled area. I had travelled to the end of the rail branch line. The Countrylink coach then brought me closer to my greatly desired destination. I had abandoned my city life and job to learn from this man the meaning of life. The last twenty kilometres walked, carrying my moderately loaded backpack, brought me to the homestead. There at last, the man was sitting as if he had nothing to do except wait for me.
"Hello, my friend, come and sit a while to rest, but first dip out a jug of water from the stream over there."
As I knelt by the streamlet I caught sight across the way of the most beautiful young woman I had ever seen. As our eyes met I knew at once, and I sensed she knew, we would be married.
"Sir," I asked. "Who is that girl, for I am determined to marry her?"
"My youngest daughter, and if she is willing, you may marry her."
There and then the wise and holy man blessed our union and apportioned a large tract of land and a house across the valley for us. The cattle grazing in those paddocks were to be ours.
My wife and I were very happy. We worked and played in this amazing atmosphere. Within a year we had our first son. Our cattle increased and we were becoming very rich.
As years went on, six children were born which, as they grew older, were a great help in running the station. Vast herd of cattle grazed in the lush paddocks. We were extremely content.
The rainfall over the twenty years was always adequate but this year we seemed to be having more than average wet weather. My sons and I brought the cattle up from the lower paddocks that were becoming badly flooded. My wife and daughters brought out extra fodder from our overflowing barns.
The river that ran through the valley was in turbulence and its banks no longer able to contain the flood. Many trees, torn from banks upstream were being carried along. Surely they would get caught in the gorge beyond the valley and cause more flooding. Things were looking bad.
And sure enough the waters rose until even the higher ground was being covered. Many cattle were already drowned and the rest were gathered around the homestead.
The rising waters did not cease and now all that we had left was in jeopardy. We had to save our own lives by climbing the nearby steep knoll that rose thirty metres or so above the level of the house. It was a difficult climb. The younger ones were soon swept away despite the help we gave. Even the strong ones were having trouble but when their mother lost her grip they swam out to save her. All were lost in the merciless waters.
How I managed to hang on I cannot imagine. The waters did not cover the knoll above where I was clinging to a tree.
The sun breaking through the clouds did not cheer me in any way. I cried in remorse and pity. As I sat bemoaning my fate, I felt a hand tap my shoulder.
"What are you doing, my friend? A minute ago I asked you to fetch some water. Can you bring it now?"
What are your thoughts on this parable by Francis?