When I write, there are times I am just led as the music plays, and sometimes there is a theme. The Prodigal Son is always the first reflection on the Thursday evening when we gather to start our three day weekend. Usually it’s done by the Spiritual Director, but this year, they will not be arriving until the Friday morning, so the task falls to us.
Modern Prodigal – Dare I Hope? is a two layered poem. There have been many times in the last nine years, I have felt as lost as the speaker in the lines. Working through so much family trauma hasn’t been easy, and there have been times when I’ve felt in a lonely place, trapped in the eye of an unwanted and unexpected hurricane. when the fury has gone, I look round to see the ruins of the life that was, and have to work out how to put the pieces back together.
The question “Dare I hope” has been an integral part of working through that trauma. Suffering can make you a deeply aware and changed person, but when so many people close to me, including 3 deaths and 2 life changing events with long term health affected, the ones I relied on most for support were those afflicted, and I felt stranded. Yet, so often, my pride and self-reliance over those years proved to be my downfall. It was only when I began to realise how worn-out, how exhausted those efforts made me, that I started to reach out, no, not out, upwards. I’ve lost count of the prayer, “Oh God I’m tired of all this, please help” was uttered, yet time and again I walked away instead of leaning into Him
I sent the poem to the Lay Director for Shrewsbury Cursillo asking if they thought it suitable for anything on the weekend. Imagine my surprise when they said that it’s going to form part of the reflection that Thursday evening.
It will, I have no doubt, be an emotional reading, but without honesty and integrity, what are we? And with so much despair, anxiety and fear in the world, we truly need to be honest and ask “Dare we hope?” Indeed, the question is not, dare we, but how can we not dare to hope?