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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Brother's Anger

Never wanting to show up at the Writer's Nest empty handed, I wrote a scene of a play this afternoon to meet the theme for the evening's gathering.  I want to share my scene with you.

A rich man’s courtyard – with marble statues, fountains, carved columns, and packed dirt

A middle aged man – who is the son of the rich man

The Script:

(Man is pacing the yard, with anger burning in his eyes, he kicks the dirt.)

Unbelievable! I can’t believe my father just said those words to me. “My son, you are always with me and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

He is no brother of mine. He is dead to me. Years ago he wished my father dead by asking for his inheritance and I cannot forgive him. How dare he come back to the old homestead! I’ve heard the rumours of his running around with woman, living as a drunkard and a party animal... and now, I can’t believe it, but the music in the air is proof enough... he’s still loving the parties.

I heard the instruments playing as I was coming in from a long day in the fields. Curiosity caught my attention until one of the servants ran out to tell me that “my brother” (using quotations) has come home. Home, this isn’t his home. And yet, my father still thinks that it is. Night after night, year after year, Dad stood on the balcony and watched the horizon, hoping that “my brother” would come home.

The word around the house tonight is that the old man ran out to meet the long lost rebel. Not only did he greet him with open arms, but yelled in delight for the servants to bring the best robe and put it on his son. They put sandals on his feet, which they shouldn’t have because he is worse than a slave in my opinion. And a ring on his finger! Are you kidding me? He has absolutely no authority in this neck of the woods. I’m the oldest. He owns nothing. Has nothing. Deserves nothing. (Mutters) Deserves NOTHING!

For years I have been watching my father raise one fatted calf after another, like he was always ready to celebrate something grand. I could never believe that he didn’t appear hurt or confused. I am! I’m bitter, angry, jealous, disappointed. In some ways, I feel forgotten. For many seasons now I have worked my fingers to the bone on this property. I’ve helped my father with every task in the fields and I’ve watched over the animals as their numbers increased. But no fattened calf was ever killed for me.

Can’t you smell it? That beast is tenderly being barbequed over the open spit, moments away from being devoured by the guests who have arrived to help my father celebrate the reunion. Why am I so undervalued? Why can’t my father recognize all that I have done for him?

I’m so much better than my brother. I had and still have NO plans of ever leaving my father. My younger sibling thought it would be fun to grab his inheritance and strike out on his own. It was like he never even needed us. It was insulting and I must admit, I’m greatly injured.

I just want to butt my head against these here pillars out of sheer frustration.

(Slows his pacing, and breathes deeply. Much calmer in demeanour as he begins again.)

I can’t shake the thoughts of seeing my father on the balcony. Why? Year after year he waited. Silently hoping for the family to be re-united. I didn’t think I’d ever see the day. I thought the rebel would surely die before he came home, and yet, he’s here. Alive. The servants seem to think he has a repentant look upon his face. They say he’s having a hard time looking my father in the eyes, and he’s wearing the robe, sandals, and ring with great discomfort.

I’ve always respected my father. How long can I stomp out here in anger? My father is still, well, my father. And technically this brother is still my sibling. I should care. I want to care. I want to love and forgive like my father. I have missed the little punk who used to copy my every word and movement.

(Pausing) Papa is right. Everything in that house is mine because it belongs to my father. All he has is mine. And that means my brother is mine as well. Mine to cherish. Mine to forgive.

(Sitting on a stone bench)

I’m just not ready. I need some time before I can walk into the house and put a true smile on my face. As long as my father continues to model unearned and undeserved grace, I shall soon recover, learn my lesson, and give that lost brother of mine... a hug.

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