I took a class at seminary on the parables, and for our final project, the teacher gave us the choice of either taking a test or creating something artistic based on one of the parables. The only thing I had to think about was which parable to write about.
I landed on the parable of the prodigal son (as it's come to be called) in Luke 15. This is what I wrote. Enjoy.
One more day of zombie living, barely caring and barely giving
A second thought to a single thing I’ve done this wasted day.
In the mirror stares these hollow eyes in a face I barely recognize
And I lean and strain to study close the indifferent disarray.
“Who are you and where am I?” I ask but he just won’t reply;
It’s almost like this face is me and no longer a façade.
It seems like only yesterday I did the things like laugh and pray
That people do when people say they’re following after their God.
I don’t know how it came to this; I can’t pinpoint a Judas kiss,
But somehow, sometime, somewhere down this narrow road I’ve veered off track.
There’s no one thing that I can pick that if I do would do the trick
To take this shadow life and take the hands of time and turn them back.
And as this blank reflection fades in the evening’s fast increasing shade
The streetlights stream in just enough to show me I’m alone.
My face becomes a silhouette; my heart is cold and hard and yet
Somewhere deep inside I long to find my way back home
Moonlight mixes with the light from the city’s too-alluring night
And in these eyes I see the void left from those blurry nights of mine.
Too much vodka and too much gin, no self-control, and too much skin,
And a few too many times of saying, “Just this one more time.”
I know full well I should have known this fruit would grow from the seeds I’d sown
But the reaping seemed so far away and the planting seemed so fun.
So now the sickle’s blade has cut straight through my soul and left a rut
Too wide to stitch, too deep to fill with women, whiskey, wine, or rum.
O God, O God, what have I done? Who is this ghost-man I’ve become?
Why is he staring at me like I cut those wrinkles in his face?
He looks like me but he’s just a shell who smells like death raised up from hell.
Oh, go away! Just let me rot and crumble in my foul disgrace!
Let me wither, weep and ponder why I ever dared to wander
From the one who gave me love like none I’ve ever known.
I’m buried in this sad regret, choking on “what if’s,” and yet
Somewhere deep inside I hope some day I’ll make it home.
These blank, dark eyes serve to remind of better days I’ve left behind
Days of gazing at the clouds and days of long forgotten dreams.
Yeah, the eyes, they still remember gentle, understated splendor
Of drinking from the river full of water that redeems.
These vivid, distant memories are a sharp contrast to the face I see
And to the echoes of the voices haunting, bounding in my head.
I guess I thought there was so much more than the things I’d always settled for;
My needs were met but I wished for wants; now I’m wishing I was dead.
Why did I think my fantasies of no responsibilities
Could be a destined, guided glimpse into the promised land?
This grass looked green from the other side, but the rotted roots have long since died
And I’m sick of looking at this face and I’m sick of drinking sand.
I want to cry but would anyone count the tears of a wayward son
Who’s burned his bridges, cut his ties, and declared his life his own?
I’ve lost it all and gained a debt I could never hope to pay, and yet
Somewhere deep inside I know it’s time to go back home.
So damn this life of death and sorrow; it’s time to find a new tomorrow;
I don’t know what awaits me then but I know what’s waiting now.
So you there in the mirror let’s head out into the clear where
We can find the outbound tracks and jump the first train out of town.
The morning sun is breaking and there’s nothing here worth taking
So let’s hurry and we’ll make it to the wayward son express.
Rolling free, now I can dangle my feet while I dare untangle
All the things I’ve done and all the things I still need to confess.
This taxing, tattered list is long, but as these big wheels rumble on
By the crystal streams, I sense a hope that’s growing from a kernel.
All I can do is hope for grace, and hope to feel the cool embrace
Of the one whose touch is cooler than the river’s springs eternal.
These hopeful dreams invoke a smile and I roll by rolling valleys while
I breathe a wind more filled with hope than any that has ever blown
The sky’s aglow, the sun is set; it’s a hundred miles more, and yet
Tonight’s the night I’ve dreamt about; tonight I’m going home.