Parables have become a useful way for me to illustrate the dilemmas I experience. I wrote this one on a Facebook post recently, which Robert spotted and suggested I reproduce here.
Once upon a time, there was an old woman who had 10 children, 40 grandchildren and 150 great-grandchildren.
The old woman had spent her life caring: first for her younger siblings, next for her own children and then for her grandparents and parents. When her children had children she knitted for them and baked them cakes. When her great-grandchildren arrived she sang them songs and told them stories.
Then one day a Holy Man arrived in her village. “I am here to speak of love,” he said.
“Oh, I know all about love,” laughed the old woman, “I have loved all my life. Loved until my bones ached and my eyes had no more tears.”
“The love I speak has no bounds, is self-sacrificing and eternal,” preached the Holy Man, “Love beyond your imagination.”
“Yes! We must be talking about the same thing,” insisted the old woman, “The love where your heart bursts, where you give love every waking moment, love until you fear you have no more left to give but the next day there is always more to go round.”
The Holy Man shook his head and exclaimed “Woman! Have you no shame? I am not talking about your mortal , second rate love which is tainted with selfishness and dubious motivations. I am here to tell you about a greater being with a greater love than you can ever know!”
The old woman gave the Holy Man a nice cup of tea, a fat slice of cake, whistled him a tune and sent him on his way.