Yesterday, I saw something on facebook that made my skin crawl. I know – shocker.
This is it:
This particular meme was posted by a right-wing American political group, but that’s not who I thought of when I read it.
As soon as it popped up in my news feed, I saw a picture in my head of someone else holding it – an angry young man, watching his father lavish his foolish younger sibling with gold and silk, fine wine and tender meat – the very things that he himself had worked to earn while his stupid brother was off blowing his inheritance on cheap alcohol and cheap women, making a mockery of the life his family had broken their backs to provide for him.
I could see that older brother’s face, red and puffed up, on the verge of tears with the injustice of it all. I could see it because I know it. Because I’ve felt it. Because he is me.
I know the hot sting of the tears I cry when I see someone else receiving the blessing I am sure should be mine. When that girl who picked up her camera a year after me is published on the stylish wedding blog; when the one who writes a similar blog to mine announces she has her first book deal; when another sends me a Christmas card with a photo of her beautiful new house with a big kitchen and a big yard and hardwood floors and subway tiles.
I am that older brother then, angry that someone else is getting what I want – what I deserve. Until, like the father in this Bible story, God reminds me that all He has has been mine all along.
When we finally get Love, we get to stop being the older brother, because we know that we all have access to the same goodness – the same blessing, the same favour, the same hope.
And none of us – not one – has earned it.