In the beginning, there was want; desire. The younger son came to the point of desiring something beyond the familiar. The familiar routines in the house began to lose its taste and texture. They no longer excited his senses when the creative novelty of his hormones goaded him to engage into some type of hyper-reality like dolphin shows where dolphins are forcibly trained first through “operant conditioning” to “please” or hype-up children and adults’ senses. And the trigger has to be paid monetarily and with a high degree of importance and ‘immemoriality’(“It was an unforgettable experience!”). And our age keeps wondering why ADHD has become too common.
The dailiness of the father’s presence had become forgettable it doesn’t have the charge of a dopamine or morphine. The younger son, whose senses no longer were on “ high” by the elderly presence of the father felt abandoned by the same presence…ignored. Unappreciated is the wisdom of the desert fathers about the capacity of desert landscapes to abandon human beings: “what ignores us will ultimately save us!” The seemingly useless, the marginal, the forgettable, “the stone from lowly Nazareth” has become the cornerstone of human comfort.
“Give me the share of your estate” is also a way of saying “I want to be happy by being out from here. Give me my share so I have something to pay for the freedom I long for, and the pleasures of manicured and manipulative hyper-reality I want. Nothing excites me here anymore – same space, same faces.”
The younger son now hooked to the illusion that the desire for freedom is a function of the laissez-faire market, that it has a corresponding cost and that capital is all that’s needed. Freedom and a sense of meaning have to be bought through his share of the father’s estate.
I am the younger son every time I demand that the Father be extra-ordinary in His grace or epiphanies; who must pour out a big chunk all the time from His treasury of blessings. I am the younger son every time I gripe against what appears to be ordinary, forgettable traces of a living presence, complaining of things becoming commonplace no longer switching the neon lights of my senses. That religion must be about entertainment by massaging the human senses and that liturgy or a retreat must always be a beautiful ‘experience’. And I feel ignored by this slow, boring impulse of life that has evolved billions of years to arrive to at a point called ‘humanity’. And I must do something over this feeling of being ignored by the ordinary because it seems on the surface, the Father no longer dwells here.
God of ordinary presence,
let me dance and sing
and create something new with You,
out of the dailiness of life. Amen.