Torn in half (2)

person holding a bible
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The entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

Psalm 119, 130.

While Jacques pondered over the last part of the story of the prodigal son, wondering why he had returned home in such a regretful, humiliated frame of mind, his wife Jeanne, who found the chores of domestic life monotonous, had filled in much of her spare time reading her half of the New Testament. This ended, of course, with the beginning of the parable of the prodigal son and provided the answers to her husband’s unasked questions. When the story ended abruptly, her curiosity, too, was awakened. That younger son, who waywardness had brought misery upon him, realized that he had to change his way of life: “I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, …” What happened after that? Did the father welcome him back home? The story brought tears to her eyes, but she could not screw up enough courage to ask her husband for his half of the book.

One rainy day, when Jacques returned from work especially weary, he ate his supper as usual, then addressed his wife: “Jeanne, you remember that book I tore in half. My part started with a wonderful story, but it was only the end. I must know how it started. Bring me your part.”

“Oh, Jacques,” she answered, “that story has been on my mind. But I don’t know the end of it. Did the father receive his son back?”

“Yes, he did. But whatever caused them to separate in the first place?” Jeanne fetched her half and knelt down by Jacques’ chair. Together they read the whole of the beautiful parable in Luke 15, vv. 11-32.