The story unfolded without emotions. It was almost as if it had been told so many times that the storyteller had lost any connection with the characters. I found myself caught in the story, wanting to know more than the storyteller was able or willing to reveal. It was a story of dysfunctional relationships, conundrums hiding within confrontational questions, and hard choices. At different points relationships were broken, some apparently beyond repair. If I summarised the punch line of the man on the spot, he was saying that “my brothers shun me like a bum off the street; my family treats me like an unwanted guest.” (Psalm 69.8) It was ugly. It was hard to know if things would ever change. If it would or could, the storyteller seemed unable to continue with the words. I watched the receding attention in his eyes, wondering if anyone else had noticed the emotional departure.
As the subject changed, the mood of everyone around the table lightened. The banter was infectious. It was filled with funny stories, insights, opinions, and myths. Much of the time I was unsure where parts of the conversation fit. Wherever, it was good!
Later in the evening, I found myself searching the web for more details on the stories shared. In one find, two of the characters were caught in an embrace of support and love. Whatever the true reason, the picture said that things were ok in the larger scheme of life. Love endured. Relationships endured. Hope was alive and well.
As I shared the story on my mobile with another at the table, one of the lead characters looked up, the present now in his eyes, and with a wetness in his eyes that few caught, told the story behind the picture.
I wonder if we will meet again. I hope so, if only to see how the story of love continues. I find myself filled with a quiet sense of hope from the affirmation that love never fails, never runs out. In the end, it is the one thing that remains.