“Have you forgotten that once we were brought here we were robbed of our name, robbed of our language? We lost our religion, our culture, our God - and many of us by the way we acted, we even lost our minds."
Amidst the fragmented wasteland there is a meadow, for years visitors have passed through it promising riches and leaving behind them naught but despair.
A traveller arrived with little fanfare; he was familiar, yet older and more wizened. The crowds gathered as they regularly did out of habit but little expectation.
Admist the melee and noise the carrier took centre stage. He raised his right arm and gestured to the gawdy lights of the bazaar of restaurants, cinemas and bowling alleys. The crowd were still.
“You are fearful” boomed the mysterious traveller “Paralysed not by happiness, but by the prospect of you losing what happiness you have. Your home is your misery – it is safe, it is predictable, it has become you.”
And the men gazed at his raised arm.
“This is not where your future lies; no wealth comes from property. No satisfaction from vacant consumption. You gorge but are never sated, gorge but are never enriched; there is no hope in this gluttony. Only in hope there is hope.”
The men stared at the traveller’s raised arm and grew fearful. They were angry to be challenged. The shards of truth the traveller spoke pierced their souls. One of the men spoke.
“But traveller” he said “Why should we believe you? Our hearts are blackened with disease and our lungs constricted by the cancer of our past, but it is what we have and what you speak of is a journey so beautiful, that we cannot entertain its richness. Tell us, why should we believe you when so many have come and destroyed our hopes with such callousness?”
“You should believe me” said the traveller growing to a fearful height “I have travelled a dark path for many years and now I choose to return. I have the scars of Boston and Stevenage and Rushden and Witney and Crawley and contained within each scar is a story more terrible than you will ever know. But with each is a lesson. A lesson that without riches or purpose or possessions there is nothing but hope. And it is this lesson I have learnt. FOR I AM JAMIE COOK AND I AM THE TRUE CARRIER OF HOPE.”
And the man dropped to his knees and pleaded for the carrier to prove it. The carrier, without further thought, allowed hope to glance across his body before sending it over and beyond the grasping hands of the catcher before bringing to rest lightly in the back of the net.
The men were enraptured by the carrier’s sorcery. Fear evaporated. There was much still to do to restore the great meadow – there is sweat and pain and wounds so deep they will never heal.
But above all, there is hope.