This is a story about Miquel Gonzalez, a wealthy farmer who owns a huge estate in the Espuña foothills between Totana and Alhama. Miquel had two sons, David and Pedro, who he loved dearly and who helped him run the estate producing olives, almonds and oranges.
The business was good, the family wanted for nothing and Miquel was able to provide employment for many local people who were all paid well.
One day Pedro, the youngest lad, got into a conversation with a salesman who told him how great life was in Benidorm and the lifestyle he was able to have there when he was selling farm machinery in the area. Pedro’s eyes lit up at the thought of getting away from the sometimes dull and boring life on the farm and from that day he could not get the picture of life in Benidorm out of his mind.
Over time the thoughts of heading for the bright lights of Benidorm turned into a plan rather than just an idea; the desire to leave home started to consume Pedro and he started losing interest in working for his dad. Plucking up courage, Pedro confronted his father and asked for his inheritance early as he was going to Benidorm where he would start a new life; farming was not for him anymore!
Miquel was heartbroken at what Pedro had said. It was not part of his plan for the future of the farm, but he loved his son so much he was willing to let him go. There was not enough ready cash to give Pedro his share of the farm so Miquel took out a second mortgage on his property and gave a huge cheque to Pedro. The following day, Miquel and David waved goodbye to Pedro as he sped out of the estate in his Range Rover, without looking back in the rear view mirror.
The new life in Benidorm was brilliant at first and with his pockets full of cash, everyone wanted to be Pedro’s friend. Every night he had a new girl by his side and he was the talk of the town as he splashed the cash at the local hotels, casinos and bars. Pedro dabbled in the local drug scene, drunk himself stupid and was often found sleeping it off on the beach. The writing was on the wall for Pedro and when his bank account got lean, his so-called friends dropped him like a stone.
Three years later Pedro found himself looking for work on a pig farm near Torrevieja. It was the only job available and he was out of money. Working with the pigs was abhorrent to him considering his Jewish heritage, but the pigsty offered shelter on the cool winter nights and it was free. Pedro’s minimal wages was usually spent on alcohol and he often found himself sharing the pig food. The situation was drastic and as he lay in this hovel of an existence, he thought hard about the life he used to have back home – even Dad’s lowest paid workers lived in luxury compared to this, so, in desperation, Pedro decided to head back to Murcia and to the farm and beg dad for a job; any job would do; absolutely anything!
The following morning, hungry Pedro hitched a lift down the AP7 as far as Alhama de Murcia and then headed on foot towards his father’s estate. The walk gave him time to decide what he would say to his father and as he walked he rehearsed the words he would say. Words like “I’m not worthy to be called your son; just treat me like one of your hired hands; I’ve messed up big time.”
Unknown to Pedro, every day since his departure, Miquel had stood on his roof terrace and looking in the direction of Benidorm, he had shed many tears and prayed hard for the return of his son. Today was no different, except that today Miquel saw a lonesome figure heading towards the farmhouse. He knew in his heart that it was Pedro and immediately came down from the roof and ran towards the thin and bedraggled figure of a man. Throwing himself at his son’s feet and grasping his bony legs, Miquel wept with joy that his boy was back. Pedro was shocked at his dad’s actions and tried to say the words that he had prepared in his heart, but his dad was not listening to him. Instead, Miquel called his estate foreman and said, “Go and get my son some brand new clothes and shoes. Only the best will do. Then go to the jewellers and buy a gold ring for him and when you get back we will throw the biggest party this area has ever seen, for my son has returned to the family. He was dead, but is now alive. He was lost, but has now been found.” They celebrated and rejoiced together.
You can read the real story of the Prodigal Son in the Bible. It’s found in Luke Ch 15 starting at verse 11, yet the real, real story, is about how much God loves you and me and that no matter how messed up our lives have become or how far we have removed ourselves from our heavenly Father, He continues to look out for our return to Him, no matter what we have done. He really loves us that much.
This will probably be my last article for the Costa Cálida Chronicle as we are heading for a new life in Australia. I have so enjoyed writing down my thoughts over the last ten years and trust some of my ramblings have blessed you.