Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The True Student

I remember meeting a young man in the prison who seemed to be quieter than most of the other prisoners. He spent his day getting on with what he was told to do, never arguing or causing any disturbance. I should have known his name but sadly I did not I knew him as fingers. One day I had the opportunity to sit with him in his “peter” the name all prisoners had for their cells. We sat together and he spoke to me of his youth. His father was really unknown to him have spent most of his young life in prison himself. His mother struggled to raise him.

I asked him why he was called fingers. He said to me, “Do you really want to know padre?” “Yes,” I said. He spoke for a few minutes more directing my attention to a picture on his cork board. When I looked back to his face he handed me my wallet. He asked me if I had a key in my possession other than my cells master key. I showed him a key he studied it for about four minutes and gave me it back.

On my next visit he gave me a key made of some scrap metal he had got his hands on. The key fitted the door of my garage. Here was a man with a talent that he was surely wasting. I needed to think about this but I had grown strangely interested in this young man and knew he and I were to become friends as only a prisoner and chaplain can. We had just made the first step of an interesting little journey.

A young student one day asked his master a question about the quality of the good student. The master looked to the student and said there are two kinds of learners. The first one on learning a little he shouts from the rooftops of his knowledge. He is quick to tell others and boast. The good student learns and in learning he discovers there is so much more yet to learn and quietly goes about the business of learning.

You are going to discover that “fingers” was one of those.

Thank you all once again for the many comments made yesterday I appreciate them all. I hope to be like the good student and now go and learn the more there is yet to learn.

This blog is linked to my other where I talk about the artwork used here:-  Sunflowers


  1. Ah Ralph. These cliffhangers of your's...! I am intrigued by Fingers; can't wait to hear more about him!

  2. Ralph what a wonderful and touching story about "Fingers". He wasn't really all bad was he? He seems so sad in this story. Your painting of sunflowers is cheerful and I'll bet that "Fingers" would have smiled too if he had seen it~~~

  3. this will be a cool story, Ralph! I do think we are all given a "gift" but the gift must be nurtured, developed and allowed to mature. Sometimes this just means an introduction, a spark to an idea already born. for others it means achieving a discipline and the necessary skills to develope "the gift". This is the "vertue and fortuna" I have spoken about to some of your earlier posts. The vertue, the virtue of the man, his skill level and abilities,
    and fortuna, his fortune in meeting you! In a way, his lucky day, you could have been in a different prison talking to "Bubba"!

  4. Fascinating! Your stories have many layers ... I feel I am on a spiritual journey. Hooray! :)

  5. keys have a meaning and are a sign to me!

    we don't always see the replies to comments we post, so i wish to tell you that you are a gem in my ring of dreams...thanks for your last, and all, of your comments...they uplift me!