The Story of Adrian and Giovanni: A Parable

Adrian got arrested about 6 years ago.  He can’t  remember what it was for–maybe shoplifting but he’s not sure.

He got sent away to  prison in Northern Italy.  He didn’t expect to like prison, but he got used to it.  The food was good  and every Saturday night they served pizza, his favorite food.

He missed his wife and two kids though.  They came up to visit him a few times a year, but it wasn’t enough.  He desperately wanted to go back home and be with them.

He worked in the prison’s post office and was well liked by the other prisoners and the guards too.  He even got to know a couple of the top administrators of the prison including the warden.

The prison warden, Giovanni, took a special liking to Adrian and would drop by his cell just to talk. It was unusual, but they became friends.

Maybe it was because they both came from the small city outside of Rome. They’d talk about life in Rome, the best places for coffee, wine, and olives, their time in the Italian army, the girls they knew when they were younger.

One Saturday Giovanni dropped by to talk with Adrian and was carrying a big manila envelope and a shopping bag with clothes.

He told Adrian he was going to help him escape.  He was going to rip up his prison records and his arrest records.  He had them all in the manila envelope.  And he was going to delete his name from the computer system.  He was going to give him the clothes he had in the shopping bag, bring him to the visitor’s room and help him leave the prison.

For good. No questions asked.  Adrian would be a free man.

Adrian looked straight at Giovanni and was shocked.   He looked conflicted, like he didn’t know what to do.  Finally, Adrian told him he couldn’t do it.

He said, “If you had made him this offer on a Sunday, I would have taken it.  But today is  Saturday and they’re serving pizza for supper tonight.  I don’t want to miss my favorite meal.”

He thanked Giovanni and they both spent the rest of their lives in prison.

We may not be in a physical prison, maybe more of a mental prison, but all of us can be imprisoned by our own thoughts

We may think we’re too smart,  or  this friend is really the best for me.  We may think we are not good enough, too poor to go on vacation, locked in  hatred,  or feeling like we can not ever confront an abusive spouse of boss—some kind of prison. And we stay there.

And every day, every day, the prison warden comes in and give us a chance to escape.  Escape to freedom.

The  keys and the new clothes are right there.

But we decide to stay because we’re used to it, we’re comfortable or we’re afraid of life on the outside.

Everyday we wake up and could escape from our prison, Every day.

Are you staying for the pizza?


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