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Paradiso perdutoWhen Isha walked in Josh's room one day, she discovered a flash pencil on his desk. She was a bit puzzled as she had neither bought it for him nor given him any money to buy it.

When she asked him about it, he hesitated, but seeing the color rapidly rising on her face, he told her that it had belonged to another child, and that he had quietly taken it.

"You did it again?" she slapped him, "Why do you do these things?"

Josh twisted and turned, trying to escape her grasp, but it only made her angrier. His struggles earned him another hiding.

"Why can't you be a good child?" she fumed, "Didn't I tell you not to take things that belonged to others?"

He nodded, crying out loudly from pain.

"Then didn't you understand it?" she was shaking with rage, "because your father didn't beat you up. You better watch out tonight."

She gave him a few more slaps as she walked away. Then she went to her room and threw herself on her bed and cried wordlessly.

Josh walked in her room after a hour, and hugged her from behind. She did not speak.

"I am sorry Ma," he finally said.

It brought more tears in her eyes.

"What have I done to deserve this?" she sighed, "Why can't you be content with what you've got?"

He didn't answer. He couldn't. He wanted to, to salve her pain, but he didn't know what to say. He just hugged her more tightly and lay silent.

Time passed. Finally, she got up. She had to cook dinner. Josh had fallen asleep. Dried tears streaked his face. Guilt and grief seized her again, and she quietly stumbled out of the room blinded by her own tears.

Rosh listened with uncharacteristic calm, when she told him about the incident at the dinner table that evening. The family ate in complete silence after she had finished her recount.

"He is walking the path, that you and I have trod," he finally said to Isha across the table when dinner had finished, "If mature people like you and I can be tempted, he is only a child."

"You aren't angry?" Isha stared at him with disbelief, "You'll not punish him for it?"

"No," he answered quietly, "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone. I am not without sin. I can't cast a stone."

"But you have to do something!" she pleaded, "He must be stopped."

"I can't stop him," Rosh said, as he rose from the table, "but I will do what I have to do."

He stood up and led his sons out of the dining room. Isha sat alone at the table for a very long time, staring at the blank canvas of the wall in front of her.

Images of Jesus' decision, and the example he had set for generations to follow, flashed in front of her eyes.

Next: The Adulterous Woman

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