- Posted December 24, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
The Jilting of the Bride
During the holiday season especially, there is often a conflict between those that believe the stories of the Bible and those that do not. For those that do not believe them, the conflict is not so much a state of intolerance, but the lack of permission to view these stories from a different angle. There is tremendous imagery used in these stories, but since there were no pictures, sounds, or texture to them, there is so much that is not being said that the reader must infer on their own. This is where believers give themselves permission to interpret these stories in their own way.
Well....sometimes we learn by reading what the stories say directly....but a more advanced analysis on what is missing from these stories may shed a little more light on the state of the modern church, and I will admit this story was very unsettling to write.
I don't think the church has any idea that this is going on:
The Jilting of the Bride
Throughout the New Testament, the Bible's authors made many direct and indirect references to the church being the bride of Christ. And a little while before he left, he said he was going to prepare a place for her. Two thousand years later, she is still waiting at the altar for him to return. I wonder if she is still certain he is ever going to come back for her....
That is a tremendously long time to make a lady wait. After all, she has been saving herself only for him for so very long....and there are so many memories that she hopes that they will make together....
If we are willing to stand back far enough and view not only her face... but her body language and her behavior...I believe we can see what is really going through her mind these days....
She is fractured into hundreds of pieces and seemingly shattered with discontent. So many endless denominations vying for the groom's attention...as if she isn't really sure which personality he will like the most...and so few of them even speak to each other. It's as if she doesn't trust herself at all. She is simultaneously questioning everything...yet still trying to hold on to the promise her beloved made to her.
You can see the stress in her eyes and hear it in her voice any time someone questions her groom. She gets fiercely defensive...or simply withdraws from the company of those that don't share her trust in this missing man. "When will he come back?" she says in the back of her mind, but if you bring this question out in the open, her tenderness vanishes and you begin to see the Sword and Shield drawn for battle.
This is such an impossible task she has been asked to undertake. Keeping her calm, alone at the altar, confined to the submissive role of a woman yet having only the instincts and voice of men to plan her steps. Perhaps this is the source of the conflict within her soul.
She has no one to lay down with at night...no one to wrap his arms around her with the warmth of a celestial embrace. No one to write her a poem, or sing her a song. No one to help raise their adopted children...and there are so many mouths to feed.
It is not easy being a single mother...even more so if the children are not even legally yours yet. There must be a marriage at some point...at least she hopes this to be true.... yet the little things that the groom said...just a little while before he left...still haunt her to this very day.
"There will be no marriage in heaven," he said to his disciples....but surely, there must be an exception for her. Was he talking indirectly about their own marriage? That question has become more and more uncomfortable as the years have gone by.
Well...was there any other signs that she should have seen but just didn't want to see before he left?
Her mind races and searches for anything having to do with marriage...or romance....or commitment....
Her faces wrinkles and cringes when she hears the words of the trusted Apostle Paul. He was so confident in everything he said...yet he said that it was better NOT to be married...as if it was an illness to be avoided. Did he know something and just not tell her? Did he and her groom discuss this amongst themselves when no one else was around?
...and the woman at the well....it would have been nice, I guess, to see him at least be a little distracted with her appearance...maybe even slightly flirtatious...but that doesn't even make sense...after all, he was focused on his mission....
But she can't even call him her husband yet....still can't cross the threshold of marriage and herself be called a wife. It's as if she is somewhere between a half wife...and half widow...she doesn't even know if he is still alive.
No letters....no pictures of the place he's preparing....no updates or signs in the sky. Her heart is growing so very weary....yet she maintains to everyone that he is in fact going to return.
Will she yet wait another thousand years? Will it become three thousand or four thousand....or more? How will she know if he ever intends to return at all...or if he can, for that matter?
The tears begin to flow....and her heart begins to crumble....too many questions flooding her mind all at once, and she can no longer maintain her composure. She feels so abandoned...so alone...so......she hates the word "used." That only happens to other people...not her...
Perhaps it's time to allow the grieving to begin...and to come to terms with the fact that he isn't coming back at all....
....for whatever reason....perhaps no one will ever know....but perhaps it's time to begin the healing process...to work through the full expression of emotions and somehow...someday... find her way back to center.
Will she ever love again? More importantly, will she ever be loved again? Perhaps it would have been better not to become so involved with a man on such a mission of sacrifice....because it's so hard to tell if he was really in it for us...or if he was trying to escape something in himself...
Too many questions for today....
It's time to regroup...to think a few things through...and make some healthy choices for herself...and for her future.
Adam J. Read