Monday, May 21

Wanting a King

“Laughing in a crown of jewels, numbness from a scepter’s wound. Toss and turn, I spin and learn… catch yourself before you burn. Joker’s dance before the king, jingling beads and silver rings. Close your eyes and bear the sound, jumping up; falling down.”

            A warm acquaintance asked me the other day about my conversion to Orthodoxy. Part of that story includes a two (or five, depending on how you count it) year grieving process over the fact that I will never be a mom. Not biologically. He said to me (in essence), “Not to be too personal, but how does that not still just kill you?” I explained that it was a process that for the most part is complete. I won’t be a mom. Sadness of that still gets in my face sometimes, but it no longer threatens to destroy me.

            He then assumed that I must then love Paul’s advice about staying single. Keeps me nice and Biblical, right? Keeps me focused on Christ. I answered with the very truth… Even though I won’t be a mom, I separated that out from wanting to be a wife. Wanting to be loved. Sometimes, I’d like to take good ‘ol Saint Paul and knock him in his sainted teeth.

            Being a single girl is like being Israel during the time of the Judges. A theocracy. I believe that was the time that a conversation between God and Israel sprang up that went a little something like this: “Dear God, we would like to be ruled by a king. A king!! Wouldn’t that be fun?? A king would give us national pride. He’d be so handsome, riding off into battle with our colors, someone to serve at official functions, you know…” God said, “Au contraire, mon frere!! You have got NO idea the problems that having a king would bring. Stick with Me, kid… You’re doing fine!” Israel then goes into whining, wheedling mode. For years. Finally, God relents and gives them just what they want. A king. 

This leads to Saul. And Absalom. Divided kingdoms. Exile. Jews, Christians, and Muslims in a land with 3,000 years’ history of bloodshed and turmoil. We should shudder when God answers our prayers in the affirmative. Sometimes exactly what we want is too much to be borne.

Whether or not I enjoy him (and mostly I don’t), Paul was right. As a single girl, I live in a theocracy. “Your Maker is your husband; the Lord Almighty is His name.” Though God has never shown up to tell me I’m better off just sticking with Him (unless you count Paul’s unsolicited advice as authoritative), I hear myself, just like Israel: “Oh!! God!!! You know what would be fun??? A husband! He’d be so cute around the house. And tall… He might be even tall enough to change light bulbs. He could hug me up tight when I’m sad, and be a date to parties, you know. Serve at official functions.” 

I know that in other parts of this blog, I extolled marriage as a sacrament, which it is. 

I know that here, I am comparing marriage to the war-torn Middle East, a conflict that has raged for millennia. In case you think that is extreme, I caution you to remember that my parents just got divorced. Their conflict has raged for more than mere millennia in my life; it has raged for the whole time. From my view, comparing the two is apt. 

For the most part, life is a ‘que sera, sera’ affair. I am not a seer; not wise enough to know what will befall me. But I will take a moment to consider my wants. To consider that wanting a king and actually having a king are very different things. Official functions notwithstanding.

“Your actions will follow you full circle round. The higher the leap; I said the harder the ground.”
                                                                                                ~Indigo Girls

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