I was away last weekend with my church's women's group on our annual retreat. This was the second year I went and I freely admit that I didn't pay too much attention to the topic ahead of time, because I was going to go no matter what. It's a weekend filled with fun, fellowship, laughter, wine, oh, and Bible study, so the topic wasn't that important...
Until last week when we were at a dinner meeting at church. My roommate for the weekend and I were firming up plans to carpool. Another friend turned to her husband to firm up plans for the children after school and said, "It's on the Song of Solomon" and his eyes lit up and he went, "Weeelllll, I'll see YOU Sunday night!' *wink*wink*
Suddenly I was very uncomfortable... and blushing...I stood there thinking two things:
- "Crap, the last time I paid any attention to the Song of Solomon was when it was read at MY wedding" ~fun memory~
- "OMGracious!!! Am I going to have to talk about SEX with the ladies from church???"
You see, part of the weekend's structure is Small Group time following a Whole Group lecture by the guest speaker. The Small Groups are randomly chosen and people are asked to please switch if they end up with a good friend, so the likelihood that I would end up in Small Group with someone's grandmother, who had been married for 50 years was pretty good. ~In fact, although we did not figure it out until after the fact, last year, my Small Group leader actually WAS The Girl's new best friend's grandmother... seriously!
Consequently, I went into the weekend feeling a little apprehensive. Most of the people I've met at church are pretty gracious and non-judgmental, but it's also pretty big and I worried about talking about sex as a single woman. Plus, sometimes it's hard to listen to people talk about bettering their own marriages. Despite this week's steamy fiction piece, I don't like talking about sex. I blush and plug my ears and go "La, la la!" ~really, I do.~ There are words that when used in regular conversation will literally make me crawl under the table.
As is always the way, I worried for naught. I was exactly where I needed to be. Our speaker, a former pastor and Old Testament Scholar who currently works as a college professor is also currently happily married...for the SECOND time.
When she stood up there and said that the Song of Solomon was a beacon for her when she was getting divorced.... a written message from God that this is how love between and man and a woman was supposed to be and this was NOT what she had... and that in all the years she was single, it was a beacon that gave her the confidence to hold out for what she knew she was supposed to have.
If I'd been standing it would have brought me to my knees. It did bring me to tears.
Don't get me wrong... she totally talked about the sex part too and had us rolling on the floor. One rabbi she quoted called it soft-core porn and I will say that parts of it rival any good smutty romance. Right there..in the Bible...who knew??? BUT that's not the bigger picture. That's not what I walked away with.
This week I'm feeling a little raw... a little unsteady on my feet...but not necessarily in a BAD way.
FYI: These are the verses that were read at my wedding:
Song of Solomon 8:6-7
Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be condemned.
No, the irony is not lost on me.