Wednesday, October 10, 2007

the beauty of fidelity

"Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers with thee.

"Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and as the pleasant roe... and be thou ravished always with her love."

Proverbs 5:15-19

I was listening to my favourite internet radio station, RadioCelt, last night. The playlist was depressing. Every other song dealt with the loss of love. It's struck me lately how many popular songs are like that. One laments, "I'm sorry/It's just too late/It wasn't meant to be like this at all." Great Big Sea, a Canadian East Coast group, says it most hauntingly: "How did we get from saying I love you/To I'll see you 'round some day?"

Genesis 2 gives the origin of woman. Unlike the animals, who were created by a word, and Adam, who was molded by God's hands, she was taken out of Adam's own flesh. The material that made her was warm and alive. She was created for relationship. For this reason "shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."

We need each other. Maybe it's the primal nature of this need that makes us so vulnerable in it. Songs and poems, stories and tears testify to the pain involved when a spouse or significant other stops loving and leaves. It rips people apart. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon describes wrong "love" as "more bitter than death."

On the flip side, fidelity is beautiful. Monogamy is a powerful thing. It means cleaving--clinging, sticking--to one person, no matter the adverse circumstances or changing feelings that come our way. Monogamy says that the relationship between man and woman isn't just about satisfying ourselves. It's about taking two and making them one.

Equally, celibacy in singleness is beautiful. It pays honour to the relationship between man and woman by refusing to play around with it. It puts the fire on a pedestal where it can give light and heat to all, rather than taking it down and tossing it around until it burns the whole world down.



Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Wonderful and beautiful words here. Thanks so much. I especially like how you bring out the need for relationship inherent in woman's creation.

By the way, it's Deb and I-'s 22nd wedding anniversary today.

October 12, 2007 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Hi there, Rachel. Ted mentioned your name to me, suggested I should come and read this post. Indeed, it is lovely and bold.

I was saying to my husband last night that not enough sources in society speak out for the beauty and sacredness of fidelity. I like how you see celibacy as the seeds of fidelity, too.

October 12, 2007 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

I tried to find your e-mail to get your permission, but couldn't find it. But I thought you wouldn't mind so I attached this post to a picture of Deb and I with reference to our 22nd anniversary yesterday.

October 13, 2007 at 5:45 AM  

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