Friday, July 17, 2009

Telepathically Perfect

"O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, You know it all."

-Psalm 139

For some unknown reason I awoke this morning with these words from Psalm 139 flitting through my mind… It has always been one of my favorite Psalms. Even before I could fully grasp its meaning, I loved the poetic wording: "If I fly with the wings of the dawn, and dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me..." How can you read this and not be moved?

But this morning - for the first time - I considered these verses in the context of marriage. As unreasonable and unrealistic as I know it is, I realized that I want Dutch to be this person... The one who "understands my thoughts from afar"... who is "intimately acquainted with all my ways" ... and who "knows the word before it is on my tongue."

After all, telepathy is the epitome of intimacy, right? Just think how much closer Dutch and I would be if he were capable of reading my mind?! (Very often after a communication breakdown he will teasingly ask when I'm going to acquire this skill. "I know you can do it," he'll say, "and then all our problems will be solved!")

I may be wrong, but I would venture to add that I think all of us women want to find someone who will fulfill this role in our lives. Be this telepathically Perfect Man.

Hence… the overwhelming number of disappointed and resentful women out there.

It almost goes without saying that no mere mortal could ever boast of possessing such powers of omniscience and omnipresence! But the existence of this Psalm inadvertently affirms the idea that God created us with unspeakable – and well near unquenchable – longings to be perfectly known and understood; and never, ever, to be left alone.

I recently read the story of a heroic couple who survived a horrific plan crash, leaving the wife wth severe burns over %80 of her body (read more about her here). Six long months after the crash, having undergone countless reconstructive surgeries, she finally awoke from a medically-induced coma, and described her husband’s attempt to rescue her this way:

“He opened the airplane door which was on fire, cleared a path for me breaking his toe and his back. It was heroic and knightly. He was motivated by love. He found his way to safety and looked back only to realize I was not following. His heart sank. He ran around to the other side of the plane just in time for it to go up in flames. He yelled and screamed my name over and over and I his...we just couldn't get to each other.”

Despite being passionately in love with his wife – he couldn’t save her.

Reading about this "failed" rescue attempt wrenched my heart... Then I began to consider the fact that this is so often the case in relationships. Although the circumstances are less harrowing, the substantive truth is the same: men often 'fail' to rescue their women - whether physically, emotionally, or otherwise. ...

And in most cases this is not for lack of effort or desire!

Let me offer you a rather mundane example from my own life:

At approximately 5' 5" I am not a tall person but I never considered myself particularly short until I married into Dutch's family (which consists of a vast array of tall, blond, nordic types) and my height became a subject frequently alluded to in conversation.

When, for example, Dutch first introduced me to a very strident female relative we exchanged salutary remarks. She complimented my shoes (3-inch heels) and then abruptly added something to the effect of, "I suppose you short types have to do what you can to stack up..."

Apart from being genuinely taken aback, I was hurt (by her comment) and (afterwards) angry at Dutch who, having failed to grasp the implications of her insinuation, said nothing in my defense.

While I would like to project an attitude of total indifference to what was obviously a trivial and meaningless slight - in that moment, I did want Dutch to rescue, defend, understand, and commiserate with me.

If he really knew me, wouldn't he have recognized and understood why this statement was hurtful? Wouldn't he have rushed to my defense?

If we are truly honest, I believe this is the thing we so often long for our men to do. Even (I might add) the strongest and most independent of us.

But alas, they often either cannot or do not...

One of my favorite lines from the "Sound of Music" is spoken by Mother Superior to Maria after she is confronted with her myriad "failures" as a nun: "When God closes a door," she says, "somewhere He opens a window!"

Though I am married to a fabulous man, God - in big and small ways - often "closes the door" on his being able to 'rescue' me.

But this, I realize, is the beginning of the real fairy tale. Men cannot save us; and what a tender mercy this is because it is only then, when we cease to look to them to satisfy our needs, that we realize only God can.

I'm sure that He (God) has been trying to tell me this all along… that He never meant for Dutch to meet my need for rescue and intimacy because He didn't design marriage this way. But I am convinced - as was my case - that we will not look to God until we absolutely have to; until we have faced our own 'proverbial plane crash.'

"Come to Me," says Christ, for "whoever drinks of the water I give him will never thirst." And look to Me for "I will never leave your nor forsake you."

He is not only the God who formed the mountains; He knit me together in my mother's womb. With claims as colossal as these, why would I look elsewhere for the satisfaction of being "fully known?"

1 comment:

shilo said...

in this crazy season of life where catching up is a rarity- I've spent this evening reading your thoughts & imagining it's over coffee instead of blog. So much leaped out at me as so much of our lives often parallel. I will be using your insightful words that bring to light Scripture & God's design so beautifully-- specifically as I so often talk to dreamy eyed young women w/unrealistic expectations of their knights. I love you so much & my thoughts are never far from you & your family!