Friday, June 27, 2014

The Two Faces Of Eve

"The answer to deep anxiety is the deep adoration of God."

Reading those words gave her great comfort. (Giving comfort is a highly profitable business!) And indeed, she had a deep, deep anxiety. Sleep had increasingly evaded her for years. Every moment pierced further into her soul, driving the agony to unbearable lengths. If she couldn't purchase the stairway to heaven she'd be trapped in the depths of hell forever.

It had started years ago yesterday, the dream in the desert. On the brink of death had been the last time she felt alive. Like a classic foreign film of romance and adventure she'd been stranded with Him. He reached her animal passions and released them under the desert stars. So freeing - and yet so forbidden: she was denying her marriage.

It was her One And Only Chance at an honest life. He would lead her out of the forest of deception, if only she'd take that one final step of facing herself. Maybe she wouldn't like what she'd see but maybe she would. Never before had she been so tempted to find out. Hope was no longer just a word. Life had become real again.

Unleashed, she surrendered to her true desires, reaching orgasms she feared only existed in cheap romance novels. She wanted more, this taste of life. To know its taste is never to go back, shattering lies of what she'd once called satisfaction. But all the while a nagging voice chided her, begging her to stop. Her mother and sister would be furious at her betrayal of the unsatisfied lives they betrothed themselves to. Like Moses returning from the Burning Bush she knew her new knowledge would be written all over her face.

Suddenly, in the middle of the night, the dream came crashing down. You're dreaming! This isn't real! It will vanish like the wind when we return to the real world. Worse, he will tell them everything. Just imagine the looks on their faces! You'll be divorced and hung out to dry as a marked woman, a lying hussy who got suckered by a schoolgirl fantasy. You've ruined your life. From now on life will transpire only as a long living death...

Then her instinct for survival kicked in. Why did she have to die? He had no one. His life too had begun in the desert. He'd have nothing to lose with their return - just the opposite. Let him die. Problem solved. Take the water and run. If not, may as well stay here and die. Choose!

Choose she did. It bothered her the urge to giggle as she made her getaway in the covering darkness. No more Miss Goody Two Shoes. She'd stepped over the line like she'd assumed the Bad Crowd had lived, the kind who don't care what others think, who do what they want. This too was exhilarating - in a sick, sinking sort of way. She vowed never to cross that line again. People who do what they want truly are immoral, just as she'd cowardly suspected.

Of course, had she really done what she wanted she'd have stayed with Him and continued on the path to self-discovery.

"God is calling you not to indulgence but endurance."

Had he died? Did he suffer under the searing sun? Did he feel betrayed? Did he feel he saw the "real" her in the end? Sorry, but if I must betray someone it won't be my family. Who would choose differently?

Of course, it was herself she betrayed - and therefore betrayed everyone who cared for her.

But no one knows me. So how can any anyone really love me? They just love the act. I've always been an act. Keep the act up and life will continue as before. Her adventure in the desert will fade and - she suspected - no one really wanted to know the true story anyway. If she had had feelings for that man, best to let them stay buried.

Of course, it was her hope she'd buried and her fear she watered. Now, fifteen years later, fear ruled her life. Even when she knew she was being absurd she refused to break the chain. When someone noticed her jumpy nature she blamed it on Middle Eastern terrorists.

When she first got back she tried her lustful lessons out on her husband. He withdrew in proper disgust. How could she possibly have thought that would have excited him?? Their marriage was based on the Bible and life was what you made of it. His rebuke crushed her, isolating her with her unspoken guilt. So guilt ridden was she she was blinded to the fact of his own fear of the arousing excitement she'd caused inside him.

She tried various outlets over the years; compulsive flirting, illicit online chat, even creating a fake profile in a sex club allowing her to indulge in forbidden fantasies - in her mind anyway. Fear had brought its even more terrifying friend: frustration. She was stuck between the thorns of the world and the doom of her deceit.

Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

- Psalm 51 9-10

Yes, yes, keep up the lie till you die. God wants you to. He doesn't want you to die, and the only way to live is to lie. At times, the desert never existed. She could laugh and pray with the best of them. But her prayers were different than the others. Her prayers were that He did not show up. When the preacher spoke of "the enemy that destroys" she knew he was speaking of the truth.

But the erosion continued daily. Only in the most hidden of recesses did she remember the desert, feeling her way back to ecstasy, still confused if the act was right or wrong. The only thing she knew for sure was there was no way out. She'd made her bargain for love: to keep it, just say nothing. Besides, her children needed her and why should they have to pay for her sins?

See? She had her morality after all.

But she knew no moment of comfort. Every thoughtless laugh was interrupted by the thought He might ring the doorbell at any moment, demanding explanations she could not give, horrifying her family. In her bi-polar existence, one minute she believed she was safe forever, the next doom was imminent. No pill could ever give her her soul back.

Only the siren song of suicide called out to her ever louder. Why do you live? Why do you bother? The lying life can never be useful - and you can only live a lie. Face the facts and leave! Hope's illusion can lead only to more torture and more frustration and more misery.

In the end, listening to her fears had made her worst fears come true. And God could not do what she would not do for herself. The question of "Why sustain the pain?" rang too loudly in her ears. She made it stop the only way she knew how.

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