Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?
Under the apple tree you roused me!
And today I have set you like a seal over my heart,
Like a seal upon my arm;
For love is as strong as death,
Its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like a blazing fire,
Like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
Rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love,
It would be utterly scorned.
(Adapted from the Song of Songs Chapter 8, Verses 5-7)
I wore the prostitute’s mask.
My mask was a vile covering because I wore it not for love and passion, but for security. I wore it as the emblem of my fear.
This was certainly not the regal veil of the priestess in her temple channeling love & pleasure in the bed chamber. It was the hard, angular suit coat of a young mother, an orphan girl, with survival on her mind. I see her there now shoulder’s hunched, brows furrowed, work piling up under a sign she doesn’t even know is there: Words for sale.
It isn’t that I lied or even that lying would have been useful or beneficial. It is that my utterances did not belong to me anymore. I pledged my fidelity to my client’s interests; to the interests of those who engaged the firms at which I plied my trade.
When truth is treated as some relative, ambiguous thing that must be determined from among the varying facts and circumstances, a skilled advocate can construct a picture that will fit your desired outcome like a soft, cashmere-lined, kid glove. In our legal system, competing advocates create competing versions of relative truth. Sooner or later someone decides which one to believe. This is often the best we can do in our bid to find and present answers to complex questions, especially in the context of even more complex rules.
In any case, this is how I spent my days: advocating.
I am not ashamed of what I did. But to put it bluntly, I sold my voice, my gift, my precious eloquence secondhand and that choice took its toll.
Unlike relative truth (which is so often plagued by factual vagueness), real TRUTH (Soul Truth) is not some amorphous substance just waiting for us to pour it into the container of rough justice. Soul Truth bubbles up inside us like lava coming alive in a volcano. It cannot and will not be ignored for long. It changes everything.
Words are not just symbols grouped on a page either.
In the telling of stories, we evoke our lives. We pass down wisdom to our children. In the words we string together, we articulate who we are and who we will become. We call forth the mystery, the secret reservoir of hidden treasure that lies within each bosom. With our words, we bless and we curse. We speak our TRUTH or we deny it.
Words matter! TRUTH matters.
At some point, I started to realize this even if I wasn’t fully able to articulate it until now. Fortunately, I didn’t have to understand it completely. Feeling the disconnect was enough!
I yearned to free my lips from all but my own sacred utterances. I craved a different kind of life. I prayed for liberation.
My salvation ultimately came in the form of a passionate, vivid, irresistible temptation. Under the apple tree it roused me. There I came face to face with the juicy, ripe, red, forbidden promise of my Destiny.
Destiny, that wily temptress, seduced me with the sensual energy of dreams moving through my hands. She promised me that someday I would be the dream catcher. I would become a midwife to other people’s dreams.
Destiny urged me to just reach up and pull down the fruit of my passion. God how I wanted to snatch the fruit from that tree. That vision of my potential future tortured me with bittersweet yearning day after day after night after night. It was like a thorn planted in the core of my heart doing summersaults in the soft, confining flesh.
But I could no more reach up and take the fruit than I could fly. My legs were bound, held fast by phantom restraints. At the time I didn’t even know what they were. I just knew that those ghost chains held tight against my struggle. They burned me.
This was not the violent, bottom-brush, cleansing wildfire that makes room for new growth. The burn I felt was the slow burn of coals applied like leeches. They could do nothing but weaken me, sap my spirit, urge me closer to death.
Ah death! What a wonderful partner death is.
It visited me one night on my front stoop. Death told me the TRUTH about my life: If I went on like I was for much longer I would kill myself. I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that death was telling Soul Truth.
I set up my altar. I wrote out my own contract (for a change). I reclaimed my words in one simple prayer. I asked to be released from everything that was inconsistent with the realization of my dreams. I asked for the resources to become the woman I had been, for one instant, in my vision.
In a split second, those villainous manacles broke loose and there I stood with my beloved fruit in hand. Only it wasn’t an apple at all. Like my yearning, it was a bittersweet fruit and when I tasted it, the flavor unleashed every demon hiding in the gristle and torn flesh of my heart wounds.
On the other side of the orchard was a vast wilderness of shifting shadows. With death as my constant companion, I entered that dark, untamed place and I began walking my destiny path, my Passion Path, one plodding step at a time.
People think dreams are supposed to just come true. But that is not what dreams are for. Dreams are the emissaries of Divinity. They belong to our wholeness. They will refuse to be fulfilled until we set the Divine as a seal upon our hearts, as a seal upon our arms. For this reason, if I could wave a magic wand and hand you your dreams, I would not.
We are called to bear the mark of LOVE on the inside and to reveal it in the visible marks of our characters honed step by step in pursuit of Destiny.
Dreams are the blazing fire of Divinity calling us home to ourselves. If we were to give all the material wealth in our storehouses, our dreams, like the Beloved, would only be scorned. Destiny will not settle for less than the full surrender of everything we think we are for everything Divinity knows we can be.
In my case, my words are the sacrificial lamb I must lay upon my altar (yet again, more than 6 years later). Today, in imperfect faith, I render my voice and with it my heart. I set the seal. I belong to Divinity and to the Destiny set before me. Destiny is never a forgone conclusion, but an outcome to be woven choice by choice in faith and discipline.
And now, who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her Beloved?
Previously published in Bella Mia Magazine.
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