The Christian “Look”

Sorry for the lameness in lack of posts recently.  I won’t make excuses.

I will, however share with you this awesome article from Relevantmagazine.com a few friends of mine just posted on Facebook called “Being a Christian Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Should.”

The article speaks well about how grace and “real” Christianity does not always look the way other Christians or society wants it to look.  Really, by looking for Christians to appear a certain way, we are putting God in a box.  Grace is a process, we are works in progress and we are made perfect only in Christ, but still exist in changing earthly bodies with personalities and characteristics that change and grow and may not always be perfectly Christ-like.  And maybe being Christ-like isn’t what we all imagine it is sometimes.

I go to church at an inner city church plant.  The pastor call the congregation a “motley crew” and it is true.  We come from all walks of life.  There are hipsters and homeless people and wealthy people and young and old.  People are grappling with addictions, with difficult life circumstances with being students or stay at home moms or with growing up in this world in general.  We are all sinners.  Our thing in common is Jesus and what God’s grace is doing in our lives.

If someone walked in looking for people to look or act a certain way, they might be shocked.  People should know Christians because they are different.  Because of the love and grace the exude.  That does not mean they all have to be extroverts who dress and behave a certain way.  They can have tattoos and piercings or wear skirts and have long hair.  They all still struggle in one way or another.

I am guilty of it.  As humans, we all judge.  We compare and put people and things in boxes.

We need to stop putting God in a box.  And just as much, we need to stop putting what God does in, with and through people in a box.

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Bear Hug

Some days, you wonder if you are doing enough, caring enough, loving enough.

You go to rounds and hear things like doctors don’t care or don’t spend enough time with patients.  And you sit there wondering how you can do more.  Because maybe, just maybe, they could be right.

You spend time researching to help someone.  You talk someone through even the simple things.  Sometimes you just make small talk because it seems right.  You stay late.  You go in early.  You think about them when you are home.

Then, someone you cared for dies.  And you get a big, tearful bear hug from the most challenging family member.

Suddenly, it is all worth it.  Suddenly, I believe it might just be enough.  Suddenly, I remember God put me here for a reason.

“BIFFs’ Weekend”

Last weekend, we had yet another awesome weekend.

We went away to a place near Kouchibouguac National Park with two of my best friends and their husbands (Child&D and L&C).  We decided last year to make it an annual tradition to go on a “BIFFs’ trip” (BIFFs is a word we made out of the abbreviation best friends forever back when we were in very early undergrad… We don’t really use it anymore, but it works in the context of naming the trip).  A trip where V&D, L&C and Child&D and Patrick and I could go away just (kind of) like old times no matter where we were in this world.  

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that all of us could go.  I was very disappointed.  Such is life.  But, we went to the park from our separate corners of country and met for a weekend adventure.  It was all the more exciting for me because it was most of their first times there and it was where I spent a large chunk of my childhood summers.

Although it was my second weekend full of people, it was worthwhile.  We saw lots of beautiful scenery (and Child too tons of pictures).   I took people on random back road adventures.  I got to eat scallops at this place we always stopped at when I was a kid.  We took L and Child for their first trips on kayaks.  We saw giant man-eating (okay, not really man-eating that we know of) jellyfish and caught all kinds of marine life at the beach.  We ate a ton of food.  Played some games, including one of my favourites, Bang where the other outlaws and I won, read books and laughed a bunch. IMG_0202 IMG_0214IMG_0197IMG_0219

A highlight of the trip was the fact that the house next door seemed to be particularly sketchy and had a lot of animals.   We think that a very feral looking cat who hung around while we cooked and barbecued was part of that household.  When we went out for a bonfire that evening, we acquired a very adorable kitten, who crawled into all of our laps and ate our hot dogs (she stole them from beside someone while she snubbed him).  Patrick had to try really hard to get her to go back to what we thought was her home, only to have her show up crying at our cabin door.  She wasn’t the only one, as it turned out, cats started appearing everywhere once night fell.  IMG_0230 IMG_0224 IMG_0226

I’m lucky to have friends who have been around since I was an awkward teenager (or even tween… ugh), or who I have stuck with since they were awkward teenagers.  I know not everyone is so fortunate.  Yes, that proves to be challenging because people do grow up, get married and change, but they are the closest things I have to siblings, so I’m stuck with them for life.  Even if it is sometimes insanely difficult for some and suspiciously easy for others.

A terribly embarrassing "selfie" from Christmas vacation 2007.  Back when the Child was still literally a Child.

A terribly unflattering photo from Christmas vacation 2006(?).  Back when the Child was still literally a Child.

So, I have someone who gets up early, drinks coffee by the pound and discusses things like books, life and music.  I have someone else who hugs me more than anyone else I know (less my mother and my husband) and somehow understands my crazy and knows what I actually am feeling even when I don’t.  I have someone who will always laugh hard and long at stories with me (even if they shouldn’t be that funny).  The cool part is that although everyone is unique, they all crossover too.  

Pretty cool, huh?

Our New Friend (you just can’t make this stuff up)

Patrick and I made a new friend today.

We were on church set-up today, which is basically assembling the place to look like our version of a church (during the week it is a mission) and then cleaning up afterward.  Also, it involves the important task of going to the hipster hostel café down the street to pick up coffee and then return the containers afterwards.

On our way back with the coffee, we got stopped by a random man standing in the doorway of a closed shop.

Oh, I should probably mention at this point that we go to church in what is known as a super dicey part of town.

I like it.  It makes me feel at home (because at home-home, we go to church in a super dicey part of town).  You just never know who or what is going to wander in through the doors.  As much as I am terribly shy, I love some of the personalities and honesty that can come in the door in.  I also think that loving people where they are at is so important, just like anywhere else, but in this place, some of the people unfortunately don’t get as much love.

So, this guy who is kind of looking a bit in disarray stops us.  He has no teeth.  His beard forms a single dreadlock.  He has terrible leg swelling to the point where one shoe has no laces and his foot barely fits in it.  He has a lovely smile.

He tells us that he isn’t asking us for money or food or something because he doesn’t do that sort of thing.  He wants to read us a letter he is writing to his girlfriend.  His girlfriend of 25 years.  Who he dated when he was a teenager.

He hauls out a piece of paper.  On one side is a ton of numbers.  On the other is writing.

It is simply written in block letters.  Some of the tenses of verbs are wrong, some words are misspelled.  He reads us every word.   It is a slow go.  As much as the actual writing isn’t the best, it is pretty deep poetry.  The thought behind it is lovely.

He tells us he is going to make it into a song and chats with us about his blind and lame grandfather who was an amazing piano player and who he gets his musical ability from.  He talks a bit about love.

Then, he starts walking with us and eventually turns off down an alley.

We laughed because that is the beauty of this community.  We were stopped to be read poetry.  That’s all. Most people would have ran or kept walking for fear of what was going to happen.  But really, we got slightly more snowy and much more happy.

After church, we were returning the canisters the coffee was in and we passed the same guy playing a purple children’s guitar on the corner.  He sounded really good.  He picks with his nails, not with a pick (this always impresses the face off of me).

He spotted us and ran across the street to say hi.

Again, he told us he plays and sings for the love of it, not to make money.  He often plays at home on his own, but it was nice today.

He talked to us about his theories about music.  How instead of there being a bunch of (I think he said sixteen) notes in a scale, he feels there are really only four.  He then played us four chords.  The four chords that make up most songs.

He told us that the best way to learn to play guitar is on a children’s guitar like the one he has in an empty room, so you can correct yourself off of your own echos.  That you need to feel the music.  That you need to find your notes.

He sang a song to us and mixed up styles to show us how music is like a wave and you can change the flow.

While we chatted, people walked by.  Everyone seemed to know this guy.  He clearly isn’t just friendly with us.

Eventually he let us go and started talking to a lady waiting for the bus (who did not look as amused as we were).

I love that people aren’t always what they seem.  That someone who clearly loves music and poetry wants to share that with the world, in his own unique way.  That a neighbourhood that is “tough” is very loving and friendly to this unique soul.

Again, you just can’t make this stuff up.

The Church, The Childless and The Challenge

Someone I know from back home posted this article from the Gospel Coalition on Facebook.

How the Church Makes the Trial of Infertility Better (or Worse).

I suggest if you are in the church, or even if you are a part of society co-existing with childbearing age women, you should read it.  It offers some good food for thought.

The church we go to is FULL of young families.  Full.  So much so that almost every week or two there is a birth announcement or yet another couple announcing yet another pregnancy.  It is actually kind of a game — the trying to predict when and who the next announcement is coming from.  And it is awesome.  I mean, so great to see people having kids and sharing in that joy and having babies and kids to hang with all the time.

But, when you really want kids, that can also be sad and frustrating.

I like that the article addressed the struggles and hurt that many people go through and normalized them.

It made me know that we aren’t alone in not having kids and existing in the church in our mid to late twenties because sometimes, where we are now, it feels like the exception rather than a piece of the norm.

This is a good reminder that not everybody can have children or wants to have children or some combination of the two and that these people, like those with families, need love and support too.

Exhale

The post I was thinking about writing ties in well with the Daily Post daily prompt from a couple days ago, “Exhale,” which asks you to tell about a time when you felt like everything was going wrong and then suddenly you knew it was going to be alright.

In this case, I did know in my head it was going to be alright, at least in theory before this, but still, it fits.

As those of you who read this blog may have noticed, I have been struggling a lot with feeling a part of the community at church.  I’m not a naturally outgoing person and I don’t fit a lot of the typical gender roles of women my age in the church (maybe this isn’t really true, but it is how I feel sometimes).  I have been kind of bothered by the fact that we have been here for a year and things are still challenging socially for me when not at work (my fellow residents/physics folks are geekily delightful) or with the Child and her husband (again, thank goodness for them).  I knew it would take time and I felt like I was gaining ground until the summer hit and our D-group (small group) dissolved for the formation of new groups this fall.

Despite that, I have tried (prayed really hard and tried to be optimistic… er… listened to Patrick’s optimism) to trust that we would make more friends and have real friendships and community.  And tried to trust that this takes time and that really a year, especially with how much we have been away/working, isn’t that long.  And tried to trust that the thoughts in my head that I was hopeless on this end and that things could never be as good as we had with our small group on the Rock were not true.

As a human.  Especially as a human who likes to control things, but doesn’t like groups of people, this has been a challenge.  And although I was trying to leave it all to God and stop putting pressure on myself (and others), I felt very discouraged and kind of down about the whole thing.

Tonight was our first meeting with our new Discipleship group (D-group).  We are definitely the only people that nobody really knows.  And I am totally Patrick’s wife to most of them. That being said, we shared a meal with a group of people from a diverse number of backgrounds.  Single, married, some with teens and others with an infant.  Some go way back, others have known eachother for a year or two.

It was nice.  It was nice to be with people in a group that wasn’t work related.

The first meeting is mainly about setting group ground rules and getting to know one another and praying around what God is going to do for the year.  It was good.

It seems like a good group of people and I think we will have good discussions.

It seems silly, but even just meeting up for the first time and starting to plan for year ahead and chatting a bit made me feel better.  Even though I was terrified to go initially.

It will be okay.  We will get to know more people and I will fit in.

Tonight was just the reminder I needed.

Running and Dying

This weekend was finally the Run Or Dye I have been training for.

Problem being that I, of course, in true Trisha fashion, somehow injured my left ankle and right knee a week and a half pre-race.  I think the ankle came first, but the I ran again the next day and then both hurt.

To top it all off, we went to Montreal for a few days where we walked EVERYWHERE.

My ankle swelled and bruised and was all around beautiful.

So, running really did kind of feel like death.

Nonetheless, I still did manage to run a bit of the race.  Just a bit though.  And, as it turns out, the course was so horrendously muddy and hilly, most people weren’t running too much more than me.  And others from our group apparently still managed to do the thing in under 20 minutes.

The place where the race was had only one way to it from the city.  Traffic was horrendous.  So, despite leaving for what is normally a 45 minute drive, it took us over 2 hours.  And then we wound up parking in a field and taking a shuttle bus to the race site.IMG_0922

The problem was that almost the rest of our group ended up in a different lot and left without us in a different heat as a result of a big communication fail.

So, the Child and I wandered looking for the others and never found them.  There were so many people.  So. Many.  And the starting point was like a corral.  Like we were cattle being led to be milked or something.  Nobody brought phones (except us) and it isn’t like we knew anyone’s number anyway.  But, we did find another team member who was also misplaced (and stuck in traffic), so we did the course together.IMG_0927

The whole being left behind affair really did not help my insecurities and struggle to blend in with the church people outside of church.  It just made me feel more left out when I had hoped that actually finally doing something with the women would help me feel more involved.  Everyone was super apologetic that night at a bonfire and the next day at church.  It really was just one of those circumstances that sometimes happen and two of the other forgotten people had been a part of the church and this group of friends for ages.  It still felt like it was pointing out yet again that we aren’t fully “one of the gang.”  And part of that is that we are both very aware of the fact that we don’t have as many close friends here while others all know each other well.  And that when people are so “together,” even when they are being welcoming, you still feel a bit outside.  Sadly, even as grown ups, we are still getting it together.  So, sometimes, it feels like high school all over again.  Nobody is perfect, that is why we need grace.

It would have been nice to at least start the race with everyone else in our group (because heaven knows I wasn’t keeping up with the 20 minute 5k people).  But, as it turns out, people watching while corralled with a bunch of strangers is also entertaining.  My favourite was a guy in a bunny suit.  Yes… Full on rabbit.  Totally made the loudness and masses of people better in my books.IMG_0929

Despite that, I still had fun.  And made a new friend (the girl who was also left behind).  We laughed about how out of shape we still are, despite trying to train for this.  We tried not to break our necks going down muddy hills and cringed at the rare crazies who tried to run some of them.  We became super colourful while rocking our cool team t-shirts without most of the team.IMG_0937

We pulled off the 5k in somewhere between 45 and 50 minutes.  Nowhere near record breaking, but given the ski hillishness of the course, the mud and my aching ankle, I feel like that is okay.

What was cute was that our husbands came to cheer us on at our first “race.”  Despite the fact it wasn’t really a race.  The funny part was that they were scared of getting dyed and stayed really far away from the finish and missed us completely.

The boys were scared of these giant dye clouds.

The boys were scared of these giant dye clouds.

I still have some bright pink undertones under my right armpit.  When I got home, I had an orange foot, a part green foot, and a bright pink chest and back.  So charming.

I would do it again.  It was as fun as the internet world suggests.  But next time, if it at the same place, the life lesson is leave super early and plan where to meet better than “the parking lot.”IMG_0935

Struggling With Community

Today was our church’s community day.

Basically it is a day where we had a café and music and bbq and a freecycle (basically a yard sale where you can take whatever you want for free) and games for kids and cub cars.  The whole community comes out (which in the neighbourhood we live in leads to some very interesting characters).

So, it is a very social day.

I am tired of people.

The beauty of our church and days like this is that we are a very “together” church as one of our past small group members described.  It is smaller and they take the whole community thing very seriously with whole church parties, bonfires and the like.  I love that about the church.  I think community it important.

When we first started going there, people noticed we were new and introduced themselves.  It was great (well, terrifying, but in a “yay, these people actually want to know us” kind of way).  But, once you are there for a while, you become part of the crowd.  The thing is for me is that most of the crowd are either single students or married parents and some days I feel like there isn’t a whole lot of in between.  That and much of the crowd has known eachother forever, so as much as we are welcome, I very rarely feel like I truly fit in except at our small group.

Last week, the women were having another baby shower for another person I don’t know.  I hate baby showers.  And I get so stressed out about social events when I don’t know people.  I went home from church and freaked out to Patrick about how I will never make friends at this rate because I don’t like typical “woman” activities and don’t have time for half the stuff.

He told me “to make a friend, you have to be a friend.”

Very wise, Patrick.   Very wise.

The Child had a similar freak-out with her husband.

As much as I feel alone, she has met even fewer people because they have yet to get plugged into a small group and such.  At least I can say a knowing “hi” to people.

So, we are both together in our loneliness.

Patrick says we are connected on some weird wavelength.

So, we have vowed to be more social.  Including making each other go to things where we can meet other people from the church.

And thus, we volunteered to help with the café for community day.  Coffee, baked goods and saying polite “hellos.”  Right up our alley.    Plus, I love helping people.

And we did it.  And I feel like we did talk to more people than I normally would have.  In fact, I realized that I at least can chat briefly with more people that I know (sort of) that I had thought.  I also, in some bizarre twist of introductions,  examined the intern pastor’s shoulder (awkward).

That kind of talking is fine.  I like conversations that have purpose.  Like reminiscing about skip-its (How awesome were they?  I mean, until you cracked yourself in the ankle or something) or talking about the beauty of the coffee.   I think that is the same skill that gets me through in my job.  I can polite small talk.  I am interested in people and their stories.

I, however, am not good at walking up to someone random and just chatting.

I had to do it for a bit when I was on the InterVarsity exec in university.  I do it when potential new residents come.  I hate it.

I am a shy person.

You wouldn’t necessarily think it if you saw me talking the face off of someone I know, but I am.

So, when my time at the café was done, I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I am not artistic, so the painting did not appeal to me.  I don’t have kids and hate kids in mass, so the kids stuff looked like a nightmare (this is where most of the people I know were, including Patrick).  So, I rummaged through the freecycle and eventually went home early.

My problem is me.

I know that.

I am scared of being rejected.  I am scared of not fitting in.   I know a big piece of it is self-centred.  Nobody really cares.  But, I get weirded out sometimes when randoms join my conversation, so I project those feelings on others.

Plus, I was tired of people.

Hello, introvert!

I feel like I am slowly (very slowly) getting to know people.  And very slowly making friends.  Patrick has met a ton of people.  They like him.  They apparently ask about me.

It felt easier at our last church.  I still struggled because that is how I roll and I came from a church where everyone knew everyone.   It was bigger, but our small group was our community because we were almost all from away and had no other connections, so we ventured together.  That made a big difference, I think.  It was still tough to get to know others, but we had a core group who felt similarly as our safety net while we pursued our own interests.

Here, our small group is changing next month and they were almost all there for years and know everyone else. Not quite as built in a mini-community because here everyone does everything together.  And yes, almost everyone is under 40, but many are either students or parents of many and we are somewhere in between (I know there are others… I know it).

And yet, I love it.

I love that it is a together church, I love that it is so young and that there are kids and such.  I love that just by being there and being a Christian, I belong. I love that I am continually challenged by this community and a piece of this is the hugely social aspect.  I just wish I could some how more easily feel like I fit in, instead of feeling so anxious about it all the time.

The good piece is that days like today do still feel like a small bit of progress.  And we will have a new small group soon, which means people to develop closer relationships and accountability.  And the run is coming up and some other stuff that will make us put ourselves out there a bit more.

It will come.  It took over a year at our last church before I really started feeling entirely at home.  I take time to settle and really feel engaged.

I guess that is something God and I have to work on.  Because I am not good at this sort of thing on my own.

Community is both natural and intentional.  I feel like right now I know I am in a community, but I just don’t always feel a part of it.  I did feel angry because I was feeling left out of the community, but I have come to realize that people are inclusive, I just have to show up and try.  A lot of that feeling a part of the community I am in needs to come from me making an effort.  Something I didn’t have the time or energy to do until recently.

Cool stuff from Song of Solomon

Earlier this week, I noticed the Daily Post asked the question in one of their prompts, “tell us about a thing you will never write about.”  A few things instantly popped into my head, but when I get down to it, even those I might consider writing on if the time is right.

One of those topics that popped into my mind is sex.

Reasoning… Well, my parents read this blog.  My inner teenager says, “EWWWWW.”

Realistically, I have broached the topic a few times, mainly around concepts of intimacy and such.  And here I go again…

Our church has, for the past two-ish months, been doing a series on Song of Solomon.  People tend to be of two minds on this chunk of scripture.  Although I know most people won’t deny it is part of the Bible and relevant, many people (me included… the person who asks strangers about erectile function) feel uncomfortable with the poetry and the romance in this book.  Some people are even more uncomfortable with the fact that it is the “sex” book.  Other people are intrigued because it is different and it is about, well, sex and relationships.

It shouldn’t matter what any of us think because it is scripture and as rare and bizarre as it is to have it be a part of the discussion at church and small group, it is important.  It is Biblical wisdom.  Apparently it was shared at wedding celebrations back in the day (*gasps from the staunch). 

The series isn’t quite done yet, but I thought I would share what I have gleaned from the experience… And this is nowhere near the depth of which we covered it, or the depth to which God probably intends it.

One thing that I found interesting before we even get into things is the concept that Solomon wrote this.  Solomon with the million wives (okay, not a million, but a bunch).  That kind of weirded me out.  What does buddy with masses of wives know about real love?  The notion that the pastor put forth, as have several commentaries I have read is that these are supposed to representations of “every man” and “every woman” and that Solomon may be writing in generalities from his experience as influenced by God.  AKA… Don’t bash the book because of who the human attached to it is.

So, big themes that stuck out for me as a wife and as a woman.

Beauty.

Beauty is a huge concept throughout this book.  There are lines and lines of nauseating poetry complimenting one another.  Head to toe descriptions. And looks at how we measure beauty.

Even back then, culture and society influenced beauty (see S of S 1:5-7).  She was influenced by her past and her present.  But, the girl in this passage recognizes her own inherent beauty despite that stuff.  A good lesson for all of us.

Bigger than her recognizing her inner beauty, despite what she points out culture would consider flaws, is the guy and how he sees her beauty.  And talks about it over and over again.  He measures her beauty from a heart of love and she is transformed.

I wouldn’t have noticed it unless it was pointed out to me, but she really is.  As the cheesy dialogue progresses, she acknowledges her beauty more and loves him more.

Fascinating.

God made us.  Refer back to Genesis 1&2 for that stuff.

Full body beauty is appreciation of the fullness of God’s grace, God’s plan and God’s creation.  Married people are God’s gifts to one another.

The couple in S of S is big on the full body appreciation.  There are multiple chunks where they literally do head to toe descriptions of one another.  This points back to God’s appreciation and beauty in His creation, but also to the overarching concept of beauty.  That our denying our own beauty and uniqueness is basically, in a way, taking away from that of God and of our spouse.

Whoa.  Hang on a second… That is tough stuff to swallow.  Especially maybe moreso for women.  Many of us from a young age feel shame about our bodies, our imperfections.  But, our spouses don’t notice that stuff.  That is just part of our awesomeness.  And we should accept that.  Because that is God’s grace.

I am still working on wrapping my head around that stuff.

There is the whole pursuit thing that goes along with the beauty and leads up to intimacy.  God pursues us kind of like the young man.  He thinks we are beautify.  He thinks we are perfect.  He protects us and shields us from others.  We have a longing for wholeness and beauty and God is how we find these things.  Fascinating parallels.

Then, there is the whole intimacy thing.  Probably the other bigger concept.

Well, duh, you say… The whole book is basically about marriage and sex.

But, this is pure intimacy.  As in the way God intended.

And no, it isn’t perfect.

Check out chapter 5 if you want not perfect.  It is real marriage stuff (and some hilarious (at least to me) double entendre).  Wife gets ticked at husband for being out too late and locks him out.  He peels.  Then she feels bad and goes out after him.  And life gets really rough without him.  In the end, it is okay.  But bad stuff does happen, but it is important to remember that the security of relationship is huge.  And that the intimacy of marriage is stronger than a silly fight.  Marriage is a covenant.  You can’t just walk out of a covenant.  God makes it tough to do that.  He is big on covenants (think Noah and the ark).

But right, back to intimacy.

One of the reasons God sticks someone in your life is holiness. He will remake you (refer up to the beauty thing).  If God comes first, you worship your way out of the negative cycle of self harm and self indulgence.    Christ died for the church.  Man would die for his wife.  But, realistically, do we care enough about our relationship, our witness to address hard topics with grace?  To die to ourselves?

Intimacy does not equal nakedness.

Society teaches the opposite.  Most of us spend life thinking sex=intimacy.

That isn’t true.  Sex is a reflection of intimacy, but not intimacy itself.   Just like lust is really the opposite of love, but we sometimes mistake them for the same thing.

Intimacy requires honesty, dedication and selflessness.  Intimacy requires making room for Christ in a relationship and acknowledging a need for grace because we are flawed.  Intimacy is a togetherness while acknowledging one another’s beauty and space.

Intimacy exists in the concept of redemption.  Our identity needs to be rooted in Christ and not in our shame and guilt.  We lose out on so much when we exist in fear and guilt and when we let our desires drive us to sin.  We are all flawed, so grace comes up again and again.   We are perfect for each other, but we need forgiveness and remaking to enjoy that intimacy.

Marriage was God’s plan.  He made it to place protection for our humanness.  A container for passion, if you may.

Nowhere does this passage say sex is bad, that one gender is “better” or that beauty consists of certain criteria.  This passage simply addresses the importance of intimacy in a relationship in the realities of life and the importance of sharing in that kind of love in a covenant relationship.

Sex does not come until chapter 4.  At least that is what is assumed to be the wedding night and why they keep saying “do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”  Because things actually drag along for awhile building intimacy and relationship before the sex comes along.   Sex came from all of the intimacy.  Not the reverse.  And yes, there is plenty more after chapter 4 (well, minus that bit where she misplaces her husband…).  Again, this does not go along with what society teaches us.  But, it makes sense if you follow the poetry along.  And it makes sense when you say that sex is a reflection of intimacy, not just intimacy alone.

Pretty cool stuff for a bunch of poetry.