Friday, June 05, 2009
Can it be Friday already?!
I had a delightful time last night when our beloved daughter in law was in town for a work visit. My own dear husband was out of town for the evening, so she and I made plans to meet for a quick salad before she headed off to another appointment. Unfortunately, she got lost on her way to the restaurant, as I had given her only a vague address and her GPS system sent her down the wrong Interstate. Fortunately, she was able to get in touch with her husband -- my son -- who stayed on the line with her and directed her safely to our predetermined dining spot.
Have you ever wondered about some of the descriptions in Song of Solomon? We understand perfectly when the bride is described as a rose of Sharon or her eyes are compared to dove's eyes, because we find those to be lovely images. How about when the groom says: your hair is like a flock of goats; your belly is like a mound of wheat; your nose is like the tower of Lebanon?
A bride of today might tear up if her groom said those things to her. Are you saying I'm fat? Do you think I have a big nose?
According to a book I'm reading, the Bible often uses word pictures to describe the essence of a person or a thing, rather than providing an exact description of what that person or thing looked like. This is not always true; for example, we have very exact descriptions of how the tabernacle was to be built and what it looked like. However, in other cases, our attention is directed more to a person's life and character and to an object's use and meaning than to exact visual details. Sarah, we know, was a beautiful woman. Yet, how tall was she? What color were her eyes and hair? We know the exact dimensions of the ark and the wood that was used to build it, but what did the bow look like?
So, in Song of Songs, which is one of the poetic books, the groom describes his bride in terms of the response she evokes in him. He sees dignity and strength in her profile; hence, her nose is like the tower of Lebanon. He sees in her a readiness to bear children; hence, her abdomen is fertile like a mound of wheat; he sees abundance in her healthy, long hair.
This reminds me a bit of how Jesus looked at people and saw their potential. He looked at Simon and named him "the rock". He saw Nathanael and called him a true Israelite, in whom there was no guile.
How about us? Do we verbalize to our spouses and to our children the wonderful inner things we see in them? What about all of the people we encounter during our lifetimes? Do we take the time to look beneath the surface and see the inner qualities and potential in every soul? Do we know people on a deeper level or on a superficial level? I know I need to take more time to recognize and verbalize the wonderful qualities in the people around me.