My friend John commented that the last post reminded him of Song of Songs, a.k.a. Song of Solomon. This book of the Bible is often trotted out as a way of proving that God is not stuffy (true!) and/or God doesn’t think sex is evil (also true!).
This because of its opening lines, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine, your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is perfume poured out; therefore the maidens love you” or, further on, “Upon my bed at night I sought him who my soul loves.”
But with all its poetic flourish, some if its descriptions seem less than flattering, like:
“How beautiful you are, my love, how very beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats [I bet you say that to all the girls! ], moving down the slopes of Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes that have come up from the washing, all of which bear twins, and not one among them is bereaved. Your lips are like crimson thread, and your mouth is lovely. Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil. Your neck is like the tower of David, built in courses . . .”
Hey, this stuff might have worked back in the day, but I doubt few would be flattered today to be compared to livestock. We have found our own time-appropriate ways of expressing such things. We often hear them in songs, see them in movies, and read them in books.
This summer, I was fortunate to pick up Tim Muldoon’s new book, Longing to Love. It’s a moving account of his relationship with his wife from their early days of dating, through a time of distance, up through their wedding and the struggles of married life. Muldoon offers his own poetry in the book, saying of his new marriage: “My heart was full. Never before had I known such a pervasive sense of rightness, of being at home in this world. Never before had I felt so right in my own skin, this flesh made word to her, this earthen vessel holding gifts to her that only I could give.”
Muldoon tells the story of his love affair with his wife in both poetic and down to earth ways we can relate to. He is honest about his failings, and his reluctance to face some of the difficulties in his marriage. He also share his struggles with their decision to adopt their two daughters from China. And how, when they did decide, he fell in love a second and a third time.
It’s a short book, which can be read in a few days. But it is also a rich and honest book about love, marriage and life choices that people today can relate to. It’s a short investment with a long return. I definitely will recommend it to the couples whom I preparing for marriage.
“In the end,” he concludes, “I have learned to attend to the whisperings of desire to find the places where God might be inviting me to grow, to change, and to stretch toward the freedom of the real me, the person who can share joy with the women he loves most.”
Call it the song of Tim Muldoon, with a Celtic and Chinese score.