The celebration of love and of each other is the fruit of marriage. I can hear some of you in your heads: But sex is such a bother… I love it and I want it yet I’m too lazy to chase it. Today we read a dream sequence in which the call and response of love is stifled…
1 I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.
Eat, friends, and drink;
drink your fill of love.
2 I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My beloved is knocking:
“Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.”
3 I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?
4 My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
my heart began to pound for him.
5 I arose to open for my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
on the handles of the bolt.
6 I opened for my beloved,
but my beloved had left; he was gone.
My heart sank at his departure.
I looked for him but did not find him.
I called him but he did not answer.
Song of Solomon 5:1-6
They have shared in their love. She has invited her groom into the garden of love, and he has gathered spices and myrrh and eaten of the honeycomb and its honey. Their friends encourage them to eat and drink their fill of love. This is what it’s all about. The celebration of love and of each other is the fruit of marriage.
And then she has a bad dream. Do you get bad dreams? You are trying to escape or fix something or achieve a goal and you can’t? I think I see a bit of this here in our bride’s dream. Maybe she had not welcomed his love when he advanced and she wishes she had. Or they desired each other and couldn’t find time to make it happen in their day. Whatever it is, it’s so important that she is dreaming about it:
She is sleeping, yet her heart is awake. This is dream language. She hears him knock and he is coming on to her. He desires her and is flattering her through the door. She is in bed. Of course, in modern-day they would already be in the same bedroom, yet here we know there are several bedrooms in the palace of King Solomon. And so he knocks…
She goes through the drill in her head. Do I really need to put my robe back on to answer the door (only to take it off moments later in the throes of passion)? Do I really have to dirty my clean feet by getting out of bed? Sex is such a bother. I love it and I want it yet I’m too lazy to get up. I’m cozy.
He puts his hand through the latch opening. Maybe he is feeling around for the handle. Can he reach it? She can tell he wants to be with her badly. And that seems to trigger her interest. Her heart is now pounding for him. And so she does rise to open her chambers to her beloved. She gets to the door, and we don’t know how long this has taken, and she opens the door for him…
He is gone.
He is no longer there. She calls for him, she searches for him, and he is gone. Her dream has turned into a nightmare for her. Does she wake up sad? Excited? A mixture of emotions?
Be available for each other, lovers. We can see the importance of her intimate relationship with her beloved. And when they miss each other because of timing or mismatch in desire, it weighs on her. How does this play out in our marriages?
And what can we do to align our passions with each other? Love cannot be scheduled, can it? We can try to bring routine (in a good way), yet routine can take on its other connotation, that of boring tasks… So think call and response. As you see and hear the calls of love from your beloved, do not delay in your response. It may be in the form of holding interest and energy until you can be alone, yet do not stifle the call of love.
And if you are the caller, if you are the one knocking on the door, don’t think the advice of this reflection is only for your beloved. If her beloved in the story was only a few seconds more patient that he was, he would have entered the garden of love. Patience is a sexual virtue…