(This is part 2 of a story. To read the rest of the series, go to Waking Desire.)
Emmy had been having dreams. Strange dreams about houses that stretch and grow. When she woke up and asked God what they meant, he pointed her to Isaiah 54:
Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities.
Wow. That kind of caught her by surprise. She wasn’t used to applying verses like that to herself. Commands and parables, sure. But prophecies that her study Bible told her relate to Israel…? Seemed like a bit of a stretch.
Once, after she’d had these dreams several times, she was driving past her old house, the one she’d owned with her ex-husband. She parked for a moment across the street. For some reason, she felt like singing a little song. So she did. And then she cried. That house had held a lot of promise for her. She missed it. As she was driving away, God whispered to her to go back to Isaiah 54. And there was verse 1: “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud.”
Sing and cry… Okay. Okay.
She had to admit that, if the God of the universe can speak planets into existence, He can probably inspire poetry that has figurative and literal truth for Israel and for her… At the very least, there might be some metaphorical meaning in it for her. Friends pointed out that the dreams could indicate an expansion of her gifts. She was spending a lot more time on writing and music, after all… She put that one on a shelf and thought about it for awhile.
After the baby shower, Emmy had dinner with a dear friend. This friend jumped right into it, “Emmy, if you found out your ex was having a kid with a much younger woman, how would that make you feel? I mean, I know you always wanted kids, and now you’re in your late thirties and still single. How would you feel if you found out that after all of those years of putting you off when you wanted kids, he finally came around and decided to have kids with someone else?”
Emmy wasn’t even a bit ruffled. She’d had practice answering this question, out loud many times, even more often in her own head. “after all we went through together, the last person I’d want to have kids with is my ex. If someone else wants to try that grand experiment, she’s welcome to it. Besides, I’ve never been one of those people who just HAS to have kids. I’m okay with it either way.”
What she said felt pious, but she realized as they came out of her mouth this time that they weren’t true–the house dreams were awakening her to something she’d grown so accustomed to ignoring, she couldn’t even see it. It was so simple to use contentment to cover desire, to hang onto the things she had because it’s easier than admitting she wanted something she didn’t have. Desire doesn’t feel pious, it can even appear ungrateful. Besides, once I admit to desire, I admit that I don’t hold control over my own life.
The friend went on to tell about people in her church who had been conceiving unexpectedly. There was a woman who had undergone extensive fertility treatment to conceive her first child. Several miscarriages left her a bit afraid of the whole process. She was considering trying for a second when a mundane health problem took her to the doctor, where she learned she was pregnant again. Three months pregnant, as it turned out–well past the first few months when most miscarriages happen, already safe the worst of her fears before she even know she was pregnant. Story after story unfolded. In fact, they didn’t know it at the time, but this same friend would find out she was expecting a few months after their conversation.
Emmy decided to tell her friend (and herself) the truth. She described the dreams. She gave desire a voice. This was the first time it would speak out loud to a friend. It was terrifying. It was powerful. It was liberating.
(To be continued…)