Saturday, October 18, 2008

Jacob and 2 Women

Troy and I are attending the Married Sunday School class. Currently we're studying couples of the Bible and tomorrow we're doing Jacob, Leah and Rachel. And yeah, I know, that's more about a threesome (but not in that kind of way) and less about a couple but I'm excited anyway. We haven't done our homework--again--because someone in this relationship left the book in his office. Even though the pastor and his wife have been horrible homework slackers, I remember flipping ahead in the book and reading about Jacob, Rachel and Leah. And it seemed that, like a lot of people I've heard speak on the subject, the author tends to think Leah was a wonderful, upstanding wife and Rachel was a giant crybaby. But Leah and I have nothing in common. Rachel, on the other hand, I can relate to.

Rich Mullins sang a song called Jacob and 2 Women and I fell in love with it while we were in Israel back in 2005.

Jacob he loved Rachel and Rachel she loved him
And Leah was just there for dramatic effect
Well it's right there in the Bible so it must not be a sin
But it sure does seem like an awful dirty trick
And her sky is just a petal pressed in a book of a memory
Of the time he thought he loved her and they kissed
And her friends say "Ah he's a devil"
But she says "No he is a dream"
This is the world as best as I can remember it
Now Jacob got two women and a whole house full of kids
And he schemed his way back to the promised land
And he finds it's one thing to win 'em
And it's another to keep 'em content
When he knows that he is only just one man
And his sky's an empty bottle and when he's drunk the ocean dry
Well he sails off three sheets to some reckless wind
And his friends say "Ain't it awful"
And he says "No I think it's fine"
And this is the world as best as I can remember it
Now Rachel's weeping for the children
That she thought she could not bear
And she bears a sorrow that she cannot hide
And she wishes she was with them
But she just looks and they're not there
Seems that love comes for just a moment
And then it passes on by
And her sky is just a bandit
Swinging at the end of a hangman's noose
'Cause he stole the moon and must be made to pay for it
And her friends say "My that's tragic"
She says "Especially for the moon"
And this is the world as best as I can remember it

Looking back, one of the last days in Israel may have been my emotional rock bottom in terms of dealing with infertility. Maybe it had something to do with being halfway around the world. Maybe it was just the fact that I had believed I was pregnant for the entire trip only to find out, at the very end, that I wasn't. And as I tried desperately not to let the rest of our group know that I felt like I was dying inside, I put my headphones on, leaned my head against the side of the tour bus, looked out at Jerusalem as we drove and heard the words Now Rachel's weeping for the children that she thought she could not bear and she bears a sorrow that she cannot hide. And in that moment Rachel and I became kindred spirits, separated by forever and a day.

I have loved studying the women in the Bible who couldn't have children. But many of them--Hannah and Elizabeth come to mind--come across as being so holy that I have a hard time identifying with them. They are perfect role models but, when I felt like I needed someone I could relate to, I turned to the story of Rachel.

Genesis 30:1 When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, "Give me children, or I'll die!" I certainly know about jealousy and I certainly know about feeling like I might just die without a child. And I don't have a sister who popped out seven kids before I managed to have even one.

Genesis 30:22-24 Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, "God has taken away my disgrace." She named him Joseph, and said, "May the LORD add to me another son." And when he did add to her another son, much later, she died in childbirth.

It kind of makes me glad that it would take a great fluke of nature for me to die in childbirth with an adopted child. Because I often feel like Rachel. And I know that Rachel was jealous. And I know she stole her father's gods. And I know she's not a hero and she was kind of bratty. But she's so real. For that I defend her. I don't condone jealousy or thievery but I understand infertility. I understand childbirth. I know how her heart must have swelled when she saw Joseph running around Haran in his little tunic. It probably felt a lot like mine feels when I look at my own toddler bouncing around the house in his Thomas the Tank pajamas. I've heard people criticize her request for a second son. But as I await the day when someone will surrender her child into my arms, I understand that request all too well. I understand Rachel.

1 comment:

  1. not only are you able to make others laugh easily, but you seem to have the gift of sqeezing tears out of my eyes with your writing. awesome post.