A young woman was talking to a young man about levels of intimacy and physical affection in their blossoming relationship. “Will you not hold my hand or rub my back?” She asked in French, concern she was heading for a ‘loveless’ courtship straining her words. “Je peux te toucher”, came his gentle response, “mais avec des limite” (I can touch you, but with limits).
“…do not arouse or awaken my love until she pleases” was the plea of the young Shulammite bride, but I had not listened. I did not heed the repeated warning. After all, that was for young girls, young women with less experience. I was an adult now. I did not need to be so guarded. So different. I did not want to be. So I stopped being so different. So set apart. So sexually pure. I stopped being me. For something inside of me died when I gave away my first kiss … My first “walking through the park holding hands”… My first “dance under the stars”… My first touch… My first “I love you”… Each took a part of me to some grave.
“… I will repay you the years the locusts have eaten” was the promise given, and oh how difficult a promise to believe. Yet I, who had become so aware of my stains, who felt wounded and wasted, now silently plead with this young woman. “Love him!” I shout at her. “Thank him for recognizing the power protected by those words. “Keep him for seeing your value”. I silently plead with her to consider how long it takes to heal. “Be different!” I urge her. “Be set apart! The wait is worth it.”
I realize now that I also believe the promise. He does “… repay you the years the locusts have eaten”.