Friday, April 6, 2012

The Bride

I know you, My child.

I have known you for ages and ages. I knew you before your parents knew one another. I knew you before the first knight in shining armor ever pledged himself and his life to his lady. Before the first man ever spoke his first word, before the tides first rolled back to reveal the first dry land, before the whirling maelstrom of blazing elements first congealed into the first planet, before the heated stars first spun themselves into existence... I knew you.

And I loved you. Oh, how I loved you.

I knew that you would be the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen, and that the moment you came into the world, the angels would rejoice over your newly beating heart. You would open your mouth to speak your first word, and the heavens would resound with the glorious sound. You would put forward your foot to take your first step, and the earth would bow deeply to allow you to walk upon her back. You would reach out your hand, and Creation would anoint it with beautiful perfumes and precious jewels. And knowing that you would be so beautiful, so precious, I made a universe for you.

Yes, it was for you that I formed the stars. It was for you that I gathered up the soil; for you I painted the seas and skies, and scattered the plants and animals upon the earth; for you I tossed handfuls of stars into the air and hung the sun in the sky, preparing for your arrival. I wanted everything to be perfect when you got here, so I made sure that the leaves on the trees were just disorderly enough to feel comfortable, but just orderly enough that they didn't look messy. I handmade the dogs' fur because I knew how much you'd like to pet them. I spent millennia getting the taste of the oranges just right - my own recipe. I even assigned an angel specifically to watch over you and make sure you got here safely.

And when at last you came, I was not disappointed. How could I be? You were more beautiful than anything I had ever made, more than all these things combined. The smell of your hair, the touch of your skin, the light of life in your eyes, held Me spellbound. I could get lost for hours wandering around in the corridors of your heart, taking you into Me and making you My own, the two of us melting away into one.

I loved you. Oh, how I loved you.

But after some time, you were approached by another. He, too, sought after your heart, but I knew him from a long time ago. I knew that he didn't seek to give himself to you, but to take you for himself. I knew he was not good for you, that he would only end up hurting you. I knew that because he did it to Me once.

He was handsome, that much could be said for him. He had a charm about him, a charisma, a certain look and a certain way of speaking that arrested the attention and captivated the eyes. I tried to warn you about him, but he twisted My words, making you think I was jealous and possessive, that I was suffocating you and holding you back. He said he could make you free. He offered you the world.

My love, I had already given you the world. It was not his to offer - it was Mine, and I had already given it to you. Why didn't you see that? Why did you believe him? Why did you take his hand over Mine? He offered you nothing that I had not already given you, and yet that damned silver tongue of his blinded your eyes and stole your heart, and you grabbed his hand and ran away with him in the night... and I wept.

My love, why did you leave Me?

I wept and wept, flooding the earth with My tears. I knew I had to win you back, to save you from his lies, to bring you back home and unite you to My heart once again. Every day without you was like a thousand years to Me. I could barely stand it. Sometimes I would see you passing by, your arm in his. I called out to you, begging you to stop, to leave him, telling you that you deserved more than him and that he would only bring you pain. Sometimes I would come to you at night, calling out softly until you woke and came to the window, and we would talk for a little while. In the still of the night I would listen to your worries and your fears, and comfort and console you, and tell you that all you needed to do was to leave him, to come back to Me, and I would never break your heart. The worst thing was, you always agreed with Me. You always knew that I was right, and yet the next morning, you'd wake up next to him again, and go on about your day.

You never had the strength to leave him. You were afraid of what might happen if you did. You were afraid of what he might do to you, and worse, you were afraid that I might not take you back after all. And there was something addictive, almost hypnotic, about his abuse. When he hit you in a drunken fit, you would weep, and then the next moment the two of you would be making love (the irony of that phrase not lost on you one bit), and he would go out of the house and leave you, certain that you would still be there at the end of the day. And you were. You always were.

I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't stand watching you waste away with that monster. I had seen all this coming long ago, and so I had put a plan in place to win your love back. I had to show you once and for all how deep My love ran for you. I had to challenge him. But I knew that if I killed him, I would be leaving you with no choice but to come to Me, and I couldn't do that. I couldn't bear the thought of forcing you to love Me, as if it could really be love if you had no other choice. So I did what only Love could do.

I let him kill Me.

He didn't fight fair. He never does. I knew it, knew that he was going to beat Me senseless, then offer his hand as if he was going to help Me back up. I knew that he would choose that moment of feigned compassion and love to strike Me down, when I was most vulnerable. I knew that he wanted to see the shock, the surprise and defeat on My face as the life faded from My eyes. I knew it all, and I let it all happen, but in that last moment before I died, I did not give him what he wanted. My eyes were not filled with defeat and submission, but with the fire of victory.

He did not know that, for a long time before that day, I had been talking with you in secret. He did not know that I had been showing you wonders the likes of which you had never before seen. He did not know that the night before I died, I asked you to marry Me.

And he most certainly did not know that you said "yes."

In that moment, as My life spilled out in crimson on the ground around Me, I won. He realized, in a fleeting heartbeat, that he had lost sight of his goal, buried the objective beneath his pulsing pride and gnawing greed. He had sought to beat Me out of a need to control, to dominate, to be mighty and feared, to assert his authority over you and Me and the rest of the universe. But really, the war between him and Me had never been about either him or Me, after all. No, My love. It was always about you.

The real objective, the real prize over which we fought, was your heart, and in dying I showed you the gentleness and self-sacrifice of which he had never been capable. I showed you the humility and forgiveness you longed for him to have. I showed you My Heart, and it burned a billion times more brightly than his.

I loved you. Oh, how I loved you.

I won your heart by dying, and he walked away a penniless victor... and then I revealed my greatest surprise. He stopped, turned first his head and then his whole body to look, a jumble of emotions arranging themselves haphazardly on his face as I climbed back to My feet. He realized in a stuttering heartbeat that he had never been strong enough to beat Me. I had let him win, let him be as full of his pride as he could ever have been, only to drain every last ounce of that pride away as the Man Who Was Dead stepped forward and grabbed him by the collar. He sputtered, gasping in surprise, choking out the words, "Are you...?"

"I AM," I said, and he was no more.

So, My love, I am readying myself for our wedding day. I will be patiently and passionately waiting until the time is right, and we take the altar together, and burn our two hearts into one. I have spared no expense in the preparations for our wedding day. Our reunion will be beautiful beyond belief. The music will be nothing short of... heavenly. And when we retire to our new home, you will find that all that I did to prepare for your coming all those eons ago will pale in comparison to what is in store. There I will come, and put My hand to your latch, and you will freely open your garden to Me, and we two shall become one. You have ravished My heart, My sister, My bride, and I wish to spend an eternity with you, if you will have Me.

I love you. Oh, how I love you.

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