Exodus. The Confluence of the Waters. The Bloody Bridegroom.

Exodus. The Confluence of Waters. The Bloody Bridegroom.

My life feels like some kind of confluence right now, rivers flowing in from every direction, hard to untangle water when it’s moving. That’s interesting, because I have long-time recurrent dreams of melted landscape, everything running with wet mud, no purchase for hands or feet, bluffs and inclines and ravines all to be negotiated, and all just moving liquid mud. And, interesting, there was just a moment of change. A couple of nights ago I was in the same place, I had, this time, come there of my own will, leaving my daughter and her mother to do so. Then, once there, I briefly had a mind for the plight of my children lost in the mud. At that point someone sprinkled the Powder of Life on a muddy ridge, firming it into something like a woven grass mat. (The Powder of Life comes from one of the Oz books, but I don’t think the context carried over, only the concept). Then the next night I came to the mud again, en route from the lakeside town where I grew up, coming home. This time the mud was only along the shore, and while I still had to navigate it, this time I could do it with one shoe on, one foot on dry land.

Looking now I’m seeing the confluence. I’m all tears and wailing this morning, but hey, that’s a river too. They all run together today. And for the first time I’m able to see upstream. All the seemingly unconnected things, the heartaches and losses and betrayals, all the grief, come from a moment of choice, It’s terrible that we don’t always get to recognize the choices we make when we make them. Question of the day: of course God forgives me. I sit here weeping and telling Him, and he already forgave me long ago, but what relation does that bear to the damage I’ve done to the people I love? That’s not about forgiveness. These days it’s about trying to find my way upstream.

It happens that I’m reading the Book of Exodus while this is going on. That’s perplexing indeed. I accept the Ten Commandments as absolute, as laws that govern my life. But in the same breath, God goes on to tell the Jews that if their ox should gore a man, the ox must be stoned, that if they don’t have a lamb to offer in the stead of a baby donkey, the donkey’s neck should be broken. I’m not using this reading to separate myself from the Bible – the purpose of the exercise is to incorporate it into my life. Since I see all of us as the Children of Israel, heading for the Promised Land, it’s workable.

But, and please feel free to comment if you have any perspective on this, how should one read Exodus 4, 24-28, the “Bloody Bridegroom” passage.


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