“In this treacherous world
Nothing is the truth nor a lie.
Everything depends on the color
Of the crystal through which one sees it”
― Pedro Calderón de la Barca
Perception is a very fascinating topic for me. It amazes me how often, two people who are very similar, may look at an identical image or situation and perceive entirely different things.
While I was in Kenya, as a result of a set of unforeseen circumstances, I gate crashed a wedding… (I know. I know. Shocking isn’t it 😉 ) It was one of the more delightful things that happened to me. The pink and white decor, the beautiful couple, a guest with a truly bizarre hairstyle that I discreetly snapped a picture of (coming soon), hawks (I can’t explain that), delicious food and friendly strangers made it a very special experience.
What stood out for me, above all else, was a poem recited by the Groom’s sister, at the request of the Groom. I am almost certain she said she wrote it but I could be mistaken. The poem was written by Brent Hill. The Title: A crucifixion kind of love, caught my attention instantly. I thought it sounded very loaded. There followed what, to me, sounded like the most passionately aggressive poem I had ever heard. Now, I am all for passionate aggression, just not at a wedding.
Here’s an extract from the poem:
“Every time I hug her I want my arms to be spread out on the cross and I want to die to my childish ways. And every time I look into her eyes I want a crown of thorns to be placed upon my head so that I will surrender my thought life to her honour. And I want the walls to be taken apart to be nail driven into my feet so that they would lead her with the authority of Moses, see; I want a crucifixion type love. I want my side to be pierced every time that we laugh together so that ill always remember that she is my rib. And every time I sleep and dream of her I want my back to be beaten with a cat o nine tail so that ill always carry her burdens for her. And every time I’m not with her I want to stand before Pilot and stand true to my relationship with her, see, I want those who have seen me to have seen her in me when we are apart. I want a crucifixion type love.”
If I may describe my impression of this poem in colour I would say it left me feeling black and blue. Thoroughly bruised. It was so at odds with the pink and white decor and lively bride (she really was beautiful and all smiles) This poem somehow managed to cast the most painful light on love on a day that was designed for perfection. On what other day can love be more perfect than on one’s wedding day. Of course, that was my perception of the poem. Perhaps that perception was shared by the lady sitting behind me because as the poem ended, she whispered, “I really don’t want that kind of love.” I confess, neither do I.
I shared my sentiments with a couple of friends as we left the wedding. Both of them disagreed entirely. They had perceived the poem in an entirely different manner. They could not comprehend how I had viewed it so “negatively”. I love a healthy debate so we engaged in one. We were only hamstrung by the fact that we did not have a copy of the poem to refer to. It was a lively debate and in the end we agreed to disagree. Their points were strong and valid, I simply did not agree. Similarly, they could see where I was coming from but disagreed completely.
I have to mention that right in the middle of the debate, one of them said, “to cut a long story short, I’m sure she (the poet) assumed that it would be a Christian audience.” The implication of course was that I am not a Christian hence I misconstrued the poem. While that statement was extremely offensive in its own way, I opted to let it pass. Perhaps he has a perception of how good Christians should think and understand poetry, and perhaps I do not fit that perception. That is his prerogative.
My thoughts on the poem are that its beautiful. A crucifixion kind of love is the love God had for us. The kind of love his son had for us. He loved us despite the fact that we were blackened by sin. In order to cleanse us, His love for us was perfected by His death. It was no ordinary death. It was no ordinary love. It was a crucifixion kind of love and death. Where pain and life was given in suffering and torment to save those who neither deserved nor had earned it. The nails driven into his feet, the whip across his back, the thorns biting into his flesh, the nails driven into his hands, the humiliation of being stripped naked for all to gaze upon. That is a crucifixion kind of love. A crucifixion kind of death. The kind given to those undeserving of it so that they may never have to do carry the burden of impurity. So that they, we, may never have to carry the burden of that kind of love.
Its a beautiful poem. A poem about perfect love. A love God had for his disappointing children that he loved completely regardless of their imperfection. I just did not, and still do not, think it was a poem written for a wedding nor was it appropriate to describe the kind of love one feels on that particular day. But that was just my perception. Who’s to say its a duck or a rabbit 😉