The land is dry and parched. I look around me and wonder what I did to deserve this. When we first gotten together, his dreams were so attractive and his dreaming so daring. As the years wore on, I began to yearn for a more stable life. The wandering life of a Nomad brings no joy to this once young, spoilt and rich daddy’s little girl. My name is Sarai and I am a princess who fell in love with a dreamer. This is my life.
In the recent years I have aged drastically and this following my husband Abram as he follows the voice of his unseen God is no longer appealing to me. I long to settle down, grow roots and build a house. Tents bring little comfort and protection from the elements and the wild animals and the highway robbers and the wayward marauding tribes. And still he follows Yahweh – and always I followed him. I thought that I would always follow happily until that day came.
That day when he betrayed me. That day when I followed him into a lie. That day when he lied to the king and told him that I was his sister. That day when the king took me to be the newest and most prized addition to his harem (until the next one came along). The hurt and anger and hatred I felt for him was immeasurable. He was supposed to protect me. He was supposed to cover me. He was supposed to die for me if need be – or so I thought – but instead he feared for his life so much so that he gave up the sanctity of our vows to save himself and gave me into the hands (and bed) of a foreign king. I hear his name whispered in the corridors and I detest him all the more. I have learnt to know my place, keep my head bowed and not draw attention.
The hustle and bustle of city life and the comforts it is supposed to bring wreak havoc with my mind. The desperation for my beautiful wife and my desire to have her by my side makes me sick to my stomach. Every time I hear the voice of Yahweh calling me I look away, get busy and refuse to address him. How could I do that to her? What kind of a man am I? What kind of a husband? No wonder Yahweh has never seen it fit to bless me with children. If I could give my wife to another man, then who knows – maybe I’m even capable of sacrificing my very own son at the voice and command of this God who now grows more distant by the day. I am haunted by her eyes – the very last time I saw them – and the deep betrayal and utter disbelief as I allowed her to be led away. I convinced myself (or at least I try daily) that she is fine and he hasn’t touched her – but the rumors drive me crazy and force me into a jealous rage. Most of the men I have had words (and exchanged blows) with have been convinced that their words towards my “sister” evoked this reaction – if only they knew. I am ridden with guilt and don’t know a way out. If only I could cry out to this God I loved and served for so long – but my doubt in myself and my ensuing actions are a direct slap in the face of His love for me. I cannot turn to Him and I cannot have my wife back. IT WAS NOT WORTH IT but it is too late!
I have studied the ways of these people. How they give their maids to their husbands to birth children for them. How they find it perfectly alright to delegate all responsibilities – even until bedroom matters. I judged them harshly one day until the reality of the predicament of my situation hit me – my own husband did the same to me and now lives enjoying his wealth and country living. At least I have the best of creature comforts but still – Was it worth it to him?
The king has summoned me. I don’t know why. It has been months since I was in the vicinity of his palace and my heart will not stop beating. Is she alright? What if I run into her in the corridors. Will I recognize her? Will she recognize me? Will she forgive me? Will she speak to me? I know I have aged drastically – mostly from my guilty conscience. I have no choice but to go. His guards are waiting outside my home. As we walk through the streets, the starkness of the past few months of plague hit me. The stench of death surrounds me. Rotting flesh assaults my nostrils. Not even in my wildest wilderness days did I ever see such darkness. But even this pales in comparison with the darkness in my heart.
The king has summoned me. There are whispers and stares as I approach his court. My handmaid is whimpering and appears to be crying but every time I look in her direction or try to question her, she turns away. Hagar has always been a strange one so I will not pay any mind to her. I am scared. All my time here, the king has never touched me. I thought it strange at first but allowed my relief at not having to share his bed to overshadow my curiosity. Today I am scared out of my wits that this is the day he will demand my utmost. But I cannot show fear. I am the only foreigner in his harem and have already been ridiculed by the rest for years. I dare not show weakness. Their beautiful poison-filled tongues will pounce on me and take away what little will I have left to live. For the first time in a very long time, I long for my husband. But I refuse to dwell on those thoughts. They never helped me before and they won’t help me now.
The harshness of our situation hits me like a tonne of bricks. This plague is all our fault – all my fault – and because I would not listen to God, He spoke instead to Pharaoh. We have been banished form those lush green lands and escorted our of the kingdom. My biggest fear is not the journey ahead or the harshness of desert life. My biggest fear is not the lack of water or the lack of food or the scavengers following us. My biggest fear is not where we will camp tonight but when the camp has been set and I must face her. I barely had time to catch my breath before she was thrust into my arms. I longed to hold her but she fell like dead weight and tensed up like a log in my arms. There was no embrace. No address. No hello. Just two strangers with a past doing their best to get less awkward.
The deed is done and I am once again free but I couldn’t not feel more imprisoned if I was shackled to a tree and bound in a cage. This tent is so small and soon he will be here. We made camp hours ago and whatever business he has busied himself with is soon dying down. I am so tense I could break if you touched me. Hagar notices and fetches water to run me a bath. She tells me in her strange but strangely comforting way that he is a good man who made a bad mistake. She seems very understanding of the situation and forgiving on him – I wish I was that understanding and forgiving. OR IS SHE TOO UNDERSTANDING OF MY HUSBAND AND TOO FORGIVING OF HIS WAYS? I banish that thought immediately – he just entered the tent.
I walked into the tent like I was walking down to the gallows to be hung. She is so beautiful and only God knows how he could not have touched her all these years. But my desire will have to wait. A wrong must be righted. A grave injustice forgiven and maybe, just maybe, a love rekindled. Truly He is a God who answers when called. Truly He is a God who hears even when you don’t pray. Truly He is a God of second chances and #NewBeginnings.
[TO BE CONTINUED] … … …
I am Beautiful – Empowered – Visionary
I am @BeautifulPetal_