Historical setting: 589 C.E. Ana’s cottage in the Vosges Mts.
It was the storm and Ana’s gentle compassion that sets this scene – Ana, beautiful as always, with a kindness radiant as warmth, and me, cold and naked, a guest in this mysterious room with a roof.
How can I not seem frightening to her? But this fear that was forced on her is not at all the kinds of fears that can be conquered with courage. She has all the courage any human being would ever need to make her way into new places and live alone with God in a wilderness. What she doesn’t have is trust in men. So here I am, a naked man in a rollicking, crashing thunderstorm, invited into her room and now into her bed and in some way I only wish I could earn the trust that was stolen from her.
Here is the softness of the circumstance she touches my hand, and now my arm but not with her physician’s hands, rather with a woman’s gentleness.
“Ana, I know it will take time for you to learn to trust me, and also for me to learn the patience worthy of that trust.”
Dear God, thank you for this great and beautiful storm, gracious, awesome, cleansing… Yet in our prayers for things like rain or sun you so often answer ‘yes, but in a better time.’ So human patience is probably not something you even believe in; but I ask to be privy to that virtue now. Already I find myself asking how long must I wait to build another’s trust? Is it three days, as Jesus was in the tomb before the resurrection, or because this is a physical metaphor for new life, not a spiritual one, should it take four days? And who is measuring the days? Is it the sun or the moon? I know women follow moon patterns, like the tides on the sea but surely a whole month is way more time than would be needed to learn trust. She would think me complacent. And I’m not complacent. I simply don’t want to set her into a terror. Thank you for Ana, beautiful and wise. Amen.
In this little room with a roof there is a window and it has a shutter that was placed in the sill for the storm. And now on this bright morning Ana has taken down the shutter and light is streaming in. She is in the other room — the one with no roof — sweeping wet ash from the hearthstones.
(Continues Tuesday, June 7, 2022)