There’s that part of the Genesis creation story where God takes a rib from Adam and around that rib fashions Eve. That missing rib becomes a companion in conversation, exploration, sin and the eventual path to redemption. Whether you hold that story as fact or allegorical myth, so much that is good springs from that missing rib, and so much that is painful about the human condition. That missing rib is the gateway to more joy than Adam ever thought possible and the chasm of the greatest, bitterest tasting grief.
That rib was my first thought when I looked at my dog’s x-rays this morning.
His lowest distaff rib–the one on the left side, just like Adam–is missing. Well, most of it anyway. The part where it’s supposed to be right next to the spine just isn’t there. According to the vet it’s either a genetic anomaly or more likely it’s been eaten away by a cancer that has now entered the dog’s spine. We’ll know in a few days whether it’s the lady or the tiger–but things aren’t looking good.
That missing rib…
The Bible tells us over and again that God was grief-stricken when sin entered the world. He loved mankind fiercely and terribly and that rot of sin just leaked in and stole his companions from him. They were gone–disappeared in the sludge of dark lonely evil. I am arrogant when I say that today I understand how God’s heart was so bitterly broken. As I sit here and beg for the life of “just an animal” I realise a taste of why God sacrificed Himself to keep mankind close to him. Compared to the infinite and wise we are so much dumb animals that would seem to be easily discarded.
While I sit here crying, bleeding my soul dry with salt and asking why me and how will I go on, the small voice I know to be God’s reminds me that it’s Maundy Thursday. I’m having a strange communion with Jesus, understanding his tears on Gethsemene and why he drank from that cup that didn’t pass.
When people don’t understand my faith or believe it to be weakness this is the part they don’t see. The part where, in the middle of the hot knife edge you never understand there is that small voice that whispers music to your soul and says “this is why and I AM.”