The Flower Duet

One of my favourite pieces of music to listen to is a famous aria from Lakme, the Flower Duet.  Lakmé is an opera by Léo Delibes to a French libretto (written in 1881–1882).  Yes, I speak a little French but I have NO idea what these two ladies are singing about…and I like it this way. (please persist–the first bit is just part of the libretto).

Quite frankly, I’m afraid to find out what they’re singing.

Why am I afraid?  Part of me is afraid because Lakme is an opera and so who knows what what kind of things they may be saying to eachother!  I would just rather not know!  The other part of me is afraid because sometimes the beauty I see is in not knowing, but in hearing the haunting melody, making up my own idea of what they are saying.

Now, this may be OK with an aria (especially when what they’re saying is as inane as this one [yes, I did look into it–curiosity, a family trait!]), but this is not a good way to be with God.  We singles may be used to thinking our own thoughts, kind of being in our own heads most of the time and we might like it this way.  We might like to hear the words being sung and spoken at church, we might like reading the Bible and thinking of it’s beautiful poetry, but when you get right down to it (if we are honest with ourselves…) there are times when we don’t really want to know what God is saying to us.

What if He wants me to be a missionary and I have to move to Africa?  What if He wants me to quit my job and go into the ministry?  What if he wants me to join a Baptist convent and move to Siberia (or Canada!) and sew baby caps until my eyes grow dim?

What if He wants me to talk to that fellow sitting next to me?  What if He wants me to talk to my co-worker about Him?

Hmmmm….I’d just rather not know what He wants for me sometimes.  I can handle what’s on my plate right now.  Cheers to inertia!

Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have—and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.
— James Belasco and Ralph Stayer Flight of the Buffalo (1994)

If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desire not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, we are like ignorant children who want to continue making mud pies in a slum because we cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a vacation at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
–C. S. Lewis

We would rather play in a mud puddle than journey to the ocean side with God.  Funny, isn’t it?  Even though we know that God wants the best for us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11  NIV

If  only I could get my silly human head to understand this, my silly human heart to believe it!

Prayer:  Father, please give my the courage to face up to what it is you want to say to me, the faith to trust that what You want is the best (and the ability to have these two things for more than the next five minutes!) and the patience to wait on You.



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