A woman falls in love and wrestles with her feelings in first century Ephesus
|Diana was still angry when she got back to the house and went straight to her room. As she lay there, on her bed, she found herself wondering why. She even said a prayer :
"God I am so angry and I do not really know why, but I need your help here."
She thought about Joseph and he was desirable, successful, a perfect match, as far as her father was concerned, but she realized that he made her angry also.
She was angry because she knew she could not control him. Yet somehow it seemed hard-wired into her that she should be the one calling the shots, just as her mother had done with her father.
She was angry because he had been married before. She was angry because from what she knew about his first wife Eva she seemed altogether perfect. But if she was so perfect and he was so strong then how come she was dead? How come he had loved another woman at all? 'I am the greatest catch in Ephesus. I deserve a man who will love me and only me', she thought.
She was angry because she knew nothing about him and yet spent all her time thinking about him. 'Why are you in my head', she yelled at herself, 'did I even invite you in here?'
She was angry because he did not seem to need her. He could obviously function without her. So what was she, some sort of trophy wife to complete his image?
She was angry because he seemed like he was 100 years ahead of her in all the things, that she had so recently discovered, actually mattered. All her aristocratic heritage, her studies, and even her time in the temple gave her nothing of any value or any advantage over him. He made her feel like she had completely wasted her life before the time she met him. He could even match her father's wealth and did not even need her money.
But most of all he angered her because her knees went weak and butterflies filled her stomach whenever he walked into the room. She was not in control of her heart and her feelings when he was with her. She felt weak, powerless, and useless in the face of these new feelings she had for this man.
She was angry at herself for feeling and for being such a fool around him.
She was angry at her father because he seemed to know what was best for her and she suspected he might even be right. She was angry because she seemed to have no say in that, no say over her father, no say over the way she felt in herself.
She was angry because she had no way of managing all the feelings, boiling over from inside her. She wondered if she needed a mother, though she knew her own mother would have been no real help. She would have mastered her feelings alright and restored control, but without answering any of the real questions provoked by them. Diana realized she needed someone to talk to, a friend, and then with a moment of self-realization and horror, she realized that she had no real friends.
There was a knock on the villa door, it was Hermione. The servant brought her to Aeneas, the chief servant, who directed her upstairs to Diana's room.
Hermione knocked on the bedroom door.
"Diana, it is Hermione, do you need a friend right now, cause I am here for you if you do?"
Diana could not believe this but immediately understood Hermione to be an answer to her deepest prayer.
Getting up from the bed, and wiping the tears away from her eyes, she said
Hermione came in and seeing the remaining tears and the eyes that had been crying approached Diana and hugged her. This made Diana cry even more, but she hugged back hard for several minutes.
"Come sit with me on the balcony", Diana said when she had recovered sufficiently to speak.
They moved onto her balcony, overlooking the harbor, and sat on the bench there. Cool Drinks were brought by the household staff.
In silence, Hermione waited for Diana to speak.
"It is all so overwhelming and I am not handling it all very well."
"Is it any wonder, when you have lost your mother, found Jesus, and fallen in love for the first time, in just a few days," said Hermione
"How did you know... am I that obvious?"
"Oh I have been angry like you were today many times " Hermione chuckled, "it is the people we love most who get under our skin the most deeply though".
"I feel like I have completely wasted my life up till now. I am not in control of anything and am just getting swept along by the force of events. Becoming a Christian has completely shattered everything I thought was good about myself. So, what is left now, just a broken mess? And now this man Joseph, with his muscles."
"Yes he does have big muscles " grinned Hermione
Diana laughed "Yes he is way too distracting for a woman in my condition."
They giggled together, "I feel the same way about Sergio," said Hermione, "I remember at the time when we met I had thought I would never meet a man I actually liked. Then he just made me feel all weak and gooey inside and it was like all sense left my mind when I spoke to him and I would say the silliest things. But then I found out that the same thing was going on inside of him. We must have been quite a spectacle for the church, speaking gibberish to each other and going red all the time. But after we got over our embarrassment, we found out they all thought we were the perfect match, and more importantly we worked out that that was what we felt too."
"Yes, but I have never even had this conversation with Joseph. I do not know how he feels about me. But then there is my father talking and acting like I am already married off to the man. I do not know anything about him. He was married before. How did his wife die? He might have even killed her, for all I know."
"I think you know that is not true. This man is respected by the pastor, John, so I think that any history he has is probably a gold mine of interesting and edifying stories, rather than a dark tale of monsters and murder."
"Oh, you are quite a poet with words."
"I like words, particularly when they say things that matter and articulate important feelings like these. I learned to write in the church, and I help copy bible manuscripts like Paul’s letters for instance, for my job. Also, I am a teacher for the young children in the church."
"Well I am a child when it comes to the things of the church, a total beginner, you can teach me any time."
"I think you need to have a conversation with Joseph. But John was right, this might not yet be the time for that conversation. You have so many feelings and issues to work through right now and you have your mother to bury spiritually and physically."
"I missed my mother today for the first time. I wanted direct answers to direct questions and my mother would have insisted on that for me. But you know, it was not the time to answer my questions and you are right, there is just too much going on right now to even hear whatever answers are given properly."
"Well as I said I am here to be your friend and perhaps we can work through these questions together."
"I would like that," said Diana.