The call to prayer comes in along with a warm breeze through the open balcony door into our bedroom. We are sweaty and hot and wrapped around each other in a perfectly comfortable embrace, the kind that comes after hundreds of other embraces and adjustments of knees, and arms and necks until finally you’ve memorized each other’s curves and bumps so that you don’t even have to think about it.
This always happened to us, the call to prayer coming in right after or during. I can’t remember it ever making me feel ashamed, this overlap of the physical and the divine. It felt like a reinforcement from the heavens of what I felt- that what happened here was miraculous and holy. We were not debasing our bodies, I thought, we were propping up each other’s souls. God likes that kind of stuff, I think.
What did make me uncomfortable, was what started happening when we started happening. After making love, I would become overwhelmed by a feeling of pure knowing and warmth that wasn’t mine. I couldn’t name it, I can’t even describe it. It would often leave me in tears and I think scared him the first time. A crying, naked girl in your bed is not a good way to end the night. It was a presence that was neither him nor me. Were we having a threesome with God? My great-grandmother? Worse, my grandfather? Who would wants to reach out from eternity to nestle in with us as the biggest spoon?
There is an email in my Drafts folder that I didn’t have time to finish writing before my life shattered. It was to Anita Moorjani, a spiritual writer who had gone to the other side and come back with all the answers. I didn’t finish it because I couldn’t find the right way to ask a total stranger why a spirit or even The Spirit wanted in on my bedroom action. See? I still can’t find a way to ask that question. I’m glad I never sent it. What would be the response? And worse, what would be my follow-up email? “GOD IS DEAD AND SO IS LOVE. In peace and love, Masha.”
You can imagine that this weird phenomenon has been filed away in the evidence drawer marked “Denial” along with a million scraps of poetry, his laugh, Sufi skirts billowing, our cat’s purr when he is sandwiched between us, Nina Simone, and everything that has ever been beautiful or good.
It’s been so hard to start unpacking the drawer and dusting him off of the things that existed before him, without him, which like me, will continue to exist even if he is gone.
My relationship with the idea of God has been as complex and full of fear and mistrust as have my feelings about love and sex, especially the place where the last two intersect. Still, I can’t deny the buzzing of sparkly, knowing energy I feel in my life anymore than I can deny the butterfly flutterings of love. And since I met him, I can’t deny that I reached both through the intimate dance in our bed.
It’s been hard to reconcile these two truths – my union with this person was sacred and this person left me.
The definition of God that I am most comfortable with, is a surrender to love. The only way I can make sense out of what happened between us, is that it’s not so much about him. Though he inspired me to find the courage to do so, the miracle here is that finally, for the first time in my life I was able to surrender to love completely.