Beauty in the tragic

The picture of David is the picture of Adam, when it comes to sin. Each was a believing-in-God person, and each was living rightly before God every day. Until. Afterward, each deepened the sin by delaying repentance. Each made things worse for himself and those around him. Each hid from what he knew so well he must do, in relationship with his creator. Each needed to reveal himself in front of God, and each chose not to.

This is my story, too.

The hiding is the grasping (what feels like revelation to myself) of an idea that I am God. Or at least I should be, and I should make this happen in accord with my present needs. Reality must bend to my wishes. My desire for this becomes so strong that I don’t even feel it as a desire out of harmony with what’s real. This is why in each story we find present temptation (the serpent, lust) — which is the grasping, the ducking out of bounds and off the grid. I no longer desire harmony, accord, concert. I want to do it my way, but what that ultimately means is I want to die. I didn’t ask to be created in the first place; I’ll take this in hand and end it here, thanks anyway.

God lets us go that way, if we want it badly enough.

The beauty in the tragic stories of Adam and then David is the part when repentance does happen. Genesis doesn’t specifically show Adam’s moment, but the implication is there, in the lineage which passes to righteous Seth, that repentance took place. Tradition expresses Adam’s longing for Paradise lost, in the bowing to the East where lay the Garden of Eden’s barred entrance. David’s moment, by biblical contrast, is vivid, technicolored. He, as anointed King most powerful, knew it was against God only that he had sinned. His sackcloth, his ashes, were inexhaustible, and yet they were sprinkled with wisdom.

These men went down to dust before God, in figurative and literal ways. It didn’t matter, though, that death would claim them. Repenting and confessing, they had set their hearts back on the real path.

They, with all the power God bestows, had chosen.

They would live.

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