Thursday, July 2, 2009

Friday Fiction for July 3rd, 2009

Friday Fiction is hosted this week on Shirley’s Sunny Glade. Be sure to visit the terrific submissions from our wonderful group of writers!

As Christian writers, we tend to shy away from certain content in our stories. We have a general stigma against sexual content, and while I fully agree we shouldn’t offer the reader such titillating details as to risk offense or temptation, I do think we should be able to portray a healthy, happy relationship between married couples.

In fact, I not only think we should be able to, I think we should seriously consider it, because all too often religious people in general and Christians in particular are portrayed by the secular media as either too sexually inhibited, or hypocritical. God created this aspect of human relations, and He not only blessed it, He ordained that it should be enjoyed by His people, within the guidelines He established.

In this excerpt from “Her Father’s Star,” I wanted to examine the spiritual aspect of the physical relationship, as the Priestess B’Tra and her husband, Rev. David Cohen, share an intimate afternoon. There is no “bump and grind” to the scene, but still takes the reader into the bedroom in a manner that I think befits Christian fiction.

At the very least, I would be interested in your thoughts concerning how we deal with this very real aspect of humanity in our stories.

Chapter 14

‘Tis the set of the sail that decides the goal, and not the storm of life.
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

B’Tra sat in the study, reading over Kimmie’s homework. A storm was moving over the area, and already the outside temperature had dropped and flurries of snow descended passed the windows. Looking up from the screen, she thought of similar storms she had endured back in T’Cha, when she and the other students in the priestess school had huddled by the fire to stay warm while they studied. The embassy’s climate control made such measures unnecessary, and she often thought it might be better if they did need to huddle close. The practice had helped reinforce the concept of the community of the priestesses, but any attempt to simulate it in their Terran home had met with resistance and the suggestion to just set the thermostat higher.

The approaching storm was the first of the late autumn season, and the forecast was for a serious one. She expected a thick layer of snow before the next morning, and if the storm abated enough, the youth of the church would descend on the embassy on the pretense of helping to clear the paths. In reality, it was an excuse to gather and play in the snow, and maybe get a chance to pelt the pastor with snowballs. David made a practice of allowing them at least one such chance during the snow parties.

In the time since their discussion, Se’Ana had taken well to caring for S’Bu. The young priestess watched over the child almost exclusively, and the only thing that kept B’Tra involved was the regular nursing. It was a difficult thing, withdrawing emotionally from her child. Her inclination was to draw closer to her baby before the years of separation they faced, but she reasoned it would only make it more traumatic on the both of them. The earlier S’Bu bonded with Se’Ana and grew to associate maternal care with her, the more natural it would seem to the child to have the surrogate in her life.

The duty proved good for Se’Ana. In the time since she had accepted the responsibility for the child, her bouts of melancholy were less frequent and of shorter duration. She was still not back to the confidence she had displayed those first days following the ceremony in Auckland, but she no longer acted as though the attack had ended her life. The two priestesses spent more time talking with each other during the times B’Tra fed the infant, and she had more than once let the younger priestess vent her frustrations. Whether that helped the healing process or not, it seemed to relieve Se’Ana of the build-up of anger and improved her mood.

She forced her attention back to the homework. The creative writing project was simplistic, yet infused with a wry sense of humor that none of her other children expressed. The story about two dogs trying to figure out how to control the food system while their master slept was imaginative and contained jokes that were beyond a typical child her age, even if the composition itself needed some serious editing.

Kimmie relished her role as big sister, after being the “baby” of the family for so long. As yet, no one else had been told of the decision to send S’Bu back to Qi’le to be raised as a priestess. No one but she, David, and Se’Ana even knew the child had been named, and she wondered how the other children would receive the news.

It would not set well with her husband’s church, either. Many of the members of the congregation had been asking often when they were going to dedicate the baby, as though the delaying of the Christian custom would somehow condemn the child to a Godless existence. They would expect the vow to raise her daughter to be a Christian, even as their other children had been raised.

Not this one, she thought.

She made her comments on Kimmie’s composition and sent it back to her daughter. Leaving the study and heading to their bedroom, she broke into David’s thoughts and invited him to meet her there.

She needed him; she needed his touch on her skin, driving all distractions from the joining of their minds. The B’sela was always there, but never as intense as during physical intimacy. His anticipation built as he made his way through the hallways, feeding off of hers and fueling her excitement as well. Standing at the foot of their bed, she closed her eyes and encouraged him with the thought of his hands lifting the robes from her shoulders.

He entered the room without a word, closing the door behind him. She saw herself through his eyes as he walked up behind her; smelled her hair through his nose as he brought his lips close to her ear. She felt the fabric of her robes brushing against his arms as he wrapped them around her, bringing his hands up in front of her face. She trembled from the intimate touch as he brought all of his fingers into contact with her cheeks. She pressed back against him, aware of the sensations of both their bodies but focused on his touch as he caressed her face.

They sang the prayer for the B’sela joining together, inviting the third mind that was said to meet the couple during those closest moments. They had sensed the eternal presence a few times during their marriage, including the day S’Bu had been conceived, so it did not surprise them to have the awareness of God’s approval at the peak of the lovemaking.

It is time we tell them,” she thought, lying on his chest afterwards.

The idea crossed his mind and into hers; a flash of inspiration that frightened him as much as it intrigued him.

She smiled and approved. The church could blame her if they did not like it. After all, most still failed to comprehend the joining of the two minds; more than once someone had gone to David to voice a concern about her, thinking to share it with him so that he could address it with her without her knowing who had complained – forgetting that they could never truly keep a secret one from the other. Elizabeth and James would be out for the Thanksgiving feast; they would do it that weekend.

Things always seemed clearer after an interlude. They were in close physical contact and relaxed, with little to deter their minds from working together well. It was one reason she had needed him.

She rolled over and pulled the curtain back to look out the window. The snow was falling thick and heavy, piling up on the outside sill and sticking to the glass. Cold air fell from the space between the window and the curtains, raising goose bumps on her exposed skin. It was a good afternoon for a nap, and S’Bu would not need to be fed for a couple of hours yet. She released the curtain and drew the blankets up around her, drifting into a shared dream with David.


Joanne Sher said...

I agree that normal physical intimacy SHOULD be portrayed in Christian books, and the way you handled it seems right on. And incredible descriptions, as usual.

Patty Wysong said...

I like, Rick! Very well handled!

And I totally agree with you. As Christians we often throw the baby out with the bath water, and we shouldn't. You CAN write about marital intimacy without any 'bump and grind' (LoL--loved that description!!)

Well done!!

Unknown said...

Incredibly well done!

Sara Harricharan said...

I think you handled it very well. I loved the fact that they had a shared connection between them, it made them more real and I liked the kind of 'quiet spirit' that seemed to hover in the FMC through the story. Good names too. ^_^

Dee Yoder said...

Very well done, Rick. Very warm and loving. I could feel their close and trusting relationship.