I am half-way through The Kite Runner. The story is heart-breaking, brutal (as a friend described it)….gripping. I am finding it quite simple to relate to characters that are literally worlds different from me. I am a Caucasian, American house wife and mother in a very small community in rural Kentucky. Born into a Christian family, conservative, small-town values were enstilled within me at birth and with the exception of a brief foray, I’ve never departed from them. I am still a conservative Christian who fears God, cherishes small-town ideals and considers the members of my small country church more as family than my actual relatives. This is I.
Imagine my surprise when I found myself relating to a young Sunni Muslim boy in Afghanistan, as well as his Shia Muslim servant-friend. That is the mark of a true story-teller; a literary genius so adept with the written word that this woman can instantly feel familiar with a culture so vastly different from her own. Such is Khaled Hosseini.
But this article isn’t about Hosseini’s talent, or a review of his best-selling novel. Rather, it is about two lines found half-way through the book. Two of the most tragic lines I think I have ever read. Lines that cut me to the core and shake my feminine sensibilities.
Every woman needed a husband. Even if he did silence the song in her.
Even now, my heart breaks. How many women can say this applies to her? How many Christian women, who have devoted themselves to biblical woman/wife-hood read these lines and think, “Yep, that’s what’s missing. He has silenced my song”.
Now within the context of the book, there is a literal meaning as well as a figurative one. A woman with a beautiful voice was commanded by her new husband to never sing in public, for it was improper for a woman of her integrity and social standing.
How many Christian women (I say Christian because I cannot speak for non-Christian women though I’m sure there would be little difference) have given their marriage everything they have-sacrificed, compromised, put her husband’s needs and dreams before her own-only to lose all sense of self in the process?
God lays out very clearly His roles for both husband and wife. It is clear He instructs a wife to be submissive to her husband, honor him as her head (as unto the Lord), to respect her husband, manage the home etc. Many Christian women strive to live up to Proverbs 31 and Titus 2. She also remembers that a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit is precious in God’s sight (1 Peter 3:4). It becomes her life’s ambition, to please the Lord by honoring her husband. But God’s divine order for a marriage gives the husband some responsibilities as well. He is instructed to love his wife as his own body, to love her as Christ loves the church, to sacrifice himself for her. He is her head, as Christ is his head. He is to wash and cleanse her with the Word. Ephesians 5
What if he neglects his duties? What if he is quick to remind her of God’s instructions to women but “forgets” his own instructions? What if he develops the attitude: “I’m the head of the household so I come first and what I say goes”? What if he thinks all he has to do is “bring home the bacon” and nothing else? What if he doesn’t even do that? What if she goes to him with a simple request but is accused of nagging or bossing him? What if he speaks hatefully to her and calls her foul names? What if he never outright abuses her but treats her with neglect, giving little to no thought as to her needs or desires? What if her opinion is met with anger, derision or is just plain ignored, never to be acknowledged? What if every time she gave an opinion he accused her of being a “know-it-all”?
I’ll tell you “what if”. I imagine over time he will indeed silence her song. That spark that God placed within her at birth will diminish. Her light will dim. Her voice will cease. That which made her her will fade away.
I am not speaking of her will. A woman such as she relinquished her will to Christ long ago. She understands she is not her own, but was bought with a price. I am speaking of a woman betrayed by the very one God instructed to protect and nourish her. The one who vowed before God to love, honor and cherish her all the days of his life. Heart broken and spirit crushed, she will begin to lose, not only her self-worth, but forget who she is in Christ. She will one day forget what fun is. She will not recognize happiness.
Her husband is nothing more than a pawn of satan, drowning in darkness. He will answer to God if he does not repent and return to the Light. She can pray for him, understanding he is in darkness. She will cling to the Lord, for He is her refuge and her Redeemer and she is His bride. She knows one day He will give her a new song.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven Matthew 5
Quote from The Kite Runner can be found on page 195 of the Center Point Large Print edition, 2003.