My friend Kasey has recently become obsessed with a fable that was the inspiration for The Decemberists' new album "The Crane Wife." Coincidentally enough, the fable is also called "The Crane Wife" (go figure) and I can't post this without stating that the album entirely lives up to the high standard that the fable sets (indie rock. I highly suggest it. there's my little plug).
I must admit that I've been ensnared by the fable as well.
You can check out the whole story here but the general gist is that there's a poor fisherman who finds a stranded crane one day, takes it in, and nurses it back to health. When it's healed, it flies away. A few days later, a beautiful woman comes knocking on his door, they fall madly in love, and get married. One problem: they're poor. She has a solution: let me make you some beautiful blankets to sell, and then we'll have enough money, all you have to promise is never to look at me while I'm making them. He promises, she weaves, and they become rich...but the fisherman also becomes greedy, forcing her to make more and more blankets so they can get more money. She falls ill and gets more and more sick, but that doesn't stop him. One day, he breaks his promise and walks into the room while she's weaving the blankets. There, he sees the crane, pulling her feathers out to make the beautiful blankets. When she sees him, she flies away, never to return again.
Heartbreaking, isn't it?
She loved him so much that she literally put pieces of herself into making it work, and he was blind to her illness and unappreciative of her sacrifice. I know that Jesus said that "there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13 NLT), and certainly she fulfilled this(!), but what happens when it's not a two-sided road? What would Jesus have to say if the proverbial "one's friends" didn't appreciate the "one's" sacrifice?
I have the sneaking suspicion that he would say "Well, my dear, that's life."
Think about it: the disciples sort of freaked out after the Crucifixion. I'd be super interested to know what they did on Holy Saturday before the women went to the tomb, more than just a sentence telling me that they went into hiding or something. What was going through their minds? Did they appreciate the sacrifice that had been made only a day before? Or were they let down, so sure that their hopes had been forever diminished?
What was the husband in the fable thinking? Did he lament over a loss of revenue or the loss of the purported love of his life?
I feel like this story tells so much about human relationships, albeit cynically. However, showing it in contrast to Jesus and the Disciples sort of gives me hope--in this case, the crane came back, fully forgiving the ones who didn't appreciate the sacrifice.
Way to go, The Decemberists.