The back room is always a mess. We do not visit it and are hardly aware of its existence. But it is there, each day more and more things are thrown in. It is a very crowded and cluttered room. We stumble through it blindly in our sleep, searching, full of yearning, reaching out. It is a room full of fear and desire.
By day we barely know that it even exists. But it does. We carry it around with us where ever we go. It secretly and invisibly dominates whatever we think, whatever we say, however we act. There is always the room, hidden from view, shameful, obscene. But it is ours. It is us.
So we live our lives in the front room. That is where we invite our guests, our friends our lovers. We keep it dusted and clean. Everything is neat and tidy. Everything is on show. This is the best of us. It’s comfortable, filled with things we like. It is like a mirror reflecting our heavily made up faces.
At the church, by the alter, on our wedding day when we say “All that I am I give to you” we are offering our partner not only the front room of ourselves but also that hidden and messy back room. And when we say “I do” we are accepting our partner’s back room. We are saying I accept you – even that part of you that I don’t know, accepting even the part of you that you don’t even know exists. And we accept that we will probably never know what is in that room.
Occasionally we may stand at the door and prize it open and let a little light in. We may stare into that gloom, with fierce and bitter tears streaming down our faces - but not for too long.
It is a massive act of faith, a leap in the dark, a step across an abyss.