Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark. And the waters swelled on the earth for one hundred fifty days. –Genesis 7:23-24
The Noah story is a little terrifying. I mean, God gets angry at humankind and sends a flood to destroy everyone except Noah’s family. That is not a light plot line. Herbert Brokering, however, In Love, Dad: Letters of Faith to my Children, sees a different angle:
Rocking is the story of Noah’s family in the flood…inside the womb of the ark they rocked…This ancient Bible story is about being safe…
Safe? I always read the story and got stuck on the destruction, the anger, the death. I never spent enough time on the boat with Noah to read the story and see God rocking Noah. But now that I have read it, I can’t get the image out of my mind.For 150 days God rocked Noah. Brokering goes on from God rocking Noah to Brokering himself rocking his children:
O how we held you when we rocked you. You clung to us, we rocked each other…I believe rocking is in part of us all. It is how we stayed alive in our mother. Nine months we rocked.
He explains the different rocking chairs they had at home and how each child liked to be rocked a little differently. I picture him, as a father, rocking his babies with patience, attention and care. I can’t read this without crying. It’s true. I rock my baby and my baby rocks me back. We rock each other. I know just how he likes to be rocked. When I slow dance with my husband, it feels like rocking. When I am tired, or grieving, needing comfort or affection, I rock. We learn it in our mothers’ wombs and it never leaves us, the rhythm of rocking.
I pretend God has a rocker.
The image of God with a rocker is so tender it breaks something open in me. It presents God not as Father, but as daddy. Or mommy. And the tenderness in the image is almost too much to bear. I think I, too, will pretend God has a rocker.