With all journeys, you start at the beginning of the road. At the start I had no idea where the path might lead, but there seemed only one starting point. I opened my Scriptures to the first page and turned to the story my fore-mother. The mother of us all, Eve.
The first few chapters of Genesis might well be the most read chapters in the Bible, with the exception of possibly Luke 2. Each and every year countless people sit down on January 1st to write lofty goals and expectations for the year into a list we call resolutions. Many of us seem to list the same items year after year, but we tell ourselves this year will be different. This year we will keep those resolutions. Lose weight. Eat healthy. Be a better wife. Keep up with the laundry. How many times have you said this is the year you will study the Bible? As many can attest, it works out for the first day, and the second. All to often, though, somewhere we lose our fervor and fall behind. Maybe it is the sea of begats or the litany of cubits, but each day more and more people give up this particular resolution.
In the end this means we all read the creation story over and over. So easy, given the passage kicks off the Bible. In all those readings, how much attention have you truly given to Eve? She plays a vital role in the events in the Garden of Eden.
This time through, I focused my thoughts on Eve, herself. Not on the creation of the earth, or even on Adam and his role, but on Eve. I pictured her in my mind, the morning she first arose in the Garden. Her creation differed from all else around her, even Adam. He came from the dust of the earth which came from matter unorganized. She came from Adam, a living creature, and his rib. Why did she alone get the honour of coming from something living? The Creator made man from dirt, surely he could perform the same task in the same way with woman. Yet, he chose otherwise.
Like Adam, women give of themselves physically when they have children. From the DNA on the minute level to the nutrition in the womb, children are just as much a part of a woman as Adam’s rib was a part of him. Also, this falls as a subtle reminder of just how close woman is to be to man. She’s not just a helpmeet, an aide. God did not use a bone from the arm or the back or the leg. He chose a rib, a bone encircling the most vital of man’s organs. Including his heart. Adam was meant to keep Adam close to his heart, as his wife. The same can be said of relationships today.
My mind also mulled over the information Eve found herself with. Paradise. Peace. A husband. A close communion with Heavenly Father. What a dream come true! I only wish that my own home could be half of that. Trust me, there are a plethora of words in the dictionary one could use to describe my home and I am pretty sure ‘paradise’ is not one of them. And that peace thing? I cannot even imagine what that would feel like. Need I really go on? I’m a modern woman with a husband and two kids. We try to keep things aiming for “peace” and “paradise” but real life just seems to get in the way. Generally, shattered by a “Mom, he’s looking out my window” or an “I did not, you did it first! Give it back!” I dream of the quiet moments when I can glimpse a corner of peace. Unfortunately, that seems to be only when everyone is sound asleep.
Her Father provided a wonderful home and an even more wonderful mate. Where is that in this modern world? Somehow I don’t see Eden needing as much laundry and dishes and dusting as my house! We won’t even talk about space for everything, Eden had it all. Eve scored higher than Barbie on dream home. Do we even need to compare Ken to Adam? I think Adam would win, hands down.
Eve lived in a world where she only needed to follow two commandments. Moses came out with ten. Hammurabi’s code held an astounding 282 laws. Not to be outdone, the Jews soon had 613 commandments. And you thought keeping up with today’s laws bad enough? Imagine Eve, and the simplicity of only TWO.
Therein we find the problem. Adam and Eve found themselves with only two commandments to abide by, however following one would mean breaking the other. We call this a no-win situation. Most people judge Eve on this moment, where she broke one of the commandments without seeming to contemplate anything else. Now Eve finds herself judged weaker and more prone to sin, as well as blamed for the wretched existence outside the Garden of Eden. And many continue to blame women.
Do not get me wrong, I understand the full severity of her crime. She did something that Heavenly Father expressly told her not to do. That is sin, plain and simple. No matter what happens, when you break a rule you need to deal with the consequences, but can we truly judge Eve when we sin every day ourselves?
Eden, a beautiful place where everything was perfect. How many times do we recite the addage that this is not a perfect world or that life would be boring if everyone were perfect?
Did Eve realize this? Was she the first to say this very thing? How could she truly know the bliss of walking with Heavenly Father in the Garden of Eden? She knew no sorrow. Think how easy it is for you to know joy because you can relate it to its opposite emotion. She knew she had a sweet deal, but she had absolutely nothing to compare it with.
Perhaps Eve also realized the catch-22 of her two rules. Obviously if she ate of the forbidden tree, she sinned. Did she also realize that as long as she and Adam remained in the glorious Garden that there would be no children, thus breaking the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth? In a perfect earth, what would one need to replenish? Where was death and decay rotting away at perfection? Not there.
Adam, in his wisdom, also realized this and knew he must remain with his wife. He, too, partook of the fruit and now the two stood together in one sin, about to forevermore be cast out of paradise. Can you imagine the thoughts going through their heads? How long did the decision to eat of the fruit take? Events seem to go by so fast in the Garden of Eden. Were they there merely a day? A week? A year? We do not know.
What a strong woman Eve must be to take on such an important role. Would I be wise or brave enough to make such a decision or would I just remain in limbo, comfortable with my own life? Could I also find a courage in myself to take on the frightening world outside my reach? What about knowing the condemnation my children would hold for me? How many of us despise Eve for robbing humanity of perfection without putting ourselves in her shoes?
The pages continue to turn in the story of Eve. Once she left the Garden with her husband, the two found themselves homeless in a harsh world they knew nothing about. Everything they ate, wore, and used took immense work. She couldn’t just hop into her van and cruise on over to the local Wal-mart if they ran out of carrots or milk. No Ben and Jerry’s ice cream waiting in the freezer as a reward to working a hard day. If the two did not work hard, they would freeze and starve. I don’t even like to go camping without my creature comforts. I do not want to imagine a world with no fire ring, lighters, air mattresses, and a package of hot dogs.
The two not only work for every single thing they wanted, they needed to create each item they used. Brides today get a shower and wedding gifts with which to set up their home. You might end up with six toasters, but you know you can eat. Imagine for a moment how long it took to search for enough berries and vegetables to satisfy your hunger. Now what are you going to do without a plate to put them on and a stove to heat things up?
Pretty soon the couple did multiply. Cain and Able, two sons for Adam and Eve. A thought struck me for the first time. Eve had children. No, obviously I realized that simple fact long ago on my first reading – what I realized this time was just what that meant for her.
Reflecting on my own two pregnancies, I realized quickly how grateful I am to live now. Pregnancy can be a trial in and of itself. Both of mine were long and arduous filled with multiple complications. My husband and I made the hard decision to stop with our two songs, though both of us wanted more. So what made the pregnancies bearable? What kept me from losing my mind while on months of bedrest? Simple! The combination of a fabulous support system consisting of my friends and family along with knowledge. Today, blessings abound for expectant mothers. From biology and family life classes in school to more books than one could count let alone read to doctors. You name it, and you can have it. You know as soon as the test comes out positive about where the rough end will be and you can count down to the day.
What on earth must Eve have thought? I remember the first few weeks before I knew of my pregnant condition. How I remember thinking I had the flu and it just would not go away. Poor Eve! Waking up every morning, sick as a dog and feeling like she might die, and then having to help her husband all day just so they might survive. Soon she might feel the baby within her womb move, which surprises any expectant mother the first time it happens. Months go by and she watches her belly swell, all this time not really knowing just what is going on.
No family life class, no mother to call, no midwives or doctors the night the labour pains hit. Just your husband Adam and a baby coming out a most inconvenient place. We complain about labour now as we sit in our cushy hospital bed with an epidural numbing the pain and a bevy of medical practitioners circling us. At least we aren’t in the wild with Adam screaming, “I don’t know nothing about birthing no babies!”
She did it all with only Adam there to help.
Then came the first year, once more with no help. No kind church lady showing up with a casserole for the new parents, no friend to help when the baby develops colic, no one to explain that the tugging on an ear means infection. No pacifier or battery operated swing or disposable diapers.
This also brought the realization that poor Eve had no one. No mother for advice, no girlfriends for when Adam annoyed her one too many times, nothing.
I find it far too easy to feel alone in my trials. My head knows other people out there went through this very thing, just like me. Convincing my heart of that sometimes takes a little more effort. For example, none of my friends went through having a child with cancer. Believe you me, this makes me very happy. However, I know that I am not truly alone in that particular trial. On average, each school day 46 children’s parents receive the same news I once received. “Your child has cancer.” I sat in that hospital with him, I saw how many other children suffered with their parents by their side. I know all too well, they were there. I still felt at times like I was alone and no one could possibly understand what I felt.
Yet, Eve truly was a woman alone in the things she endured for a number of years. I once heard that women have about 5000 words to say each day while men have only 1000. With no girlfriends to ring on the telephone, I think Adam might have been happy once the children started reaching maturity! Finally, someone else to take up Eve’s attention and her constant talking!
The most awful thing a parent can endure is the loss of a child. Especially a violent loss. Eve led the way there, too. Her one son killer her other. How her heart must have broken. Eve calls to those of her daughters struggling with the trial of a lost child. You are not alone. She also knows the pain of losing a child to the ways of the world. Be strong and turn to Eve.
My walk with Eve gave me much to consider. I am thankful for my time with her. She inspired me in ways that I am only just now beginning to realize. I hope one day I can embody the strength, perseverance, and bravery she taught me. Maybe I can feel better when the gossiping about me starts up, and realize there are far worse things I could deal with. Perhaps I can find a way to make it in a difficult world filled with many temptations and trials.
I am thankful for my modern convenience. Cars, grocery stores, television, books. I feel quite the lazy woman in comparison to Eve. I am also thankful for my mother, and the ability I have to turn to her when I need advice or encouragement. Eve did not have a mother for that. Likewise, I am grateful for the sacrifices my mother made to give me life and raise me. Like Eve, my mother made some hard decisions and her life followed a path she probably didn’t envision in her early days.
Then there are my friendships. How I treasure having friends to share my accomplishments and lift me when I fall! How I look forward to toasting their joyous occasions and hope I can help when things turn dark.
Most of all, I hope that I can make the right choices. Sometimes we get some doozies thrown our way, and we might need to make a hard decision. When the choices are especially unpopular, I pray I can have the strength to handle the negative reaction of those around me. Falling prey to gossip and judging is so easy, we forget what it feels like to be the one people gossip about. Finding myself in that position a little too often, I am still learning how to handle that one.
Maybe these things did not bother Eve. Did not even cross her mind. Or perhaps they did. All the same, they crossed mine and I want to take these things and learn from them. I want to use them to improve myself. I am already learning and growing.
Thank you Eve for leading the way for your countless descendants, including me.
*Tune in next week, where I hope to be posting a little earlier, but am not sure. I was gone all this weekend, so I have a lot of catchup to do! As you can see, it’s very late to be posting this! ((HUGS)) and God bless!*
Originally posted on ladyozma.vox.com