I’m going through old files and papers because my Google cloud storage is getting to the point where I may need to pay for an upgrade, and I say “no thanks” to that. It’s great to get rid of things I no longer need (so long, philosophy homework). It’s also fun to read through assignments long forgotten, such as the one I’m sharing with you today. This is a creative writing piece I did for my first-semester class on the book of Genesis, taught by the fabulous Dr. Jenny Matheny.
No, I am not adding to Scripture here. Don’t worry. You’re not going to be struck with a bolt of lightning as you read. I am interacting with Scripture in this piece. You can, too. God invites us into a dialogue. God wants us to respond to the words on the page. That’s how we learn and grow.
I am old now, living in a world that I still struggle to recognize, because I remember what it was like before. Before the questions. Before I reached out and grabbed what was not mine to take. Before the taste that was at first sweet, but quickly turned to ash in my mouth.
The fire dies down in the hearth. I rise and stir the embers, looking around the room as I do. The man God made, the man whose life is so inextricably linked to mine, snores on the pallet, a new lamb snuggled next to him. The animals, they too seem to have a memory of what it was like before, but often only at night, when the darkness that never used to frighten me descends and drives us all indoors.
I sit again, back against the cool mud-brick wall. I pick up the end of the long silver braid that hangs over my shoulder, the color a stark contrast against my brown tunic. When exactly my hair began to change, I don’t know. Too busy with surviving to notice.
Adam rolls over, sighing heavily. He looks different now, too. His hair is also silver. He’s not as strong as he once was. Years of toil have worn him down, and yet he continues on, driven by the need to create the before in the now. He can’t. I know he can’t. He knows he can’t. Still, the desire remains.
The corners of my mouth lift a little, drawn up by the memory of our first meeting. Creator had declared that it was not good for Adam to be alone. While he slept, Creator made me. When I opened my eyes, I saw the face of Creator, and knew that I had been carefully, lovingly, shaped as a gift not just for the creature who slumbered nearby, but for the whole of the earth. I knew that my task was to partner with the creature in caring for all that Creator had masterfully put together.
I looked at him, curled up beneath a tree. He was like me, yet different. My body was small and round. His was long and lean. He had prickles of hair on his face, like a shadow, while mine was smooth. I moved a little closer to him, curious. I lay my hand on top of his, intrigued by the sense of strangeness tucked within the feel of familiarity.
The first sound I ever made was to cry out when he jolted awake at my touch. Not in fear. That would come later. After the juice of the fruit and the death of my son. This shout was one of surprise.
My surprise was mirrored in his expression. At first, his eyes were wide, taking me in. I met his gaze with no shame. He seemed to like that, for soon those same eyes crinkled at the corners as he smiled.
“This is now bone of my bones,” he said, voice deep as the sound of rolling thunder, “and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
He didn’t ask me if I wanted to be called “woman,” but that was all right. My name was part of his. My very self complemented him. We were a team, a unit, incomplete without each other. He took my hand, gazing at it for a moment as it slid neatly into his own. We stood, and he began to show me around.
The garden. Colors and sounds, a riot of beauty before me. The feel of fur on my skin as Adam introduced me to the first animal, one he called Dog. Dog bowed, front legs pressing down upon the grass, tail wagging excitedly. We were instantly best friends.
Dog’s descendant, Little Dog, rises from her place near the door and comes to sit next to me. Her spotted fur catches my tears. She doesn’t mind. She knows the pain, too. Sometimes she cries in the night, her howl begging for the promised Redeemer to come.
My memories turn to prayer, the kind of silent, broken communication that replaced the warmth of face-to-face intimacy.
Creator, will You make right again what we have destroyed?
My eyes are no longer allowed to take in Creator’s face, but I believe Creator hears me. The ache in my heart does not disappear and the memories do not fade, but I am able to breathe deeply. This, I think, is grace, and grace is like the scent of roses in the air as Sun dips and Moon rises. Untouchable, but real.
Little Dog, child of Mother Dog, licks my hand. I smile and scratch her ears. In this grace, I, Eve, the woman, will sleep.
GRACE AND PEACE ALONG THE WAY,
Image Courtesy of Simone Dalmeri