I have the teenagers go downtown to grab a sandwich, and I sit in the house alone for a whole half hour, liberated of earbuds that I sometimes use to manage the bursts of cacophony when they’re here. I light a candle, the last bit of “Illinois,” a scent curiously determined by a company called “Homesick,” my bare feet up on the couch. I am set now.
This is a moment of decision–a decision processed in front of you, with these words, and not shared only after distillation. I know what I want to say, and I am in the process, with you, in discovering it.
Here is the day in my life where I write, or endeavor to write, without self-consciousness. Without guardedness. Without second-guessing. What if I wrote, I wonder, from a place of feeling enough and good, free and wild? What if, instead of thinking through how this piece of writing will be received before I share it, I just trust the words that want to come, listen to the deeper beating of this one heart?
I think that would be today. So I begin here, with hope, for I have spent the past week thinking about my life without God. (Now, that’s a surprising juxtaposition, I know.) Specifically, I have been considering how, if I were Eve (and I am) I would do the exact same thing as she did: let myself be deceived because I believe I want more than what I have. Like more is good for me, like the more I have isn’t enough.
I’ve lived most of my life that way–which, is, really, not really living. And if I had done this exercise of writing these words a week prior, or a week prior to that–contemplating my shame and confusion at being separated from God due to my sin–I would have surely self-destructed, disintegrated into self-pity and the condemnation that comes from not loving who I am, wishing I were something more.
But, while I let myself feel the shame and confusion that comes from imagining the first sin of the angels, and then Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden–contemplating the sin legacy I’ve inherited–I also ground myself in God’s love. This allows me to feel the desolation of sin and then, the consolation of God’s love. How else could I continue to stand?
For it is a fight, isn’t it, to be loved? It is a fight to keep believing you are loved. It is a miraculous Christmas morning kind of gift, the kind when you don’t catch your parents in the middle of the night on Christmas eve putting together the Barbie motor home, sticking on the tiny stickers to make mirrors and bookshelves. It is the kind of gift that surprises you with its goodness because you realize how much you don’t deserve it but you accept it all the same. Because you are desperate for it, in the best possible way.
I am realizing the deliciousness of desperation. It is so good to be desperate to be loved. To picture yourself without God. To imagine the legacy of the first sin–the angels at war, given full ability to choose God’s love or not, and some saying heck, no.
That is the legacy I live, and the legacy of Eve–my sister who was given everything, all of God’s companionship–authority to rule a kingdom, make decisions, be free and cared for and then listen to the lies of Satan that told her: she needed more.
I can believe that so often–that I need more. The kind of more that makes me feel powerful. The kind of more that makes me feel indestructible, immutable, unable to be damaged or hurt. It is lonely here, I have learned, to ache for validation, to look everywhere, in the form of relationships and recognition and acclaim to try to prove one silly point: I am not quite as broken as I feel I am. When, actually, being broken is just the best place to be.
And I say yes to it–from my couch in my living room, alone and quiet for exactly twenty minutes until the house is rumbling again and the dog continues its rolling snore at my feet. And I notice the sparkle of noontime, the light on the flowers, the absence of smoke in the sky, the texture of the scraggly beard of the guy on the sidewalk, he and his dog on a suburban-style adventure this propitious October day.
I am a disaster without God, and I love that I need him the way I do. It is not a weakness; it is not a flaw that needs to be corrected. He lets me choose Him. And in that freedom, I take a step, this moment, in appreciating the legacy of love. Yours and mine.
For the Loop Poetry Project, write a poem that responds to your contemplation of Eve. Consider what she was given, who she was. Let your imagination show you, in visuals, the Garden of Eden. What was it like there? How did Eve feel before or during or after the fall? How are you like her or not like her? How are you letting yourself be loved right now, in this moment? Is that love enough? Is it lacking? What is your heart longing to speak? Please share your poem here, in the comments below, or with the lovely community of Loop Poetry Project.