Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"I Want it Like it was Back Then, I Want to be in Eden"

Something I do occasionally is watch nerdy videos on Youtube.

I have watched a bunch of Dr.Phil shows, BBC documentaries on eating disorders and the Wesboro Baptist Church, as well as a bunch on healthy living and weight loss.  Recently I got really into TED Talks.  The other day I was watching one and they were talking about the history of food in America, which is really interesting.  So often, like with all things, we take for granted what we have and don't always think about the way that things used to be.

But in this video it talked about how food used to be just local farms or what you grew in your own garden.  I mean, I feel like this is somewhat common sense, but so often we miss what this really means.  This means that you couldn't just go to the grocery store and get broccoli whenever you wanted.  It would have to be from your garden, or a town store, and it would have to be when broccoli was in season.  And because of the limited transportation, food really was local.  That is why it was so special for people to receive an orange from Florida for Christmas in New York... because you never got oranges and it was super rare, tasty, and special.  With the development of air travel and our highway system, the transportation of food is no longer an issue.  And with things like pesticides and genetically modified seeds and ways of farming, it is easier to grow fruits and vegetables when they aren't naturally in season.  That is why the idea of getting an apple or an orange in your Christmas stocking isn't so alluring these days.

Yesterday, I was driving in my car and eating an apple.  I was thinking about how much I like apples and how I take them for granted.  They're sweet and delicious, but they're often the last thing that I want.

With that apple in my hand, I started thinking about the book of Genesis in the Bible.  More specifically, the creation story and the events that took place thereafter.  The fruit we normally think about Eve tempting Adam with is an apple.  And then I got this new image of this story in my head.

Adam and Eve were the first people on Earth, and God gave them this amazing Garden, Eden.  I imagine this garden being filled with trees of apples and peaches, bushes full of berries, and rows upon rows of weedless corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and watermelons.  The garden of Eden... not just the orchard like we normally picture it being in children's storybooks.

So here are these two people, Adam and Eve.  They're the first people on Earth.

Now really think about this for a second.  That means a lot of firsts... and awkward ones too.  Like the first time to need to go to the bathroom?  Or to walk?  Ever think of what it might have been like the first time they discovered milk came out of goats and cows?  And that they could drink it?  Or that they could kill, cook, and eat animals?  What about their first moments on earth when they started to feel hunger?

Imagine how overwhelmed Adam and Eve were in that garden.  Their stomachs were growling, but they didn't know what it was like to eat.  Their lips had never tasted what milk or berries or any fruit, regardless if it was forbidden or not, tasted like.

I can imagine being completely overwhelmed.  So much to the point where I imagine them standing at the edge of this garden, not knowing where to begin.  Not knowing which foods taste like what, or how to make them taste good, or anything.  Not knowing the difference between a tomato and a banana.  All they would know is that this god who had created them told them not to eat from one particular tree in the middle of the garden, but they could eat from any other tree.

But that tree, the one in the middle of the garden, looks so good!  And they don't know where to start!  Everything looks so good, but so scary at the same time.  And they were hungry.  Everything is new.  There is no knowledge of what could taste like what.

So here comes this serpent, just one of the many animals in the garden (On a side note.... could animals talk at this time?  Was it super weird for this serpent to be talking or was that normal?).  And the serpent says to go ahead and eat from the tree that your creator told you not to.  They had been told not to, but they had no knowledge of good nor evil.  But here they are given direction.  Someone, or something, is telling them what to eat, not just what not to.

So they drive in and eat the fruit from the forbidden tree, woman first and then man.  They are hungry and scared and clueless.

Maybe my indulgence in that apple didn't give me an answer to questions of the fall, or whether or not we should blame that on women or not (no... but that's the feminist in me), but it did give me somewhat of a new perspective.  Hunger is something that all people are prone to, rich or poor, gay or straight, white or black or brown.  Everyone knows what it is like to be hungry: whether that is just before a meal, or for a prolonged period of time....  Hunger knows no boundaries.

While I have no direct conclusions, I can learn to have empathy and to think of the story of a fall in a new way.  A way that exudes grace and love and my own humanity.  A way that makes me think not just of the damnation of man because of the lack of trust in God by two, but a way that teaches me that my own trust in God must go further than hunger, pain, and confusion.

I'm glad driving and eating an apple could show me that.

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