Eve and the Apple or How Does Your Garden Grow?

close up tulip.jpgOh Eve. Why’d ya have to eat that dern ol’ apple? To be fair, she had a craving. As a girl, I can understand. Plus, she was tempted! She didn’t fully understand the consequences. I’ve never heard of a woman being tempted by a piece of fruit, but there wasn’t a chocolate tree back then.  Mmmm, chocolate tree.

AND God didn’t seem to spell it out.  All she had to go on was the word of a snake and her very limited understanding of what it means to be obedient. One little mistake and you’ve got your period for the rest of your life??! Doesn’t seem quite fair. Also! Mankind did not fall until Adam took a bite. I’m totally okay with blaming him. Right, ladies?

Of course, I joke. The situation is much more complex. Adam and Eve walked around with God in the garden, having conversations, getting to know the world God created, growing, learning, communing with God. Naming the animals. Taking care of stuff. Being trained.  Asking when the first chocolate tree might go in?  The first caretakers or gardeners or conservators. However you like. So, it’s not written, but I’m sure they probably had more than one conversation about THE tree. Right? Maybe not. Maybe God pointed out THE tree and said, “Don’t eat that. ‘Kay??” And maybe he only did that one time. Don’t we ask our children, “How many times do I have to tell you??” Once should be enough.

Gall dern it, Eve! You ruined it for all of us. I truly believe that we experience this temptation every bleeding month. We are tempted into leaving the garden by biting into that juicy delicious morsel of self-doubt. It is peppered with other feelings of self-righteousness, ego, pride and wrath. It turns so sour and bitter on our tongue with each hearty mouthful. But once you start chowing down on some ripe slices of self-serving negativity, it’s hard to stop. Impossible even. And we share that generous portion of ugliness with everyone who sits at our table. So our table doesn’t have many guests after a while.

I can imagine Eve grumbling to herself like a regular jerk.  “God doesn’t want me to be smart.  I can be smart.  I can eat this apple.  Why can’t I have some apple? Why would God want me NOT to eat the apple?  Why can’t I be smart, powerful and all-knowing like God?”  With Satan whispering in her ear the whole time, “Yeah, yeah, yeah!”  And we don’t even know what we’re asking for.  You asked for it, Eve.

I do this with my relationships.  Every month.  Blowing. It. Up.

Satan drove that wedge between our families in the first days. This is our curse to battle and be rigid against. But we don’t wage war like this with arms and armor. We fight against ourselves to remain soft and malleable like those first bits of dust God blew breath into.

The garden, in this instance, being our preserved place of grace with our husband. Or family and friends. When I’m not on my period or leading up to that time of the month, I’m an absolute angel. I care for everyone. I don’t mind caring for everyone. I prefer caring for everyone. Then, once-a-dern month, I get downright irascible. Contrary. Irritable. Squirrelly. Vindictive. Hateful. Profane. Bitchy! RESENTFUL!!! UN-friggin’-GRATEFUL!!!!! Wrong. Dead wrong I am. I go kicking through the gates of paradise, right on past all my blessings, shaking my fists on the way out. I go willingly and with spite.

How do I combat this? Oh, God, how do I fight this? I feel it coming every month. I feel those negative feelings welling up inside and I don’t want them. I want your love to spring up inside of me instead. I want to stay in the garden. I don’t want to be separate from you. I don’t want to do this on my own. You know better, God. I see that. Show me how to love my husband. Remind me why I love him. He really is a good man and you’ve given me that. You brought him to me and gave me a reason to love him. You brought us together. Remind me why I’m here. Help me stay here. Help me evict those dark emotions that don’t belong in your garden. Weeds are strong and fast. Once they take root, I’m done for. Don’t let me slip away into sin and wander the desert of loneliness and despair without you or him. Help me find my way through this jungle of emotion, cravings and confusion. I know it’s not the truth and I want what’s true. I want to do life with you, God. I don’t want that forbidden fruit of my selfishness. I want to be humble and peaceful. I can’t do THAT without you.

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