Okay, maybe not actual Eden, since the door was closed on that with a bite of an apple, but I’ve been thinking about how things were before that fateful day. What got me thinking about it was watching my youngest grandson, Landry.
Since I’ve been absent on the blog, and really haven’t written about him since he was born (outside of Facebook), let me give you a few stats:
- He’s darling. Obviously. I mean, just look at him!
- He’s almost 16 months old.
- He’s BLONDE. We don’t think he always will be (his brown-haired dad was also blonde as a baby), but it’s such a novelty in the landscape of our family that we are all in a perpetual state of wonder over it. It’s also WILD, with a thousand cow-licks that serve to delight us now, but which will NOT do the same for him later.
- He just started walking in earnest. A typical third child, he’s been very content to let everyone do everything for him, with no real drive to change that. We’ve all been A-OK with it.
- He’s a world-class cuddler, quick to lay his head in the crook of my neck with a little hug and giggle, every time I see him.
- Just like the two that came before, I’m absolutely CRAZY about him.
His other grandmother and I have each been watching him one day a week since his mom went back to work, so we’ve spent some good time together. His last visit, he was still in the walk-a-few-steps-and-fall stage, but we pretty much stay back in my kids’ play room when he’s awake, where he has my full attention. We stay on the floor with the toys all around, and I’ve made it a very safe space for him to try out his new moves. Even still, depending on his center of gravity at any given moment, he can still land hard on a toy, or bump his head on a shelf, and because I’m not a big believer in bubble-wrapping toddlers (since the real world typically doesn’t make allowances for that) there are still some unavoidable hazards he has to learn to navigate.
He’s been very interested, lately, in the little wooden rocker that used to be mine as a child, and I saw him lock eyes on it. Up to now, I’ve redirected him from this bit of forbidden fruit (see what I did there?), but I didn’t this time. I was right there in front of him, and you could tell he was feeling mighty proud of himself, so he was doing the toddler version of showing off. Which meant he overshot his effort and tumped the whole thing over backward. I could see he wasn’t hurt, just startled, so I waited just a minute to see what he would do. He worked himself up into as much of a balanced position as possible, then looked around at me to help. Which I, of course, did, with a hug and kiss thrown into the bargain, and some guidance on how to climb in safely.
What does this have to do with Eden? Well, it was a safe space to grow, and in that space, Adam and Eve were in constant and perfect communion with their Father. I imagine they were not embarrassed to ask questions, or trip and knock their knees on a rock. They lived completely unconcerned about anything but their Father’s presence or His thoughts about them, until the area they were taught to avoid became too irresistible. The thing is, however, that the consequences for them were far higher than tumping over a little rocking chair.
We have the opportunity to live in a version of Eden, even still, right in the midst of our jacked-up world. It’s not perfect, and we have a trillion other voices that try (and succeed) to crowd out the One we need to hear most. But when we choose to draw near and listen, we enter a safe space to grow…a place we don’t need to be embarrassed to ask questions, or mess up. A place where we can be picked up and redirected until the day the gates of the real Eden are opened back up for good.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8 NKJV
He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me. Psalm 18:19 ESV
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelations 21:1-4 ESV