Social Distancing Day 6--Ejection from the Garden of Eden
Never in my life have I ever identified with Adam and Eve more. I started reading through the Bible this week because I need more Bible in my life right now. The reading started with Genesis. When I read through Adam and Eve being removed from Eden, tears rolled down my cheeks.
A week ago, my family moved from the community where my husband and I grew up and lived all our lives to an area where we know very few people. I’d been looking forward to meeting our new neighbors and getting involved in the community. Then the WHO declared a pandemic the day our moving truck arrived.
In addition to being physically isolated from the people we know and love, our world is changing around us every day. I’ll say what most of us don’t want to admit, we’re never going back to the way things were even three weeks ago let alone three months ago. The economic fallout of this will last longer than the pandemic. And when my fear bubbles out of the box I built for it, I wonder what kind of world we’ll be left with.
Let me be clear, we weren’t living in Eden. Our lives weren’t perfect. We had worries and fear and anxiety, but in the rear view mirror it all looks pretty sweet. Can you imagine Adam and Eve standing outside the garden, regret, fear, sorrow and shame rolling down their faces?
The Bible doesn’t say they grieved, but I can’t imagine how they couldn’t have grieved. They hid themselves from God out of shame. Their choices first separated them from God, then from everything they knew. Life got a whole lot harder. They had to start over with everything.
A guest on a podcast I listened to last week said, “You can’t heal what you don’t feel.” That hit me. Ya’ll we’re going to have to give ourselves permission, time and space to grieve. I’m a pro at stuffing my feelings waaaayyyy down deep. I’ve caught myself through the last week spending a lot more time on social media than usual. It’s a way to connect with people, yes, but it’s also a way to distract myself from my true feelings. And in a lot of ways, I’m filling myself up with what the world says in a time when I should be consuming all the scripture I can manage.
Just like Adam and Eve sin has gotten us where we are. I cannot point my finger at anyone but myself for this one. Over the last few months, God has given my family crystal clear directions about where we were physically supposed to be, and I replied, “sounds great, but can we hit pause on that until school’s out?” Then I went on my merry way as though He agreed to my plan.
I can’t take on the entire burden for a global pandemic, but I can’t deny my part in the sinfulness of disobedience that has led to our ouster from a time of abundance and relative peace. The crazy part is, I’m still reconciling myself to the fact that even if this situation resolves itself today, I can’t go back to where I was.
I wonder if Adam and Eve felt that same hard realization? Although God granted them mercy, He crafted clothes for them and after they left the garden He granted them children and family, but no matter how much forgiveness God gave them, they could never go back.
The good news is God is still on His throne. He’s not surprised or caught off guard by our current situation. I believe, He will give us blessings, even in the midst of moving us from comfort into pain. He will forgive us if we humbly bring our sinfulness to Him and ask. And He will heal us. Maybe not all at once. Maybe not the way we’d hoped. But He will offer us healing.
Adam and Eve survived being removed from Eden, and yes, even thrived in their new environment. We’ll survive and thrive again too, but we can’t rush through the confession and healing to get there.