The pace has been steady. The reading has been light. The meditation afterwards has been illuminating and new questions abound. Sometimes answers are received and sometimes they are not but, the process this third time through is beautifully different.
This time, the content is thick with true meaning. Perhaps it is because I am full of contemplative thoughts, have space to receive new information, or I am just open to what may come from the experience.
I read my Bible from cover-to-cover the first time when I moved to Iowa for a job opportunity. I was away from everything familiar and everyone I knew. To some, this would be scary. I am “some”. I am also the person who saw it as a chance to feel out the pieces of me I had been too sheltered to explore or urged to tuck away because they made others uncomfortable. I took that time to read one of the first agreements I made without investigating. I read my Bible. (If you have not read Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements”, here’s a down and dirty recap about the agreements we all have made and how to better assess our actions in relationship to agreements moving forward.)
I was raised Christian. I never questioned why or what that meant. I never asked what being Christian required, what I was agreeing to be like, or how I was agreeing to behave. I simply did not ask.
I went to a Baptist church with my mother and an African Methodist Episcopal church with my grandmother from time to time. We said grace before dinner, prayed before bed, and I was always happy to walk in the processional from my pew to the offering plate on Sundays with a one dollar bill in hand. I mean why else put on a dress, itchy stockings, and patent leather Mary Janes if not to demonstrate how the dress skirt twirls when you turn the corner. Little girls have a flair for the pretty and dramatic. I am one of those “little girls”.
But again I say, I never questioned nor was I curious about the faith of being Christian. I would have to live some life before then. I would have to experience happiness and sadness, love and heartbreak (God, forgive me for high school, college, and a few years post-college), trust and betrayal, success and failure over and over again(Just check my resume for this one) before I started to ask questions that made the Bible more than required reading. I needed to experience these parts of life before the Bible became holy to me; before Jesus became an exploration in self-control and complete submission; before Eve became a complex being worthy of shame and admiration; and before I could see the women in the Bible for myself, the ones who only appeared in one scripture of one chapter in one book, the ones who appeared without a name just a title or description, and the ones whose sons were named but somehow they were omitted. “Eve After Eden: Part II” gifted me this sight.
In this second part of “Eve After Eden”, I remain in awe of the women who have shared the moments that pushed them to the other side, to the unexplored end, or to the outside of someone else’s Eden.
- Kaye has been my mentor since she rejected me as a career buddy almost 20 years ago. Eight years after that rejection, we met again. She was a new supervisor and I was… guarded, shall I say. Today, she is the person I most resemble when it comes to career track, personal temperament and tolerance of bullshittery. So, when she told me all the good and bad she endured, I understood. When she said, “I think me saying over and over again, ‘This is too much. This is too hard’… You get to a point where you’re exhausted and you’re tired and you just say ‘I don’t want to anymore’.” I got it all too well. I had lived a similar but not identical experience of it all being too much and too hard for too long. In fact, for me, it was the impetus of “Eve After Eden”!
- When Joy spoke to me about the loss of her mother in the calmest of resolves, I was mesmerized. I have not lived her experience.
- When Erica spoke to me about the found urge to travel, give back, and balance both sides of her life, I was appreciative. I had not lived her experience.
- And when Selah spoke to me about learning spirituality by different names when we were supposed to be talking about a Costa Rican excursion, I was… I. Just. Was. I had not lived her experience. There are some found gems that must be held and admired for their truth and their beauty. They were unearthed for a purpose filled reason that may come to light immediately or in due time.
Through the stories of these flawed yet fabulous women, I hope to continue sharing the found gems in every life. As beautiful as they are, a form of displacement occurred to unearth them. The women of “Eve After Eden” share what displacement felt like; what it looked like. Their stories are life experiences that do not need public validation. Like Eve, their stories are a mix of shame and admiration muddled with fulfilling the necessities of life.
This is my work. Connecting with women of all kinds, sharing their stories so you, the reader, never have to worry or wonder if you are in your moment, your trial, your success, your failure, your love, your heartbreak, your joy, your sadness, or your “after Eden” experience alone. You are not. We are all with you. We are all learning and living and becoming right along with you.
Until we meet again, thank you for reading “Eve After Eden”.
P.S. Part III is already on deck! Get ready for four new women with four new stories.