The scale of darkness and light is a continuum whose edges extends beyond the horizon. So long as we are anchored to a point, we will never see what extends beyond the horizon. From here we can’t even know what might be available to us at another point. In order to even grasp that we have to reposition ourselves to a new horizon. We have to move away from the point where we are located to experience another point on this continuum. We have to create relativity. We don’t know if the new experience will be good or bad. We just know it will be different.
My friend Damien once told me this story about Adam and Eve. It weirdly upended my view of pretty much everything. If I am to believe that everything happens for a reason, then I would have to believe that the entire reason for my friendship with Damien was for him to stop by my house one day for no apparent reason and tell me this story.
So Damien stops by and we start rapping about my impending wedding and I am struggling a little thinking about who should officiate this. I mentioned to him that I am annoyed with sexism in Christianity which brings us off on a tangent about sexism in the bible.
Damien looks at me kind of incredulously and says, “like what?”
I look at Damien with matched incredulity and say “are you fucking kidding me?”
Damien says “no.”
So, I says “Oooook homie, what about Adam and Eve…I’d say that’s pretty much the beginning.”
Damien says “Ok, you tell me the story of Adam and Eve”
“Ok,” I say “Eve is created from Adams Rib (which somehow indebts her and all women after to him and all men after), then she eats the forbidden fruit, gets humans banned from the garden of Eden and is blamed for the pain and suffering.
At this point Damien looks genuinely befuddled and maybe just a little sad.
He says “you don’t get it at all”
For what its worth, this is not a phrase that gets said to me often.
He goes on:
“Adam was all alone. In paradise. He had no direction, he had nothing to do. It was like a boundless solitary confinement.
So, God does him a solid and make Eve.
God tells them ‘listen, if you want to stay in this beautiful garden of grace and perfection forever, be my guest. However, you cannot eat fruit from tree of knowledge, doing so will make it impossible for you to stay here and will experience mortality and suffering.’
So they avoid the tree of the forbidden fruit. Until Eve doesn’t. Eve is smart, she knows that this limited existence is not going to work.
Surely Adam is pissed about this, he is a GUY! He has it made! This is awesome!
But Eve, is a woman. She wants more. Ignorance isn’t enough for her, so she convinces him to take the leap and bite the apple. And thank god, she did! What is the point of paradise if you don’t know struggle? What is the value of immortality if you have no idea of mortality.”
My catholic mind was blown.
Throughout my entire life, this story represented shame and humiliation. This story, as it was told to me was designed to make me believe that I as a descendant of Eve have a debt to pay for the reckless disobedience that was inherently my nature.
All it took to eliminate the constant thought bubble of original sin that plagued my existence as a female was to hear this story from a different perspective. To find another point of reference.
The story didn’t really change, but I did and now the story has fully emerged from the shadows and is in fact quite bright.
It changed how I saw women, how I saw myself, how I saw suffering.
My evaluation of Eve eating the apple changed drastically from a woman being seduced by a snake into committing a very dark and dangerous act that caused the suffering of all humans to a new view of the role of women as the people who are the bravest and most willing to seek out new perspectives and greater understanding.
It made me think that Eve and all women after her were embued with a special quality and tolerance for suffering uniquely qualified for leadership.
I had to see myself that way too.
I don’t know if I believe that everything happens for a reason.
I find it more likely that we direct our destiny more than we realize.
In any case, I think the entire reason for my relationship with Damien was for me to hear this story.