As I read Russill Paul's thoughts this morning on Adam and Eve and the whole Garden of Eden story, I am re-living my “awakening”, which began early 2004, at the age 54.
Until then, I lived in “Eden”, where I thought I knew, I thought I had it, I thought I was whole. I was “innocent”. My eyes were closed. I didn’t see.” Everything was in black and white. I had no choice but the law. I thought I did, but I really didn’t. The way was laid out for me. I did as I was told. I believed what I was told to believe. I took my value and worth from the ideals of my father and my culture. I knew no other way. It was the only home I had ever experienced. It was all I knew. I was innocent. There was no such thing as “unity in diversification”. I was not responsible. God was. I had no choice but to do God’s will (as defined my father and my culture).
Believe it or not, life was simple. It was black and white. The answers were laid out there in front of me, if only I could believe and “just do it”. Just follow the law and do what you're told to do. Believe what you're supposed to believe. Don't ask any questions.
Then the “fall” came. I ate the apple. I ate from the tree of knowledge, and my eyes were opened. All of a sudden my world was no longer black and white, but panoramic color – and I was almost blinded by the diversification. Nothing was simple anymore. The old answers didn’t work anymore. It all started that day I worked that mandala and heard God say, “Quit asking me what I want you to do or to be…It’s your turn now. You decide. What do you want to be? What kind of world do you want to live in? It's up to you.”
All of a sudden, there was an “I”. The choices were in front of me, and I was responsible for that choice. And it was complicated.
“The human being must progress—consciously, through the exercise of personal choice…”
It’s still complicated. I was pondering that just last night with Obama’s decision to issue an executive order regarding illegal immigrants. So many people are so incensed. Yet, it’s not as simple as we’d like to believe. People’s lives are at stake. Hearts are at stake. The lives of innocent children are being held in the balance. We espouse family values, but we’re so willing to rip families apart because they “broke the law”. It’s not that simple. We cannot claim to be so innocent that we don’t see the complexity of the situation.
War and peace are no longer simple. Environmental questions are no longer simple. We can no longer sacrifice the earth to advance civilization, even to feed the hungry with our GMO’s – yet we cannot allow the hungry to starve, neither can civilization stand still. There is no stark dividing line between defending our borders and caring for the least of these our brothers. It’s not as simple as “black and white”. It’s not a matter any longer of saving the life of the unborn, but it’s also about defending her rights to choose what happens in her body and in her life. And it’s a matter of who’s responsible for that unborn child? You? Me? “Not I”, said the fly; “Not I”, said the cat? Then who, pray tell?
Once our eyes are opened, nothing is simple. We have choices, and all of a sudden, we – you and I – are responsible for our choices. All of a sudden, you and I are creating our world.
“The central message of Jesus, ‘Repent, the kingdom of God is at hand” is the invitation to participate in what the Divine intends for humanity, the journey toward consciously chosen unity…we have at times rejected love. To reject love creates pain…”
I didn’t realize when I started writing this that it would become a political statement.
But then, it’s not simple. Nothing is when our eyes are opened and we realize we are being propelled toward a “mature sense of unity in diversification” as lovers of God.
We have a choice. I have a choice. My choice - as imperfectly as I "do" it, is love - love for God and love for the human and the heart. And boy, that makes it complicated!