By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published July 11, 2019
There are times when I’d really like a word with Adam and Eve.
“Yo, see these mosquito bites?” I’d ask them. “And the poison ivy in my yard? And the stinging wasps and the little caterpillars that have chomped through the rose bushes?
And have you looked at the headlines lately? Terrorist attacks, murders, betrayals between spouses, the rocketing divorce rate? Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and don’t forget flesh-eating bacteria?”
I picture them looking at me inquisitively: “So what’s all that got to do with us?”
“Everything,” I’d shout back, “every single thing! Because you both screwed up in that beautiful, gorgeous, peaceful, mosquito-free, poison-ivy free garden, this is what the rest of us are stuck with!
We also have viruses and cancer and too many terrible diseases to name—and we all face death. You guys had it all, including immortality!”
They’d stand there silently. What could they say? They know they sinned and were thrown out of the garden into a world where roses have thorns, brother kills brother and women suffer during childbirth.
They could talk with God in the coolness of the day, eat delicious fruit from so many trees, swim in streams—and without bathing suits! They didn’t have to worry about diseases, wrinkles, old age and obesity.
Eve didn’t have to shop the bathing suit sales and stand there in front of the mirror in the dressing room, thinking, “Gee, maybe I should just join the convent.”
We all have a taste of Eden in our childhoods when we walk happily through a thicket that might have poison ivy and dance in the rain even when there’s lightning—until our parents shout at us to stop.
Little kids don’t care how the bathing suit looks, until years later when the family photos get passed around. They say whatever they’re thinking without editing it, cry when they’re sad and laugh when things are funny.
I had a glimpse of the Garden of Eden in summertime, when I kicked off my shoes and walked barefoot through the crunchy grass on our Miami lawn.
My sister and I would turn on the sprinklers and jump through them with great joy, until we heard the distant jingle of the ice-cream truck. Then we’d race inside, get money from our mother and hurry to meet it, returning with our prized Fudgsicles.
Our Miami yard was lush with banana palms, mango and Key lime trees, plus thickets of flowers like orange hibiscus and fat, perfumed gardenias. We had lizards that could magically change colors and little frogs that serenaded each other at dusk.
Summer was a time to lounge at the nearby pool, where we’d bake ourselves in the sun, since no one had invented sunblock yet. We’d read magazines and eat Almond Joy bars and then plunge once again into the icy water, where we instantly turned into turtles.
On weekends we headed to the beach with our parents, and while they sat on the shore, we became mysterious creatures that dwelled in the sea.
It never occurred to me to thank God for the everyday wonders of summer that made life so sweet. In that way, I guess I was like Adam and Eve, who had everything but failed to be grateful and wanted even more.
Maybe if they’d realized how blessed they were, they would’ve by-passed the forbidden fruit, and they could’ve been happy and free in paradise forever. Just like children, devouring Popsicles, eating Almond Joy bars and dashing through the sprinklers—on a summer day that never ends.