April 13, 2010

Maybe It's Me: Adam and Eve, or, What Makes Life Difficult

The easiest part about life is living it.

Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, sleeping, breathing, blinking, talking, and thinking – these are not difficult things. When you really break it down, there is absolutely nothing exceptionally grueling about simply existing.

The surrounding elements are relatively unobtrusive as well. Trees don’t judge you, a starfish doesn’t interfere with your choices, and snow will never think malicious thoughts about you. You’ll never get advice from a daffodil, a cloud will never tell you you’re pretty, and the wind won’t hold you when you’re scared.

As a matter of fact, the surrounding elements are really good at one thing: being invariable. The sun, for example, is a consistent and faithful friend. You can count on it implicitly. Because every day it will rise. And every night it will set. It’s been doing this forever with or without you. And in all reality your very being will never change that fact. Whether you’re happy or sad, eating or starving, here or there – the sun will rise. The sun will set.

It gets dark because the sun goes down, water turns to ice when it gets below freezing, grass is green because of chlorophyll . . . and you have nothing to do with this.

That is what makes life so wonderful: everything has its place. Everything makes sense. Everything has a reason.

And yet, despite that inalterable truth, sometimes life is hard.

But if the sun isn’t at fault and merely existing isn’t to blame, than what makes living so difficult?

The answer is simple: people.

They are the best thing about life.

And the worst thing about life.

I think about Creation and wonder what God thought after He created Adam. Here’s this man living by himself, relatively unaffected by his surroundings since his only purpose in life is to tend God’s already perfect Garden. There probably isn’t much to do except enjoy the constantly blooming flowers and the deliciously ripe fruits. Adam probably spent his days seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, sleeping, breathing, blinking, and thinking.

The sun rose. And the sun set.

And Adam existed.

Nothing about this is difficult.

But how boring it all must have been!

Adam just went through the motions of living – everything about him was action-oriented. He saw. He ate. He breathed. He thought. Nothing there is emotionally-driven.

I think God realized how drab this all was, so He created a lady friend named Eve.

Suddenly Adam had someone to interact with. His actions – touching, smelling, talking – were being counteracted by someone doing the same. And they fed off one another’s reactions. Suddenly there was emotionally-driven interaction happening, where two people’s thoughts, and feelings, and wants, and needs were being influenced by an outside party.

He picked her a flower because she made his heart skip a beat. She saved him the best tomatoes because she knew it would make him happy. They stayed up all night talking and giggling because they were falling in love.

But then things got real complicated real fast.

Eve got talked into doing something naughty. Not wanting to be the only miscreant, she became conniving and manipulative and talked Adam into it as well. And then they got in trouble. And then blame and disappointment, sadness and brokenness all happened.

Do you think perfect, sinless Adam, if he had his choice, would’ve preferred if Eve never showed up and ruined his reclusive, paradisiacal party?

People are the worst thing that happened to us.

People are the best thing that happened to us.

Maybe it’s me, but although I belong to it, I certainly don’t understand the human race. What makes us so much more difficult then everything else in the world is that we don’t make sense. We do things for no reason. We make decisions that can either infect or uplift the people around us; we make choices that echo in our lives and other lives and lives beyond our own, like a ripple in a pond.

Mankind is a poison.

Unlike trees, we judge; unlike starfish, we interfere; unlike snow, we think maliciously.

We, by nature, are destructive: to ourselves and our loved ones, to our hopes and our dreams, to the innocent surroundings we fool heartedly claim as our own. It is astonishing how carelessly and consistently we break each other’s hearts. Sometimes it’s intentional, but frequently it isn’t. Causing sadness, doubt, loneliness, fear, contempt, jealousy, and anger in other people is inevitable. We are not perfect creatures.

And yet, mankind is also the antidote.

Unlike daffodils, we offer a shoulder to lean on. Unlike the clouds, we encourage each other with kind words. And unlike the wind we have arms to embrace each other in all times of need.

Of the many glorious things we are capable of, love is the most incredible of all. People help mend other people’s brokenness out of love all from a single word, a single touch, a single moment. Despite my dislike of mankind, there are people who continue to amaze me. People who shine their brightest color day in and day out despite any and all circumstances that should dull those brilliant hues. People with nothing to give who radiate with abundant generosity; the sick and weak who are alive more than the rest of us with unparalleled positivity; and, the genuine hearts with no agenda who know you at your best, but more importantly at your worst, and love you unconditionally (even though you fail them time and time again, and don’t deserve it).

After all, we don’t make sense.

Despite the fact that she encouraged him to ruin his perfect thing, no, I don’t think Adam would’ve preferred if Eve never showed up. We are happy when people come in to our lives; these same people who give us joy, bring us pain – that’s unavoidable. Adam needed his Eve.

Life may be easy with just the sunrise and the sunset as our friends, but it’s a lot less boring when we have people to share it, destroy it, and fix it with.