A former Lutheran pastor sharing thoughts on faith and life. Please join the conversation! I love your comments!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Eve: The Mother of All Worry?

I have been thinking about Eve lately.  Eve from the creation story, first woman and all that. It seems to me Eve often gets blamed a bit unjustly.  Sure, she disobeyed God but she also got talked into it by a theological discussion with a snake.  I have had theological discussions with snakes before.  It is a little harsh to call these people snakes.  But you know the kind of discussion I mean: the agenda is preset, the outcome is set in stone before hand, nothing you say can change the course of the discussion, you are doomed if you don't convert to their way of thinking.  You might just eat that apple so the snake will shut up and go away.  I doubt Eve's snake would have given up easily either.

So, I think we tend to be a little hard on Eve.  Yet recently I began to wonder if a little more blame could be cast at her feet.  I wonder if the fact that it was she who first ate the apple could have something to do with a problem many women face: worrying.  I know men worry sometimes too, but worrying seems to be something the majority of women have down to an art.   Could this have something to do with that first bite of fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?  It seems like most of my worrying comes from knowing good and evil: treasuring my children, family, etc. and thinking of all the things that could harm the people I love.  Would I give up knowing the good, feeling that love to the depths of my being, in order to avoid worrying about the bad?  I don't think so.

I wonder what would have happened if Adam and Eve had not eaten from that tree.  Would they have remained ignorant?  We don't know.  Perhaps God would have taught them and passed on the  knowledge over time.  Maybe part of Eve's sin was unwillingness to let God work in God's own time and way.  I know that part of my worrying has to do with control. Many of the things I worry about are out of my control.  I can't keep my kids from getting sick.  I can't prevent traffic accidents from happening.  The only thing I can do about those things is worry.  In some twisted way I think this gives me a teensy bit of an illusion of control.  Sure I can pray too, but at three o'clock in the morning when all the horrible possibilities are swirling around in my head my prayers are reduced to little more than begging, "Please, please, please don't let that happen."

Don't tell me "let go and let God." Life has smacked us all in the nose enough times to make that sound just as helpful as "quit worrying".  As though I am doing it on purpose and could stop whenever I want to.  There is plenty of heartache and tragedy in this world, plenty to worry about.  I believe that God is a loving God and someday we will see how all of this life makes sense.  Right now since we are living in the thorns it is understandable that we can not see the beauty of the rose.  I worry about those thorns.  I guess I could blame Eve or the snake.  I am pretty good at blaming God.

Or maybe worrying is just part of living life with deep emotions and an active imagination.  I don't think I want to give up either of those things.  Maybe next time I am lying awake I can acknowledge that worrying is a side effect of who I am, take some deep breaths and wait for the panic to pass.  I am sure it won't be long before I have a chance to try it out.  Perhaps that is the result of a gift passed on from Eve but it is certainly part of the gift of being me.

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