Eve’s World

I hate cancer, and yet must not be full of hate.

I wake too often between 3 and 4 in the morning, even when I try to stay up until 11 or later to be able to sleep all night.  My body does weird things, and aches, and doesn’t let me stay in bed.  My mind is fully alert and anxious to get started with the work of the day, and my heart delights in the early morning hours when I am able to ponder uninterrupted.

Also, there is laundry to do at 4 in the morning:

Eight piles of it, to be exact, for eight people, plus an extra stack of winter clothes that somehow haven’t been pulled yet to be put away until after summer.  That doesn’t count mine and Nathan’s, and that was only from vacation.  It doesn’t count laundry from the last week since we got home!

The children are very responsible, and usually do their own baskets and put them away, but everything was mixed up from our recent trip.

I got it all washed during the week, and sorted this morning, and they will put it away later after they have played.

I watched the sun rise as I studied my scriptures and prayed, with much to ponder.

When I take my little hour long nap afterward, most every day the same routine, the children are sometimes still asleep when I get back up or sometimes Nathan has gotten up with them as they begin to get ready.  The first graders are in a routine they know and can do independently now, with a shower rotation they worked out amongst themselves and getting dressed (with buttons mostly buttoned and shoes almost tied).  We just have to help with physical therapy exercises and stretching.  The preK kids get dressed on their own, but with everything backwards and inside out and mismatched shoes.  It doesn’t bother me, because I know they are trying so hard and always so proud of themselves, and they are learning.  Usually their clothes match, at least, because I hang them up in outfits, but that doesn’t always mean much.

Nathan made us pancakes this morning, and the kids put away their laundry while he cooked.  Then I helped them match the ginormous pile of socks, and we finished just in time to eat.  All that laundry was just from vacation week, though, which is why I did it for them since it was already mixed up.  They do their own laundry normally, so after breakfast they got started on that.  They have their own order, like showers, and each of them have their own basket, and the next one goes soon as the last one has their load moved to the dryer.  That finished up the last of the laundry in time for lunch, and I was grateful all of it was done and put away.

We had leftovers for lunch, keeping it easy and heating that up while the first graders finished homeschool work.  That’s another rotation: the reading aloud of social studies and science pages, while taking turns practicing cursive letters, while rotating the beads to do math (we are adding and carrying, and borrowing and subtracting now), and whoever is waiting gets to work on everything else.  When they are fully homeschooled, or on holidays and summer break, they also take turns at the computer for typing, reading fluency, and math drills. It keeps everyone busy, learning what they need individually, and making playtime earned and fun instead of only bickering from all of them being sick of each other.

When Mary’s laundry was finished, we got her back packed for this week’s trip to deaf school.  I opened her backpack to find all kinds of ribbons she won at the track meet!  I was so proud of her, and bragged on her to Nathan.  We also found her certificate and plaque from being Student of the Month!

I was reading about Eve this morning, and thinking about how differently I perceive her now that I am a mother of sorts.  Since I grew up Protestant, I was taught that Eve was naughty and that Satan tricked her into eating the fruit.  This is one of the many doctrines clarified for me since being baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I am grateful.  The “beguiling” of Eve, as Nehama Aschkenasy wrote in her word study, was not about being tricked, but about overcoming and and enduring and consciously choosing.  She said:

“the original Hebrew word that was translated as beguiled is a rare verb that has rich and connotative meanings. Because it is in a form no longer in use, it is almost impossible to translate.  It is safe to say that it indicates an intense multilevel experience which evokes great emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual trauma…. The use of this word in the Biblical account makes it clear that Eve was motivated by a  complex set of inner drives anchored not only in her physical but also in her intellectual nature. Beguile suggests Eve underwent a deep internal process; she weighed, pondered, and reflected upon the ramifications of partaking of the fruit before she did so.”

~ Nehama Aschkenasy, Woman at the Window: Biblical Tales of Oppression and Escape (Wayne State University Press, 1998), 127.

Further, Vivian McConkie Adams, explains that

“the word saw [in reference to the tree and its fruit] in this verse comes from the Hebrew word ra’ah, which has direct relation and root to the Hebrew word ro’eh, which means seer or vision.”2 Such word play, which is common in Hebrew, suggests that Eve had a prophetic spirit and may have received revelation from God as part of her tutoring in the garden.”

~ Jan. 5, 2010; see also NAS Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries, entries 7200 and 7203.

She didn’t just see the fruit in front of her.  She thought about it, and studied the words Heavenly Father had taught her, and prayed about it.  Maybe she even fasted about it, as that would fit the pattern of study.  Regardless, in response to this praying and pondering she received visions through which she very well understood what she was doing when she chose to eat the fruit, as well as the ramifications: the price she would pay by being banished from the temple space of the Garden, the promise of atonement that would be made, and the progress and posterity only made possible by leaving that womb-garden to fully enter mortality.

Even when mortality means death.   And cancer.

Even when mortality means laundry in early morning hours.

Even when mortality means six hungry birds expecting lunch right after breakfast, and aren’t we having a snack before supper?

Even when mortality means hearing loss, and cerebral palsy, and tricksy airways, and autism.

Even when mortality means trauma, attachment problems, and anxiety so high the child stutters.

Even when mortality means we would too often fail such lofty promises, and so frequently betray the principles upon which we can claim those blessings.Mortality is hard work, but it’s a beautiful thing.

It’s an eternal thing.

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About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Eve’s World — 4 Comments

  1. so, here it is, just before 5 am, and I have been up a while. There is something very enjoyable, private, and empowering about the early morning hours, before others are up.

  2. Loved this post Emily. Your parts about mother Eve made me think of the Temple films so much. And your bracketing the parts about her with the mortal laundry — and Celestial laundry was a lovely touch.
    Thank you for such inspiring writing, as always.