08.1 What’s the Bible All About… Alone

garden-of-eden-amazing-fresh-green-lanscape-nature-waterfall-wildOne of my favorite stories in the Bible is that of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. There is more wrapped into these couple of chapters at the beginning of Genesis that lay out the true condition of the human heart in its purest sense than anything that I’ve ever encountered. I don’t know what your experience with this story is… whether you’ve been taught that it is a literal historical even… or a metaphorical image of early humanity. I simply want to unpack some of the lessons that I have gleaned from it over the years, and let the chips fall where they may. This isn’t a careful exegete of the text, simply an unfolding of the events that led us from a place of innocence to the often times messy existence we find ourselves in on a daily basis in our relationship with the world around us.

Somewhere deep within the fabric of who we are as people, is a sense that we were created for intimacy… for unguarded connection. We try connect this desire with the people, places and things that we interact with on a daily basis, often times with mixed results.

Before I go any further into this conversation, it is important that I pause first and define a couple things regarding intimacy since I believe it is one of those words that has been saturated with various meanings in our culture.

When I speak of ‘intimacy’, I am referring to the idea that all of us desire to ‘know’ and ‘be known’ in a pure and unguarded way. In the Hebrew language, the word ‘yada’ means, ‘to know’. It is the root word to over 600 other experiential words in Hebrew that cover the whole landscape of our emotions, thoughts, and activities.

Anything or anyone that we say, ‘we know’ can be described in some form of ‘yada’. I know… football. I know… pizza. I know how to bake bread… or build a work bench. There are some areas of life that we know very well… and others… not so much.

To say that you ‘know’ something or someone is basically saying… ‘I got this.’ Now, that may be true. Some people think they know something, when really they are just into the idea of it. Someone may say that they know you… when in reality… they don’t.

To be truly intimate with someone means that we can say, that we know them… and they know us… unguarded… for who we are. You would think that with over 7 billion people on the planet, our odds would be pretty good that we’d be able to land in a relationship with at least one of them that we can say that intimacy flourishes. For many, if not most of us, however… this is not the case. Truth is… we struggle. Intimacy doesn’t seem to come naturally. We are not able to open ourselves completely to another, and find ourselves frustrated when the person or people we are with seem to be very distant from us.

If we are hardwired for this kind of intimacy, why is it so difficult?

I believe the story of Adam and Eve contains some of the gems we need to uncover to understand the reason intimacy often seems, at best, just beyond our reach.

In the beginning… it was all good.

Except for one thing… Adam was alone.

(photo courtesy of http://storytechsystems.com/)

A Matter of Focus

As midnight approached… and we were scanning through the half a dozen channels that our little RCA antenna is able to pick up out here in the middle of nowhere, we were considering what the new year could hold for us.  Of course, there is no way to completely predict the future, but setting your sights in a particular direction is helpful.

When we saw that Miley Cyrus was going to be the ‘good-bye’ to 2013 in anticipation for the ball drop, it served as a reminder of one of the reasons a cable bill is not a high priority.

Fortunately, the local television station out of Central Michigan University was airing a Yo-Yo Ma special… and that proved to be a bit more captivating than the mind numbing performances on ABC… or was it CBS?

By steering the focus of the families attention towards something a bit more cultured, we at least expanded their horizons (for those who sat in the living room with us)… or caused them to stay engaged in each other with the playing of games rather than camped out before the tv (for those who know in their hearts that we are lame).

The ball dropped… we kissed… and hugged… and moved everyone to their sleeping quarters.

A matter of focus…

Amy and I aren’t the worlds greatest go-getters.  Quite the contrary… we are attempting to simplify life as much as possible so that there is more time spent relationally, and less time maintaining functional ‘things’ that clutter and distract.

Such an endeavor requires focus because there is always the potential for one more cell phone notification to go off… another email to check… little quick tasks around the house to get done… another piece of clutter that could potentially become a pile… another piece of busyness that wants to pull us into a frenzy… another project that desires to be more of a priority than what it really is… another television show that is the latest ‘must see’… another opinion from someone living off their own perception about how it is we are living our life…

…and on… and on… and on…

It is a matter of focus to keep the demons of materialism at bay.

It is a matter of focus to keep the first things first… and hopefully the only things…

It is a matter of focus to do less… and to simply just be who we are… no more… no less… finding ourselves the owners of things that money can’t by.

I suppose as human beings, that’s really what we all want.  Maybe that’s what all of the resolutions that have been made in the last 24 hours around the world are really all about.

We try to see things in an upside-down way.  Our kids are telling us that we are so simple, that we are complex.  Shows me that we have some work cut out for us 🙂

So, hopefully this year… if you grace us with your presence on this blog inhabiting a small corner of the Internet… you’ll find the topics being written about being less in their scope.  You’ll find the depth of what is shared reaching places in your emotions that ring true to the parts of life that really matter.

For us… it is things of relationship… gardening… writing… photography… wine… and love.

That is where our focus is set.

May you have a great 2014.  May blessings be ever in your sights.