Thrown Out of Eden

I sat in the floor of an empty balcony of a church.

Growing up as a pastor’s daughter, I learned my way around churches and I savored finding my own “secret” place that I could scamper off to. There is something about an empty room in a church that makes me feel especially connected to God – and for whatever reason, it’s even more the case with empty balconies.

However, it had been awhile since I sat hidden in the balcony. In fact it had been awhile since I sat quietly and calmly in any religious setting. Due to religious manipulation in my past, I do not always feel safe in religious settings. To close my eyes, can feel threatening, as if I am not guarded and open to any vulnerability. But on this day, I tried it – I wanted to authentically encounter the divine.

I had set out to meditate, but all I could consider was the boundaries that stood in my way. I had built so many walls… However, the longer I stayed in that place the more I realized I had put myself in a jail – I couldn’t escape to get where I wanted to go – I couldn’t get to that place of calm, peaceful serenity within myself – I couldn’t get to paradise… to Eden – a paradisal creation of God.

I am of course not the first to not be able to get to Eden as the well known story from Genesis tells us. Adam and Eve were thrown out of Eden after listening to a snake that convinced them to ignore instructions from God.

I didn’t listen to a snake. But I did listen to something outside of me.eden

Those times I experienced hurtful manipulation were times that I listened to something else besides my own voice– something outside of me. I knew deep down the words I heard were not right… and yet I chose to trust that outside voice instead of the light I had inside of me – the light is both my own voice and also the beaconing of truth from the divine.

And thus I allowed myself to be cast out. I got hurt by not trusting that inner light and now it’s hard to even know what the inner light sounds like – it’s hard to trust myself – it’s hard to trust the silence of a church or the words of a prayer – it’s hard to trust that I won’t listen to the snake and let myself get hurt again.

But deep down, Eden is what I long for, and I am determined to break back in.

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