The Other Apple

by elizabethbrantley

A remarkable thing happened to me today. As I was driving this afternoon, I saw a women and her small, 3 year-old child walking towards a liquor store. Instead of my usual thoughts, judgments and sadness at seeing such a scene, I was captivated and enthralled, bursting with love for both of these people. This love wasn’t a condescending type of love. It wasn’t a love that said, “Oh, may you feel love, so that you aren’t driven to drink”. It wasn’t a love that said, “I am judging you and I know that’s not good.  I will cover it up and send you love, hoping this love will transform you so you conform to my standards.”

It was just awe-filled, wonderous love.

I reveled in this feeling and in this connection with Life. Suddenly, I saw everything very broadly, I couldn’t help but smile and be absorbed by a sense of greatest. This feeling was so wonderful and fun that I immediately began to examine why I didn’t feel this way more often. What was the barrier to this type of living? What was I missing?

Often when these types of questions are posed to Life the answer seeps its way into our consciousness, unannounced to us. In this instance, Kelly Clarkson began singing her new song on the radio, where she claims, “just because I’m alone, doesn’t mean I’m lonely” and goes on to sing about how a “failed” relationship has made her stronger. Then I knew my own barrier. I was feasting on my “right” and “wrong”, my labels, my judgments. Each time I did this, I was separating just a bit more from Life.

I quickly realized this moment was so remarkable because  it was beyond my consistent way of classifying things as “good” and “bad”. It was a moment beyond labels. It was true love, the love of Life.

Often we are taught “right from wrong” by our culture. I have come to the conclusion that Life comes from a very different place than I have been raised. All the distinguishing and separating in my mind I have done every day is not practiced in Life’s culture. Life doesn’t have the judgments, it simply is. It recognizes itself in everything.  It loves endlessly and continuously and dares not classify “good” versus “bad”.

I grew up in a culture that chided Eve and welcomed in two facts directly contrary to the culture of Life. My culture said there is “good” and there is “evil”  and the knowing between the two is your inheritance and greatest need. My culture was one that taught us that we have been banished from the “good, easy” life and, most importantly, an intimate relationship with God.

So, not judging my culture to be right or wrong, I propose a revision. Having thought about this for some time, I have found that this story of the Garden of Eden is not the story I would like to live by. While I understand it is quite bold to propose such a revision to the genesis of our thinking and understanding, I believe it is our natural right to have the ability to choose the stories we live by.

My new myth is the story of the disenamored Eve who gets mad – really mad – with God. She says it’s all ridiculous, that this is crazy, and that yes, she made a “mistake”, but she is ready to not have this weight of a mistake on her shoulders. “No one wants to be scarred for life because of one mistake! And no one should be!”

Through her anger, her piercing screams, her tears, her opposition, her kicking and punching, she absolutely cracks up and loses herself completely.  Then suddenly, clarity descends upon her.  She sees and remembers what really happened thousands of years ago in her old home, the Garden. She sees that she was the one hiding after the mistake of eating the apple. She sees that God was still seeking her out. She sees that it was her choice to decide that being naked was “wrong”. She sees she was the only one separating herself from Him.

In the blink of an eye, Eve is suddenly surrounded by Eden. Even more wonderful than she remembered is this magnificent garden, with its smells of luscious fruit and its sound of life teeming through every green shoot. She hears the birds, whose song is so distinct and smooth each note is like oil being dripped into a gentle stream. She is home.

Then, amidst her awe, a table is magically put in front of her.

“Go ahead,” she hears God whisper to her, as the lover she once knew him to be. “I made this, too, for you. It’s from the Tree of Life, and you just told me that it is what you were seeking. Eat it. May it become you.”

The moment her teeth broke the skin of the fruit the flavor overtook her mouth.  She was released instantly from the bondage of “knowing” right from wrong, good from evil. All see saw, tasted, felt and remembered was newly classified. It was all Life. There had not been one “bad” time. There had not been one “wrong” thing. While she still felt the pain from certain memories or thoughts, pain was no longer “bad”. It hurt just as much, but was accepted as part of Life. As was the joy, the hope, the excitement, the wonder, the sadness and the peace she felt, too. Nothing fit again into their classifications of “good” or “bad”, yet everything held the golden thread of the Divine.  Everything was fully accepted. Everything was God.

This is the new myth I choose to live by. This is the fruit I choose to eat. This is the place I choose to live.