East of Eden

No one is a born story-teller. With words, in translations, there was such a long learning curve that cut into you. In words and borders and getting across time, with power and dominion and in BONDS which came from stories. East of Eden

To be moved. To be touched. The ease factor. The water in the faucet, or knowing the work involved once upon a time in simply getting water.

Did you ever consider the ease factor and sex. For Abraham. With Hagar. Or the ease factor for Adam?

Labor and delivery. The ease factor and the affect on women. Perhaps with an ease in birth control there was an appreciation for life lost. Born in the past fifty years when “the pill” was so readily available, was there a lost self-appreciation in birth control, as a result of the ease? Or a lost appreciation of women? When life is too easy, everyone loses an appreciation of the sacredness of life. Even women.

The witness of cancer. When all good prayer is accompanied by fear which can add to your quite personal interior life. When you lived in a new century when “national security” – The National Security Agency – was the new god, with everything centered around “national security.” And so the Fear of the Lord in the story is replaced by the fear of the NSA, since a family history of cancer in history could not be ignored.

Wants and need. The inner feeling which can add to your quite personal interior life that you want something more? For Sarah. With Hagar, as desire becomes obsessive. Cheating, to overcome the waiting, with all the unease. The human restlessness in the story … for something to happen in my life.

Such personal fear, in the name of “national security.” Cheating, in looking for an ease, no matter the foundation document of the U S Constitution. As everything centered around “national security.” After the fears of the Cold War were replaced by the fear of Muslims and the unknown. As the Fear of the Lord in the story about Muslims is replaced by the fear of the NSA.

And so the story of Eve. The waiting in the story, for something to happen. When there was so little movement in the Garden. Until Eve arrived. With her restlessness. With her need to be moved, to be touched, as in all of these stories. So how had Eve been marked with a sign of unease?

To be “better.” Cheating to be better, because the world revolved around you. Or cheating because of some innate fear – born into goodness, yet not feeling so good. Cheating, in looking for an ease, concerning this inner spirit to be “better” — perhaps like Adam, if not more God-like? Cheating to maintain goodness, or find goodness? Because without the inner restlessness of Eve, without the movement in the story, this would either be the end of humankind, or a very boring story.

“And maybe Adam will love me as much as he loves God,” said Eve to the serpent. About Apple, or the fruit.

If it is true that sin has an allure which takes hold when desire becomes obsessive, which happen to those who obsess even over religion, over spouses, or if not over “faith”? Or those who obsess over “national security”. And the new forbidden? Don’t eat the apple.

Noting the desire for an ease, and the ease factor, when desire becomes obsessive. Noting her desire to be touched, when Eve was not present in the story for the naming of the animals, what could you learn about Eve from the story of Noah?

In stories about nothing but beginnings and endings, when it is the end for the rest of humankind, what did the marking — acts of distinguishing one thing from another — mean, when it is the end? Noah and his wife, enforcing abstinence among the animals, while keeping everyone separate. When the present becomes the past, that end was the threat to the present. (As marked by a circumcised male, or in the later new religion, a baptized one?) Noah, called to keep everyone separate, before the mix of this new Creation. The land in the story. When the land was the main character, with God hovering over the water? Time and place and land, but forgetting what happened in the formation of the land in the story? Before more of the fragmentations.

Marked. To be separate. Marked by the cleaving commandment, as human. There was something exciting within when you came across a great epic. “In fashioning ‘woman,’ writes Larry Gillick, “God gave the man a closeness to himself, but just not quite, and this form of separation or distinctiveness would form the framework for the real meaning of human love; a revelation of God’s love, but not a substitute or replacement for that love.”

Note a heaviness of a woman’s fertility, when compared to the lightness of a man’s, as the conflict in the story takes in the land, in the need to to belong. And soon the banishment, of no longer belonging here, with a new fear over being abandoned …. by Adam, if not God?

Writes Larry Gillick, “I pause to insert a quotation meant to stimulate, confuse, and accept. ‘There is not a woman in the world, the possession of whom, is as precious as that of the truths which she reveals to us by causing us to suffer.’”

To be moved by unease, as something grips you. A restlessness. With the fragmentation in the carrying-on, after. Eve’s discovery was that not only was she somehow holy, but that her fertility was. From the ease of Adam mixed with the unease of Eve, the story continues with a second Creation which seemed to be based upon God’s unease with His own creation.

With her restlessness. With her need to be moved, Eve and her descendants. What could you learn about Eve from the story of Cain? What was the carry-over? To be marked like Cain, or over time like Noah’s wife, who were both somehow holy, as people in need of forgiveness, in these stories about nothing but beginnings and endings. As a father, a mother tried to leave a mark of holiness on you — like in the story of Abraham and Isaac, much like the story in the Qoran of Ibraham and Ishmael.

“Security,” for the insecure? Could you palpate the tension is in these stories, as God is perceived to be a threat, or the excitement when his God becomes MY God? Was Eve already feeling the inner fragmentation to come, like what Abraham had to contend with over his two sons, or Isaac with his two sons – or like what would one day soon come between Cain and Abel? The not so silent resentment, more like an inner hostility which came out of “the pride” in somehow knowing God, which one day in the future led to conflict? There was the deep emotion in this story as the inside world threatened the culture of the outside world.

Despite the new ease for every woman on earth who felt the pride in fertility, with all the different levels of the ease factor, from all the pain of childbirth comes the inner feeling which can add to your quite personal interior life, from the time in your life when you wanted something more. The pain so intense that you somehow never forget – that nothing ever comes easy? Except maybe for Adam.


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  1. paperlessworld on

    Editor’s note: This portion of a Kerry Cronin essay is reprinted without permission from “Intimacy and Relationships in Catholic Life,” the Spring 2014 issue of C21 Resources, published by the Church in the 21st Century Center at Boston College. Obtain the 38-page glossy, magazine-style publication with 17 essays by various authors by visiting http://www.bc.edu/c21.

    “About 10 years ago I started to sense a genuine loneliness among the otherwise bright, involved, connected and accomplished students at Boston College. As I found myself asking young adults about dating and relationships in a hookup culture, the one thing I heard that saddened me more than whether they were having casual sex, when asked about their lives – not just their academic lives but their personal, moral and spiritual lives – was how little sex and sexual intimacy mattered to them. Many think that sex is “no big deal,” while displaying a belief that sex will ever amount to all that much.” –Kerry Cronin

    So these mostly Catholic students caught within the outside world, born when their inside world was challenged by the coldness of technology, in a technology of sex.

    In the new brutal Cold War, there is the seen and the unseen. And if you came out of a Catholic school, during a sexual abuse crisis, when your spiritual leaders were demanded to sacrifice sex in their own life, what view did you get? About sex? On a Jesuit campus, after what has been revealed in Boston over the past decade, deeply ambivalent about any significant meaning connected to sex, how could this generation feel a depth to any relationship?

    In the Midwest, children of alumni of Jesuit universities say that they wanted no part of Catholic higher education. Chosen people, without their ethnic belief that brought them to these shores. Living in a paperlessworld, when the ethnic clan separated, who needed fertility? Who needs kids? Who needs a spouse? Who needed me?

    This is the new diaspora, facing this generation. When you tried to leave something behind. Such attitudes about Image and Likeness reflected a certain secular view of Creation. And when this is my view, than there is with less and less ego-strength, more and more fear. Between insiders and outsiders.

    Sui generis. Pay attention to what young adults of this SUI GENERIS generation were saying and doing. Note how little sex and sexual intimacy really mattered to them, from evidence in their own families, in the lives of their friends, in a sexualized culture which came from media.

    “If the books we are reading, the shared compulsive reading, do not shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? We ought read only books that bite and sting. Books that can make us happy …. good God, we’d be just as happy if we had no books at all,” wrote Franz Kafka

    There was this low-level grinding which was replacing intimacy, as the mechanical world went digital and took so many invisibly with it.

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