Genesis 3:13 of the Bible says, “Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
So … FYI … Eve is so not my favorite chic in the Bible. Not even close. In Genesis 3:16, after God had figured out Eve ate the dreaded apple, he determined a portion of her (our) punishment: “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth.” I am able to recall just how much Eve isn’t my favorite the first day of a particular day each month when this verse runs through my head as I simultaneously reach for the Advil. I’ll admit, childbirth wasn’t exactly easy, but thankfully, God softened the sentence a little by allowing epidurals into the world. The thing is, I don’t blame God … I blame Eve!
She was given one rule – one! I’ll admit that curiosity is powerful and temptation is no treat, but ONE tiny rule? And about not eating FRUIT!?! Fruit! Not chocolate, not cheesecake, fruit for God’s sake (no pun intended). Seriously sister … put down the apple and call it a day! UGH!
The thing is, that I don’t think cramps or contractions were the greatest pains from her fall. Those things are temporary, fleeting; they pass. Vanity doesn’t. It was only after Eve fell from grace that she realized she was “naked.” It was only then that she felt exposed, vulnerable and insecure … three words most people (men and women alike) have experienced numerous times in their lives I’m betting. Again, I blame Eve.
I find it incredibly interesting that the New Oxford Dictionary has two definitions for the term vanity. One: “excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance” and two: “the quality of being worthless or futile.” What a paradox, that on one hand it explains a fascination with beauty, and on the other a sense of inferiority. I do not think this is consequence.
I am a girl. I am a girl and thus, I love beautiful things: beautiful words, beautiful sites, beautiful dreams. It is in our nature, I think, to see beauty … to gladly admire it for what it is. When we are young, we notice lovely things everywhere, and call attention to them. My daughter already does this. She sees the sparkle in a diamond, the way some dresses twirl, and how blue brings out her eyes. She is five. She is beautiful – everyone tells her so; and she believes them, for now. But I know the day is coming, you know too, because my guess is, I’m not alone, and that day already came for you. The day you “bit the apple” … the day you saw yourself through the warped mirror of the world, and felt those three words. Exposed. Vulnerable. Insecure. And suddenly we were no longer those children noticing what beautiful was – we were critics, noticing what it wasn’t.
Without even consciously deciding, we all fall like Eve, and deceive ourselves into thinking that who we were created to be “as is,” just isn’t enough without a cover. We go from: willing embraces to arms-crossed, eyes-wide-open to suspicious glances, broad smiles to guarded grins – barricading ourselves from the chance to really let someone in for the fear that then we’ll have to deal with being really seen. The fairy tales know it … Snow White bit the apple, Sleeping Beauty couldn’t resist the curiosity of a spindle, and Cinderella lost her cover with a shoe. Fact or fiction, we all stumble, but while their stories were fixed by the kiss of a prince, ours were solved with the death of a king.
I get that Eve screwed up (and sort of screwed us over in the process) but God loved her better than her failure. And he loved us enough to send someone better than prince charming to show us that true beauty, is sacrifice.
So I may not like every line in my reflection, and I may never drop the inhibitions I inherited from that first fall, but really, it’s all a matter of perspective. They say, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,” but I think God would change that to, “Beauty is in the eyes of He who holds her.”
In her book Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman wrote, “The sky is already purple; the first few stars have appeared, as if someone had thrown a handful of silver across the edge of the world.” You are the silver; you are the stars.
Let yourself be held.