Thursday, April 2, 2009
The Rest of the Family
I won't claim to know what most mothers of preschoolers think about during the day, but I do doubt they spend as much time pondering over the kinds of things I do. Doctors are still trying to figure out what's wrong with me. That being said, I really wish I could sit down with all of you so you could see my expressions and be able to tell when I'm just joking.
Okay, onto my latest thought--Adam and Eve. I've been thinking of them, but not gallivanting about the garden or gnawing on the apple type of way they are usually discussed. I've been thinking instead of them as parents. I've been imagining their response, their shock, and their sadness when they learned one of the their sons killed their other son. What did it do to them to know Cain killed Abel?
See, we do that don't we? Often when we hear of a tragedy or a violent act we think of the victim and the perpetrator. Hardly ever do we think of the rest of the family. Growing up, I had one older sister highlighted in the local newspaper for glamorous reasons, while another older sister made the paper for not so glamorous reasons. Townspeople probably thought about my sisters when they read news of them...but I wonder, did they wonder about my folks at all? Did they think what it might be like to be the parent or sibling in such circumstances?
Why is it that I've never heard any commentary on Adam and Eve as parents? I've been trying to picture their moment of discovery...the reaction to the loss of their son by the hand of their other son. Did they look at each other in that certain way, that knowing way, without words because the pink elephant was quite obviously the apple? Did they immediately blame themselves as so many parents do for the failings and stumbles of their children? What did dinner the next night look like? Did Cain go right to Nod, east of Eden immediately after his "talk" with God. My mind is flooded with questions about this story. I think the heart of it for me is thinking about the rest of the family in the aftermath of a tragic event.
Jodi Picoult explores this in her books, Nineteen Minutes and My Sister's Keeper. I'm also reading as Swede and the rest of her family struggle through this after the shaken event they endured in Peace Like a River. And I have to be honest...it strikes a cord. Has anyone in my family murdered anyone? No. Have there been tragic events? Yes. Being a witness to tragedy changes you...it changed me. And it gives me empathy for the families of both victims and offenders.
Sifting through questions about the story of Cain and Abel also makes me thankful for the messed up people in the Bible. I'm tempted to tidy up what I just wrote, to make it sound less needy for the Bible to be filled with people I can relate to. However, I'm thankful for just that. Because if God loved the messed up people in the Bible, he also loves those in my family and he also loves me.
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