“Eve, I can’t believe that you could mean what you just said” (Thanks, Karen Carpenter)
There once was a time when everything that happened could be condensed into one short story. That time didn’t last for long, as you can imagine. Was it only a nanosecond long? Perhaps. Maybe it was even shorter than that!
In any case, and eventually, the story would expand. Characters, and more characters would be introduced. A plot of some nature would form. A dilemma would develop. If-then scenarios would shape up. These latter elements were not noticeable at the very beginning of the story of “What Was”.
This brief description is what happens in life, doesn’t it. Think of the entire life of a child who has, up until this moment, lived only 12-18 hours outside of mother’s womb – independent existence. It would be a pretty “short” story, wouldn’t it? But, as the child adds days, weeks, months, years, and decades, the story expands. New people are introduced, some being relatives, siblings, friends, neighbors, classmates, etc.. Challenges enter the story. And, then even more complicated challenges populate the narrative. New decisions are made, new conflicts arise, new sorrows strike as the story unfolds in a variety of nuances.
But, the story began without all those additions that came with time. Reading the initial draft of the story of an 18 hour old infant might be interesting, depending on the detail provided. I can imagine that the medical narrative of the first 18 hours of human life could fascinate some folk (if they could even understand it!!).
But, our individual stories take time to develop. We all know that, don’t we?
We also know, by this point in our life, that the story of our lives is a combination of convoluted situations along side of un-convoluted decisions we make, or perhaps un-convoluted decisions that others have made for us. Because of this scenario, well written biographies fascinate us. Truly, fact can be more fascinating that fiction.
Allow me now to transition.
The paragraphs above were running around my mind, just shortly ago. Earlier today, I was listening to Karen Carpenter sing the song “Eve”. Karen’s brother, Richard Carpenter, later explained that he and John Bettis, in 1969, composed “Eve” after watching an episode of a British suspense anthology. In the story, a fellow becomes enamored with a female mannequin, who in turn is to be destroyed with other discarded mannequins. The mannequin is Eve.
While listening to the song, several times, I was not aware of the back story provided by Richard Carpenter. My mind, while listening, went back to the Biblical story of Eve, who was not a mannequin, but the first named woman in the Bible. Eve, along with Adam, were the human protagonists in the Creation Narrative as provided in the Biblical book of Genesis.
Now, I invite you to take a moment and listen to Eve, as sung by Karen Carpenter. (click here ) Here are the lyrics:
Eve, I can’t believe that you could mean what you just said
Think of what you are; how very far you are from being real.
Look into the mirror, nothing there to see.
Eve, I can’t believe you’d really leave him.
Notice how her image saddens, how lonely she’s become
Just once I’d like to see her happy before the winter comes.
Eve, I wouldn’t lie; the open sky is not your home
Wide as it may be, reality is here among the stones.
Thorns among the roses add to what is real.
Eve, you are a rose among the thorns here.
I wish her only good times before the winter comes.
Eve, and Adam, are presented in the Creation story as having no childhood experiences. They had not learned anything from anyone else until they learned things from each other and from God. In the case of Adam, he entered history as entirely innocent and unaccompanied. Eve’s entry was slightly different; her environment included a person who was already in the process of learning about life. They, then, learned from their own experiences, the experiences of each other, and from what God communicated to them. Their companion was God Himself.
At some point, Eve decided to embrace the words and “description of reality” from someone other than God and Adam. This “someone” is defined as The Serpent, commonly known as Satan. Eve, by eating fruit that God had prohibited, expressed a newly embraced belief that someone other than God knew what was “best”, what was “most advantageous”, what was “most productive”, what was “most fitting and adequate” for human existence. In her acquiescence to Satan’s temptation, Eve walked away from her created reality of communion with the Creator God. And, rather than live as defined by God and His loving presence, she ended up with loneliness. Adam was then faced with a choice – Eve or God. He chose the former. For Adam, companionship with Eve trumped companionship with God. He ate the fruit that God had prohibited. He broke the only rule they had!!
I can appreciate the sentiment of the vocalists (Karen Carpenter), “I’d like to see her happy before the winter comes. . . . Eve, you are a rose, now living with thorns. I wish her well, but the winter is coming.!!!”
The music is hauntingly beautiful. The lyrics are provocatively warning the listener that our decisions have consequences. (Well written stories don’t have to be long. . . although some are.)
God, by nature, is good. We, by nature, aren’t, until we are created again. Thanks be to the Lord Jesus for making possible our re-creation.
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