I am presently in a writing class at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Today we had ten minutes to “free write” based on a prompt. I wrote an anecdote from my childhood. My writing group adored it. So, I opted to post it here. May it awaken your imagination and your hope for Eden. Eden is a real picture of blissful union with God: chatting, walking in the breath of the day, nurturing creation, and co-reigning with Him. Jesus made the reality of Eden attainable to us. We can stroll in unbroken communion with our Creator and King. God longs for us to do so: to dream with Him, to create with Him, and to transform the world with Him. This partnership is the fruit of love. It will bring heaven and Eden to earth.
Eden. It’s one of my favorite words. I love the sound of the long “e’s” – it seems to connote the very evergreen nature of that original garden of promise. Growing up, my backyard was quite Eden-esque. There were eight fruits that grew in our yard: apricots, grapefruit, oranges, apples, figs, plums, grapes, and, of course, the strawberry patch tucked next to the house. To my wide blue eyes, this made the place all-the-more fantastical, a veritable Wonderland of supply and self-sustenance. Adding possibility to possibility, there was also a two story playhouse which my dad and grandpa built for me.
That play house was my house in the sky, a spacesuit to my imagination, and my very own first home. There were cupboards, counters, a mini-kitchen, and stairs leading to a tiny upstairs bedroom with a wooden bed only a child could fit into. And then there was the balcony. The balcony came off of the bedroom. And it was so close to my parents’ own balcony which came from their bedroom; a seven year old’s legs could easily span the distance. That distance was the gap between a reality my mom designated and a reality I designated. The one I designated was much more inventive.
And so, while my mom was usually occupied in the kitchen downstairs, I would make my escape from normalcy. I would pop downstairs to let my mom know I would be “reading.” Then I would read for 30 seconds in my bedroom, trying to substantiate my claim to be “reading”; and soon I would be quietly tip-toeing through my parents’ bedroom, out to their balcony, and from their balcony to my little playhouse balcony. From there anything might happen.
Sometimes I would stay in my playhouse, I’d curl up in the tiny bed just before a thunderstorm hit. My house, the chitty-chitty-bang-bang of houses, would instantly transform into a boat. I would rescue people from foreign lands and pull them to safety. At times, the bottom floor would begin to flood! In these moments I was left with no other option than to walk on the counter and even stand on top of the front door of the house as I pivoted that open door using my hands on the ceiling. (Good thing those hinges were strong.) Those were dangerous times. Being seven and knowing that the future of the whole world rests on whether you can get a green bowl of your last earthly provisions from the kitchen table without touching the floor, is very demanding (at first). Yet the thanks of entire people groups and animal families was always worth the risk.
Risk. I thrived on risk. I would create it perpetually: life and death scenarios, streams of hot lava, small children (and even babies) stranded on miniscule sinking islands. Nothing ever stopped me. When a fleck of hot lava burned my forearm, I pressed on. When a lightning bolt split my life raft in half, I kept going. When all the other humans and animals around me gave up hope, I hope-d still. That playhouse encased in Eden was my place of peace. There I established the reality. There I knew I was significant, able to save lives and transform the world. There, I created. Like God created physical somethings from nothings, I created somethings in my mind. Anything was possible. And I knew God was there with me, enjoying my creation and communing with me about our similarities. I was learning how to govern my own Eden. Next to the playhouse’s front door was a sidewalk, the sidewalk was marked with my handprints. “1983” and my hands. I was four years old when I sunk my powerful hands into the ready wet cement. I was learning how to leave my mark. And how to dream things into reality. I’m still learning. I still live in a world where the sidewalks are made of wet cement and the houses are expectant for my hope to give them purpose. I’m thankful I learned how to save lives so many years ago, standing on my playhouse’s front door, reigning over Eden.