The myth of the fall of humanity, as relayed early in the Book of Genesis, discloses God’s tender side.
The Lord God created a man by tenderly expressing oxygen and life into his clay lungs and soul. Realizing early that the man would need companionship, God fashioned company for him in the form of a woman. Each for the other, in the manner of companionship.
After a time, the Lord God decided to stroll through the garden during the cool of the day, to walk with them. Three of them, a Genesis tryptic, utopian in its intent, with love and companionship intended to slip casually from one to each of the other two. Trinity.
God’s plan was thwarted when Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They hid from God, and when God confronted them, they obfuscated with lame excuses about nakedness. Vulnerability, of course, and to this day, people are afraid to be vulnerable.
The other day, I was hiking with my two dogs, Bones and Blue, on the Proctor trail near my home in Idaho. The trail climbs 1300 feet, which both the dogs and I love for the physicality and spirituality of it. While I maintain course on the trail, the dogs run off hunting voles and moles and squirrels and such. Bones and Blue keep an arc about me, establishing a perimeter of about 100 yards. We, too, form a trinity, each dependent upon the others as we hike upward, though I am clearly the alpha.
Single-minded Blue will find vermin in holes in the ground, and start mindful digging as part of her hunt. She has yet to capture anything, but her focus is so intense that she forgets to keep moving ahead with our troika. I have to call her back to the trail, back to center.
Bones, too. His olfactory receptors exceed mine by at least ten billion, so he picks-up scents that even God cannot detect. While Blue digs, Bones runs into deep woods to track smells. He is a bird dog, and although I do not hunt, he does, albeit with a poor collection rate. Sometimes nose distractions lead him far afield, and like I do with Bones, I call him back to focus. “Bones, tag!,” I yell, and Bones returns to touch my hand.
I am writing about Bones and Blue because they remind me of – me. I’ve so often treated God as supervisor, but as I grow older, I think of my experience with God more in terms of companionable silence. God guides me back to the path when I’ve strayed too far – so often unwittingly – or calls me over when I get distracted. Sometimes -though not often – I’ve required a thwap on the rump to keep me moving ahead.
This is the thing – I believe God walks in partnership with us, affording us latitude to make choices and walk out our lives with range independence.
God be with me, I pray, as though God could ever be absent. Always present, moving forward, calling me back to center. Walking with me through the garden in the cool of the day.