Eve of summer

By: Raymund Fernandez February 21,2017 - 08:43 PM



We hardly remember Eve. She has been relegated to oblivion for having sinned, for partaking of the forbidden fruit, the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, the fruit of the tree of life; for having been driven out of Paradise. Yet she is the mother of us all. She must be forgiven. Otherwise, we would be less than Christian, less than human, even. For what would we be if we would not forgive our own mother? And she had only one recorded sin, really. It was the sin of disobedience.

Isn’t it, after all, the nature of humans to disobey? And we have always known how disobedience is not always a bad thing. Books have been written about it; my favorite one: “Walden and Civil Disobedience,” by Henry David Thoreau.

Children disobey. And then it is up to the father to decide what to do. The traditional way was to belt the disobedient: “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” and so forth. Would it surprise you to know I used to do that? I thought it was working until one day when my children decided they were not going to school no matter what. The female child spoke in behalf of her brother. She said, “You can beat us dead, but we will never do what you want!”

I tried spanking until it began to hurt too much. Soon I began to wonder if it was right for me to break their spirit this way. In the end, it was I who had to change. It was an undeniable surrender. I told them, “Okay, I will never spank you again. But from here on you will have to be responsible for yourselves. If you turn out bad, it will not be my fault. I did my best. Do not forget this day.”

They were only children then. From time to time, I have to remind them of that day. The episode seems to escape their memory. And when we talk about it, our memories often differ in the details. And then we would all have to clarify. Every time we come to a juncture of our lives when they would not do as I wish, I always have to remind them: “You know I would spank you now for disobeying, except that I already promised I would never spank you again. Oh. Have you forgotten already?”

It is a human paradox, a divine mystery, really, as one Jesuit told it: “Were it not for Eve’s sin, we would not have Mary. We would not have Jesus Christ.”

I am not quite certain of the theology. But how do you figure that? As I think of it now, I cannot help but note a necessary inversion in the logic of the biblical narrative. When confronted with a false god, or of men who present themselves falsely as gods, would we not need to remember Eve and her disobedience? Would we not find good cause to think well of Eve and her rebellion?

And it seems we have come to the eve of another fiery hot summer season in human history when rebellion and disobedience seem once again the only right recourse. It is not a localized problem. All over the world now, we are seeing the rise of racism, misogyny, hatred, leading to oppression, fascism and violence. We have come to a season of tyranny and the plain stupidity of leaders. And it might as well be said: We have come to the eve of another age when we have to rise up against a reign of evil. The shifting summer winds move us this way — we remember the motherhood of Eve. We remember the expectant beauty and rightness of not doing as we are told.

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TAGS: children, Civil, disobedience, law, May, policy, rule, Summer

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