Friday, September 6, 2013

Paradise Lost: Story of My Life Lately

When asked recently why I wanted to take a one semester 3.0 credit class on Milton, I said it's because I'm fascinated by the Fall of Adam and Eve. That's not true. Or at least it's not the whole truth. The whole and honest truth why I'm so fascinated with the Fall is that I totally relate to it.

I've been home from a Mormon Mission for about 4 months now and I've never felt so sorry for Adam and Eve in my life! There's this amazing high of being involved every minute in the noblest work of all -- helping people and standing up for their rights. You feel Christ with you every second and wear His name and represent Him. We recited "Our Purpose" every morning. Who else in the world can do that? I have no purpose now! At least none published in printable format...

I know that lifestyle is totally not sustainable, but I still couldn't help but feel I'd kind of fallen from Grace coming back home. There is always a lot of talk about adjusting back to a "normal lifestyle," but the longer I'm home, the surer I am that things will never be "normal" again. I see things so much more clearly now, I have more points of reference. I feel like, on a small level, I get Eve. I mean, what is her path supposed to be like? How is she supposed to "adjust"? You can't settle into a world that's going to keep you on your toes.

I wasn't really expecting to feel this way, but I honestly can't say that because it's rough it's not something that can't propel me into success in the future. I feel so blessed. Aside from the fact that I now speak Chinese, I totally know how companions feel when they're dropped off for good by the Doctor.


  1. I do think that the Fall is archetypal, in that it is a kind of primary condition for us and not just a story or an historical reality. I think most of life is a series of falls -- morally or otherwise. I think it will be interesting to see Adam and Eve in terms of change. Glad you can relate, and I'm sure your concept of the Fall will develop even further as we explore Paradise Lost. Chinese? How cool is that!

  2. I think that feeling is something that just about everyone experiences but which few really talk about. I remember getting home from Ukraine and feeling like no one understood and no one really cared, and people just kind of stared at me if ever I breathed a word of it. I think with time, though, you begin to realize more and more what Annie Dillard expressed in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: "The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there." I think involves not only being there--being in those places and situations where grace can attend to us--but being consciously there as well--noticing and recording the experiences so they don't get lost in the ho-hum of everyday life.

  3. I feel you there! Makes you really think about their experience leaving the garden. I wrote a paper in a Pearl of Great Price class a few years back comparing my post mission experience to that of Adam and Eve. Post mission can seem like quite the lone and dreary wilderness right?

    1. Jonathan, I hope you'll have a chance to bring that paper up again as we explore the story of Adam and Eve later.