EDEN-APPLE-HEART: My Eden (Part 1 of 3)

Brandon Heath is my favorite male musician. Hands down. Dude never ceases to amaze me. His most recent Leaving Eden album hit me square between the eyes of my wandering soul and hasn’t let me go. I wrote about said album and my wandering nature in one of my first posts as a Revelife intern this past spring. You should go check it out.

Or, you know, don’t. I’ll never know either way.

Heath recently challenged fans to write about their “Eden,” “Apple,” and “Heart” moments. Upon hearing his challenge my heart leapt with joy like one of those ten leaping lords, because aside from a general love for Eden, my church just started going through the entire Bible and we’re studying Creation at the moment. Sweetacular timing, if you ask me.

Thanks for asking.

So. Eden-Apple-Heart. Over the next couple weeks I’ll be blogging about each one of those concepts. First up, Eden: that last blissful moment of perceived innocence. I’ll let Mr. Heath elaborate:

I sorta get into this on my six nifty words blog intro page, but I basically liken my first 12 years of life with Eden. Sure I knew about “struggle” and “the fall” in a broad Christianese knowledge-based sense, but I didn’t start experiencing life’s cruel, agonizing, post-Eden realities until my parents organized a family meeting and said we might be moving 800 miles away from home. And then we did.

Oh the tears.

I have countless specific Edenesque moments from those first 12 years, but one immediately comes to mind. I recall countless biking adventures with my younger brother and sister to the Methodist church down the street. I know, I know — Pentecostal would’ve been much more epic.

On countless afternoons and weekends we’d simply ride our bikes to the church’s huge empty parking lot and spend hours there. We’d bike around the expansive lot, yes, but often we’d just lay our bikes aside and escape into our own fantastical little worlds together.

And the awesomeness of our adventure would only be magnified a hundredfold when our cousin could come over for an afternoon.

But alas. Those days are gone, and my innocence has since been long lost.

I see parallels between my life and Adam and Eve’s after they were forced from Eden. Since leaving Pennsylvania at 12, I’ve wandered from northeast Georgia to southeast Georgia, from an intense summer studying abroad at Oxford University to an incredible summer ministering with YouthWorks in Milwaukee (have you heard?).

More recently my wanderings have carried me to southern California. I’ll spend next summer working in another camp setting somewhere in this vast country, and I may very well wander to a brand new living locale once the summer sets.

Eden’s gone. It’ll be back someday, and I see it looming far in the distance, a mere speck on an arduous landscape filled with mountains, valleys, deserts, and chasms.

Someday. Someday I’ll get back; we’ll get back.

Brandon Heath post: My Eden

Until then, I’m glad for my own special Eden growing up in Pennsylvania. Remembering it makes me smile; will never forget.

And so I close, asking: what’s your Eden? What’s that transcending moment when your life was perfect, carefree, and innocent? A moment before sin, struggle, and heartache?

I’d really love to hear your story, and can’t wait to unravel the rest of this three-part series in the coming weeks.

  • What a beautiful post and idea to share. My Eden was the summers I spent every year as a child in Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee, at the home of my grandparents — my mother’s parents. My two younger brothers and I would wade in the creek that ribboned below their house, catch minnows rigged with a safety pin and biscuit dough at the end of a willow switch, run through grandpa’s cornfield, or walk down the hilly road into the center of that small town to buy jawbreakers or bubble gum. The smell of biscuits from grandma’s kitchen, the sound of the radio as grandpa listened to a baseball game or the Grand Ole Opry. It was beautiful in the hills of Tennessee. Quiet and simple, the nights filled with the chorus of critters, my grandparents and parents sitting in rockers on the front porch talking about nothing in particular. But their voices and that time made me feel safe and loved. That was my Eden.

    • tmz

      That’s basically the most picturesque image I’ve ever seen. Wow, sounds amazing. You had me at biscuits!

  • Christina

    My Eden was Summer time growing up in S, California. It was great! my brother, cousins and I lived in the water. (although we had to come out periodically to eat…) And beach time with friends was tradition, walking to the rocks, swimming, skim-boarding etc,etc. Biking was also one of the things my brother and cousin did, we would have so much fun “exploring” the neighborhood as if no one had ever been there before! Then at the end of the summer my family would always go camping before school started, those times were the most perfect in my life.
    I think my Eden ended when my grandfather died, after that I grew up, but that was not the end. My 14 year old cousin died and Illness and death of my family/friends seemed to come in waves then have never really stopped, it’s part of life it seems, but I wish I could have stayed a child a little bit longer. When you are young you want nothing but to grow up, and it seems that when you are almost 23 all you want to be is 11, swimming with your siblings and cousins in a world that IS simple.
    I am looking forward to getting back to Eden some day, that is one of the greatest promises God cam give!

    • tmz

      Growing up I always wished I lived close to the water somewhere. Sounds like some incredible activities and bonding times there. Sorry to hear about the death and illness you’ve experienced since Eden. But you’re right — we’ll get back there someday. What a day it will be. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

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