In the beginning God created heaven and earth.
The Earth was void and without form and darkness was on the face of the Earth
God’s spirit moved upon the waters
God said let there be light and there was light
God saw that what he had done was good and God separated light from darkness
It was morning and it was evening, the first day…
I was reminded about the importance of beginning today. It is Earth Day and I know so many of us feel that it is total nonsense. But I began to think about that first line from the Bible. It does not matter whether you believe the Bible was written by the hand of God or by the hand of man. For the important point that is made in Genesis is that it all begins with the Earth. The Bible does not start its story about the dominion of mankind over the Earth or the animals of the Earth. It begins with the creation of the Earth. How everything upon it was lovingly made by the hand of God, that each and every blade of grass is a testament to the beauty and wonder of life. We as human being are charged with its care. We are the last things made in the Garden of Eden and there is a reason for that for we are not supposed to be the usurpers of the Earth’s bounty, but its guardians.
Even if you believe that the Book of Genesis was written by scribes in the court of David or written and rewritten by prophets and rabbis over millennia, does not matter. For the intent is still the same. Ancient man knew and understood what it meant to be a part of the world around you. They knew what it meant to be part of the rhythm of the seasons and the caretaker of the land. It was sacred to them. There is a reverence in those words that so many in our world have forgotten. We rush about our modern lives forgetting who we are and where we come from. We forget to stop and smell the roses and enjoy the beauty of a thunderstorm, the chirp of a new born bird, the song of a cricket seeking a mate, a kitten discovering a ball of string and a human baby learning to walk.
You know that I can still remember collegeman’s face when he discovered that he could stand upright. We were at my parent’s house and he had been “cruising” the furniture for months. It wasn’t a big deal for him, He held on and off he would go. He, then like all 11 month olds, would fall right to his knees and scoot off to his destination. Well my parents had a little dog; she had been abandoned and followed them home one day. A tiny misbegotten animal, which had been sorely mistreated wherever she had been, we knew she was not wanted for there was no collar or tags to identify her by, someone had just thrown her away. Instantly that pup and my mother bonded. (The dog has been gone for years now and my mother still misses her.) Well, collegeman left the safety of my parent’s couch and headed for the bookcases. There was that little dog, all 15 pounds of her right in his way. Collegeman instead of holding on to the bookcase held on to her and lifted himself up. Looked down at her, looked up at us, looked down at her, smiled and patted her on the head, thanking her for the hand-up. He realized that he was now taller than the dog. His smile was immense. He never crawled again.
It was a beginning of a new adventure for collegeman, and a new adventure for me. If I had not learned to run yet, I definitely learned to run at that moment. For he just didn’t walk he ran. Giggling and laughing and raising toddler hell wherever he could. That day the light was turned on for collegeman and it was good.
Later on in life there would be another light that we would need to kindle; a light that illness and evil had tried to extinguish with in my child.But as with everything that he does, collegeman pulled himself up, looked down and thanked in his own way those that helped him up. He thanked those that had given him a hand-up and proceeded to raise some kind of hell. He thanked those who gave him a hand-up by being who he was meant to be.
(I know there is a controversy about saying that autism is evil. But I am sorry, I think it is. I hate autism. I hate it with a passion. I hate autism with every fiber of my being. It is not part of who my children are. It makes it harder for them to be who they were meant to be. I am sorry if this offends, but I do not and never wll think of autism as anything good. It is what causes my chldren so much pain and hurt and trauma that there is no way I will accept it as a blessing. As I have said before I hate autism because I so love my children. Just as I would hate any disease that would rob them of their ability to live life to its fullest.)
Everything is a beginning I think. Everything that we experience for better or worse is an opportunity to turn on a light and separate it from the darkness. Ancient man knew that humans were endowed with this remarkable ability to mold and shape their world. We are given a set of gifts as we enter into the world and it is up to us what we do with it. When we learn to walk do we thank those that helped us up or do we mow down those that get in our way. When we grow do we grow straight and upright or do we sink beneath the darkness and destroy that which is good. What do you do with the gifts that you receive?
Genesis speaks about respecting the world around you. Thanking a little pup came naturally to a toddler; even one we did not know at the time was autistic. Perhaps it is a lesson we all should learn on this Earth Day and try to remember it going forward. We are given a chance to shine with the light. We are given this opportunity to allow the blessings of the Earth to be bestowed upon us. We need to thank the Earth and protect her. We need to remember that we are but temporary custodians of this planet keeping it safe for the next generation and making sure that it is safe and whole and cared for with our whole heart.
The Earth provides us joy, warmth, food, shelter, and sustenance. It provides us beauty by which to rest our souls on days when we think we could go on no further. It is a gift to us. It is how we stand upright to carry on. It is God or Mother Nature’s hand-up to a weary parent dealing with overwhelming issues and burdens. The irony is that we think our problems are so different than the burdens of generations or civilizations that came before. But they really are not. All people throughout the ages wanted a good life. All people throughout the ages wanted happy and healthy children. All people wanted to love and be loved. All people throughout the ages wanted the freedom to be who they were meant to be. But the one thing that they, ancient man, did that I fear we do not do enough, is stop and see what is around us and marvel at Earth’s glory and its wonder. So while we tackle our day to day existence and go about our world in our so very modern society, with our very modern problems, I hope that you head the words of the prophets, or God, or Mother Nature and listen to the wind.
But don’t forget to turn off the light when you leave a room, it is Earth Day after all and unwarranted electricity can eat up energy and fuel unnecessarily. Turning off the lights will also lower your electric bill.
Until next time,