I am here.
Those words? Perhaps the most powerful words in the English language.
I am here.
They are more powerful, I am learning, than “I love you.” They may just be more fundamental to who we are than ideas of home, or even of mother, and father. I suspect it is written into our deepest history.
I think that this is what the story of Adam and Eve is about. We began with this connection to our maker, to each other, and to ourselves. At that time, we could truthfully and fully say, “I am here.” We were naked and unashamed. We entered into the created world in this attempt to name things, to understand it. It was all good.
There is something different about the interaction at the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I suspect that the knowledge offered by this tree is something inferior to the learning that was happening elsewhere in the garden. Suddenly there is this hair-splitting and debate, going on. They are no longer in that moment, present. In their imagination they are comparing a future where they have eaten the fruit with a future where they have not eaten the fruit. To do this, in their memories, they are thinking about what the past has been like.
There are so many ways to not be here. There are so many forms of absence. So many ways to fail to be present.
I think ‘being here’ must mean a lot of things. I just barely have words for some of them. At the minimum, being here means stepping back into the present. There is so much of me that lives in the past, and this part of me projects that past into my future. I am so rarely experiencing what is happening now with fresh eyes. I am so often putting happenings in these little boxes, “This is how it happened before, this must be how it will happen again.”
This is my goal today. To experience some of those brief little moments, that stretch out on their sides into eternity. I think they are echoes of the life we lived before we ate the fruit.