Chasing Eden

Spring break is nearly over, and we have spent the last few days recovering from our trip to Egypt. Me, from a nasty upper respiratory infection and a mountain of laundry, and the kids from a serious case of re-entry boredom. This leads them to do things like ‘play fight’ which inevitably ends with one sibling really fighting and the other sibling in tears, or to developing a sudden love for practicing the piano but only before 9am or when I need to make a phone call. To say that I am craving a little quiet is an understatement, however not the kind of quiet that is preceded by a loud huff and a stomp out of the room. Apparently, this is how certain tween members of our family are affected by re-entry blues.

My boy called our trip a breakthrough for the family, a revelation if you will. We tend to take lots of city breaks which involve, in little people terms, old stuff, walking, museums, and more old stuff. Not exactly top of the must-do list for the under-18 crowd. In Egypt, we spent the majority of our time at a resort on the Red Sea swimming, snorkeling and enjoying time together as a family. This was made infinitely more enjoyable by the addition of a heated pool, a few lounge chairs, and a midday mojito.

We spent a few days in the sea, snorkeling off a dock in clear, shallow reef waters. That glimpse, that tiny cove of color was such a revelation into the imagination of a God who created such beauty for His own pleasure, knowing there are worlds below that we will never set eyes on. One afternoon, we slipped into the water and were immediately surrounded by hundreds of neon purple jellyfish. I won’t lie. There was some screaming and flashbacks to the scene in Finding Nemo when Dory and Marlin are trapped and repeatedly stung in a cloud of jellyfish. We were assured they were harmless and once back on the dock, we lay on our stomachs, hot sun on our backs, watching slippery purple globes rising gracefully to the surface. I want to remember that afternoon, little brown bodies stretched out, reaching for things usually deemed untouchable.

Much of Egypt was like this, so much deemed untouchable. From the food on the street, to the water in the tap, to the children eating with dirty hands from a cloth spread on the curb, to the broken and wasted land. So much.

It made me long for the day when all of those things will be redeemed. When the sting of the past and present will become a graceful rise to a perfect and whole future.

It felt as if we were chasing Eden, looking for the great beauty beneath the rubble of fallen, corrupted things. I saw it in the sea, their smiles, the moonlight on water, and the way they wrap themselves and the land in pigment and spice.

I know there are only glimpses of it this side of Heaven, but someday it will be just as it was meant to be, and we will be able to stretch our hands long and touch it.