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In January I stayed on the 17th floor of a hotel. Perhaps if my stay had been short, I would have missed it.  There, juxtaposed near each other, Eden Lost and Eden Regained. That pool and stinky canal have become the perfect image for me of this tension between loss and hope: messy, intertwined, confusing, and encouraging all at once.

Eden was lost, true. That we cannot deny or miss.

But we are not abandoned in this state. That I cannot deny, but sadly often miss.

This life of faith is like learning to dance. At my gym I attend several dance classes: Zumba, folk dance and one that is translated as “Jazz” but I call “Cool-boy-pop-dance.” The teachers are fluid and good with their bodies. They make it look easy. I believe them and follow their moves. I believe them until I look in the mirror and wonder how something so graceful and lovely can be translated into something so awkward.

Often I laugh. I’m not there to become a professional dancer but to get my heart rate up. So what if I look like a bull in a china shop? It’s all good fun.

Yet, this life of faith is like learning to dance. Our native tongue was to be that of Eden, but it was swapped for the language of Eden lost. I see Jesus’ example and the way he deals with people, so graceful and lovely and I believe I can follow his model. I believe until I look in the mirror and see and hear my awkwardness.

Signs in poor English have become triggers for me. In them I see a reflection of how I can sound as I’m learning to respeak my native tongue.

This sign is on the inside door of a hotel room I stay; I see it every time I visit and it makes me sad such a sign is necessary.

It reeks of Eden lost. It’s easy to look at this sign and think, no problem. I don’t do those things.

Really?

Look again.

Relationships, Escape, and Money.

Well, when it’s translated like that, it hits so close to home I’m nearly knocked out. In Eden we were supposed to relate to God and others in deep, rich ways that fostered connection. How often have I prostituted a relationship and used someone for my own gain?

Eden was to be a land of pleasure and joy! How often have I used food, anger, the internet, sports, or reading in ways that resembled abusing a drug?

Eden didn’t have money, but I think there are ways to use money that can hint at what might have been in Eden. And ways to use it that are as off the mark as some of my Zumba moves. We talk of calculated risk, and to be sure, that exists (and would have in Eden too). We don’t speak often enough of the great lie credit cards want us to believe. Call it what you may, it’s closer to gambling than we think.

When I stop watching Amy-in-the-mirror and instead listen to the music and keep my eyes on the teacher, my moves may still be awkward. True. But maybe, just maybe, I’m dancing more how I will in Eden Regained.

Today, listen for your true heart language, keep your eyes on Jesus and speak as one from Eden. Speak not the language of prostitution, using drugs and gambling but of relationships, pleasure, and money. Speak the language of Eden.

Which of these three do you find yourself most likely to speak “Eden lost?”

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