So much squealing and dashing about! The kids, full of energy and all under school age, are at Ella Sharp Park with their mothers. By the looks of it, it’s an autumn play date. The three women in sweat shirts and vests have tote-bags sitting on a picnic table and two strollers nearby. One mother sits at the table, on her lap is a baby wrapped in a pink and coral crocheted blanket. The other two women are talking as they herded the gaggle of kids. The children and toddlers, and there are seven, are dressed in sweaters and light jackets, two of the littlest girls outfits matched and have adorable knit hats.
The park has a large pond with cattails along one end, several birds and squirrels dart about its edge. Most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, to the delight of the children who grab a few in their tiny hands running to toss them at each other. The sun is bright and sends it’s warmth between puffy clouds. It is a perfect fall day to be out and about.
We learn early in childhood the fun it is to gather together and laugh and play. As we grow-up we continue to know the comfort in sharing time with others. We also learn early in the Bible, in Genesis, that God did not intend for us to be alone. I’m not speaking about a call to be married, not all of us will have or desire this. The focus here is on being with another person, to share with them the familial love that God has planted in us.
I like how God, using Adam and the animals, teaches us about caring and empathy until we come to understand love. Many parents still use these same techniques: play dates and pets.
God’s first play date takes place on the day after the Day of Rest, when all creation had been…well…created. God had sent the rains and all the plants grew and flowered and Adam, I assume, was attending to Eden with a quiet peace. God knew that humans would need to be more than just content, so he set about to create some fun for Adam.
Imagine Adam, a close friend with God, being called to stop gardening in Eden and to come and join God for a parade, of sorts. What delight Adam must have experienced as each animal was brought for him to name. He would have walked around each one, petted it, maybe leaned against it, and tried to figure out how it moved. I can image each of the animals strutting about and playfully responding; a rhino nudging Adam with its muzzle, a koala lowering into Adam’s arms and hugging itself against his chest, or Adam waist deep in water as a manatee pressed against his legs. I can almost hear Adam hoot and laugh with each surprise God plopped down in front of him. God must have been having a lot of fun too.
But by the end of it all, and I’m certain many of us have felt this, Adam was probably left with an emptiness at not being able to share his joyful experience with someone else. And God knew this would happen and I think wanted Adam to grow a desire for companionship. It’s not enough for humans to have all our material needs and not have love.
So, along comes Eve. And I bet Adam hugged her close when he saw that she had hands and legs, voice and speech just like him. And now his happiness was complete. There was someone to run with and share with. Someone with whom to express all that is human in the heart.
I bet it was the best play date ever in the history of man.
Read more reflections and prayers by Margaret Rose Realy, Obl OSB, at Morning Rose Prayer Garden, on Patheos Catholic channel.
Copyright 2012 Margaret Rose Realy