So the text said, “Well, Lucy’s birthday is coming up again! On December 7 she will be 85…how about a Sunday afternoon tea. Lavendou has one, but maybe not Sunday. I would be glad to host it as well. What are your thoughts? Cheryl”
Of course, what popped into my head wasn’t high tea.
My argument was thus:
This is a woman who’s been all over the world. She’s outlived three husbands. What would be a gift that was completely unexpected and fun with a capital F? What could we, her friends, give her that she’s never experienced before? My thought — we could pitch in and rent a limo, go to LaBare (a male strip club) for a couple of hours and watch the show, and then ride around and see Christmas lights in the limo afterward — all while sipping Prosecco, of course. It would be a night to remember.
Of course, the salad party at Cheryl’s house worked out just as well. We all brought a salad. There was fruit fluff (yummy.) I could have eaten just that and been good; but there was also a lettuce salad, a pasta salad, a chicken salad, a potato salad and a caprese salad. Everything was delicious. There was a chocolate cake with a hint of cinnamon in it, too, and I do love the combination of chocolate and cinnamon! We also had prosecco. Cheryl had two tables of four set up for the eight of us to dine. We took bunches of pictures.
The most important part, of course, was that we were celebrating Lucy! She opened all of the funny and sometimes poignant cards from each of us. We sang Happy Birthday and she blew out a tea light because 86 candles might have been funny to try and blow out, but no one wanted to set the smoke alarm off either.
Conversations ranged from health (always a topic of interest for the over 50 crowd), to funny stories about our pets and/or human family members, writing (of course), some of Lucy’s remembrances of past childhood birthdays (including her 7th birthday, when the US entered WWII after Pearl Harbor was attacked), work; and then one woman (Wilma) made a remark about the three William Blake prints that Cheryl had on her wall. Apparently, Wilma had seen several of the actual William Blake paintings in a museum (I forgot where she said) and she thought them wonderful.
One of the three prints we focused on was a picture of God about to oust Adam from the Garden of Eden. It’s actually called God Judging Adam, 1795.
I could blame the prosecco (of which I only had one glass) or I could blame my ADHD (which is probably what is really to blame) or I could just blame Kelly (like I usually do), but I remarked that it seemed weird to have God dressed in clothes about to throw Adam out (who probably should be wearing at least a fig leaf by this time, but since we can’t really see Adam from the front, it’s left to our imaginations whether he is figged out or not.) Anyway, it’s clear that he’s in big-time trouble and God is not happy. And looking at that picture, it just didn’t sit well with me.
It seemed a little hypocritical that if God expected Adam and Eve to run around naked and innocent, then why wasn’t He also naked? (I’m still waiting for lightning to strike me dead, but so far it hasn’t happened. Fingers crossed!) Anyway, I made that remark. Sue said with a look of horror on her face, “I wouldn’t want to see God naked.” And I said, “Fair enough. But it just seems wrong that He is clothed and about to throw out his beloved Adam because he ate from the apple and felt the need to wear a fig leaf afterward because he was ashamed of his nakedness. I mean if God wasn’t ashamed of His nakedness, why is He clothed? But frankly, I’ve always thought of God as a disembodied voice instead of a physical being, anyway.”
I was then admonished by Lilibeth to read Genesis because it says that “God walked with Adam” in Genesis. And I have read Genesis. I mean it’s been awhile and I don’t actually remember reading those words, but if I accept Lilibeth’s stance on the subject at face value, then I must assume that God walked on two legs with Adam, and that goes directly back to my point.
I mean, let’s just say for one moment that God walked around with Adam: was He clothed and Adam naked? Or were both of them naked walking around in Paradise? Because if all of a sudden one believes that two guys (Adam and God) are walking around in the Garden of Eden naked, and you’re conservative and stuff, then that’s a mind’s eyeful, am I right?
I can hear a bunch of the less-tolerant people in my life saying, “I don’t like where you’re going with this, missy! What exactly are trying to say? Are you trying to get people to think that God and Adam were a couple of homos? Cuz that’s what it sounds like you’re saying. You know what? God’s gonna punish you and you’re gonna deserve it! You know why? Because you’re a freak, that’s why! So why don’t you just shut your trap and stop talking your crazy bullshit because I’m not gonna listen to any more of your blasphemous shit!”
That’s not what I’m implying, by the way, though the thought does make me giggle. Sort of. My belief is that God loves all of us! Even me, his beloved freak with her shit-stirrin’ ideas as well as those who condemn me for it! And I pray that He also has a sense of humor, which I fully suspect He does because…humans. But if He doesn’t, then no doubt, I’m screwed, y’all.
But back to what I was saying about Eden —
Otherwise, if I’m Adam walking around in Eden and God has clothes on and I don’t, I’m going to ask, “Hey what’s up with that, God? What do you have on your body and why don’t I have the same on mine?” I mean, it’s not meant to be an impertinent question, it’s more of an innocent observation. But we’ll never know the answer to that question because it doesn’t tell us in the Bible, now does it?
Yep, personally, I still like to think of God as just a disembodied voice — or a burning bush works, too. It just simplifies everything!
I said something about my beef with the Bible was that so many books were excluded from our present-day Christian Bible; at least the one I grew up with. I mean where’s the story about Lilith, for example? You won’t find her in the Bible, but you will find her in Jewish mythology. And what about the stories about when Jesus was a child? Did they (the other seven women at the party) know that Jesus was supposed to have killed a child he got angry with when he was just a boy? Jesus was supposed to have been somewhat of a brat, but you won’t find that in the Bible either.
Then I proceeded to tell them a little about Lilith because most or all of them had not even heard of Lilith, which I think is a damned shame. So I didn’t go into a lot of detail, but I did say that she was supposed to be Adam’s first wife but wasn’t willing to be subservient to Adam and so she’d had enough and decided to leave on her own. So then God made Eve when Lilith wouldn’t return to Adam.
I probably shouldn’t have opened my mouth; I think I might have made a few uncomfortable because what I was saying kind of went against what most or all of us were taught and believed because how dare we question what we were taught about God and Jesus and all the rest? Also, I probably didn’t do myself any favors when it comes to making a good impression, but that’s nothing new.
Sue had much to say about how the Bible came together in the 4th century and talked a little bit about the Council of Nicea which was called together and presided over by Constantine. That’s what I was taught in college as well. However, when I looked it up, it said that the focus of the Council of Nicea was to agree upon and standardize certain beliefs. So maybe the Bible was standardized during that meeting as well or maybe it was at a different time. I’m really not sure at this point. Wilma said that what I was talking about, Lilith and the books that didn’t make it into the Bible, those are the Apocryphal teachings. While I don’t really know anything about that, what I know is that what I was talking about were stories and teachings that were considered too controversial or deemed irrelevant by a bunch of men who certainly didn’t want to encourage thoughts that women might be independent or even equal.
Lilibeth felt that whoever wrote the Bible, however the Bible was assembled and came to be, it was under the direction of God and that it was just the way it was meant to be. And that was that.
And sure, Lilibeth has a valid point; why not?
Anna said that she had an epiphany that God was what was written in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 —
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 New International Version (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
Lilibeth concurred with Anna. I like that thought as well, not that I’ve ever thought about that before. But, then again, until Lucy’s birthday party, staring at a clothed God and naked Adam on Cheryl’s living room wall, I’d never contemplated God being naked before.
At some point, Cheryl asked everyone how they felt about God being female (but I think she had more to drink than I did.) I just giggled.
Maybe Deirdre’s powder room break was what stopped all of our religious talk. Or maybe it was the fact that when the clock struck 9 PM, it was time for all of us to go. I don’t really remember, after all…prosecco. We all left on good terms, though, and Deirdre gave all of us these really cool, personalized Christmas ornaments. I’m still trying to get addresses so I can send out Christmas cards, something I haven’t done in years! I’m trying to revive what for most of us has gone the way of the corded telephone. After last night, though, they may be afraid of receiving a card from me. The cards are fine, though. Actually, they’re quite lovely — nothing heretical about them at all.
So, yeah, it was an interesting evening; but Cheryl has assured me that for Lucy’s 86th birthday, we will be contemplating almost naked men in a Dallas stripclub rather than thinking about God walking around naked in Paradise.
To my beloved and adored friend in Austin, you know who you are, I miss you dearly and wished you could have joined us at Cheryl’s! Merry Christmas to you, Dearest Heart, and a blessed New Year to you as well! Maybe I’ll get to see you sooner rather than later in 2020! I think about you all of the time!
MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A WONDERFUL NEW YEAR TO ALL OF MY WAYWARD FRIENDS! May you continue to stay creative, loved, warm, happy and blessed! I’ll be back in January!
Ta Ta For Now,
26 thoughts on “Happy 85th Birthday, Lucy, aka A Night to Remember!”
Oh man, this post gave me a good chuckle Mona. I agree with what you said about Lilith. I mean, you find her in Jewish readings but not in the Bible. I’ve had this very conversation with several people, so Lilith was the very first independent feminist, lol. I hope y’all had a great time with Lucy celebrating her 85th!
I think Lucy had a good time. I think we all did. Also, I don’t think any of us could have predicted how our conversations would go. Everyone was civil and no blood was shed. I don’t think anyone got feelings hurt or anything like that either. We could probably even teach politicians a thing or two about how to agree to disagree. I’m not sure that we’d want to, though. Oh well! I would be fascinated to hear about your conversations surrounding Lilith. All women should know about Lilith. Mona
Keeping in mind that that painting was painted by a human man, and not by actual God (so far as we know), I think we can debate whether or not God was wearing clothes when Adam was rebuked. It’s not God’s shame, but the painter–a human carrying the shame of Adam and Eve. God is All. God is above and beyond the physical realm. God can take any physical form God wishes–human or otherwise.
“God walked with Adam” was probably God taking a physical form similar to that of God’s creation.
Then there’s the whole “in his image” argument and that is supposedly proof that CLEARLY God has a body and it is decidedly human. But the idea that “God created us in His image” is, I think, metaphorical and spiritual, rather than literal and physical. I think God created us in God’s image in the sense that we have souls and the capacity for God’s great good within us. Not that God made us look the way we do. Because 1) I think God, as an all-knowing being, probably knows that the human body as a mode of transportation is horribly inefficient (we’re lanky and gangly and have horrible centers of gravity, the way we move is awkward and inefficient to other animals–humans are a biological mess and I doubt that God, all-powerful, was like, “Yes, this is the best form that I shall take and create my beloved children in this nightmare shape.”), and 2) all humans look very different. We’re different shapes and colors and sizes and have different parts–so with all these different options, which is the one God has?
I also don’t consider God male or female, because (again) omnipotent being above and beyond the physical realm. God probably doesn’t have a need for a gender or a sex, because those are things that pertain to the physical realm and how humans interact with and within it.
But I don’t consider myself a Christian and it’s been a hot minute since my childhood teachings and I’m sure if there is an afterlife where the deceased can see the living, my Baptist grandmother is looking down at me and screaming. But considering the life I lead, I’m sure all my ancestors stopped watching my specific train wreck years ago, so maybe not.
I love how much you add to this. Of course, you know that most of what I say is tongue-in-cheek (disregard what Lille says below); and I knew that you have various spiritual influences, but why was I thinking that you sometimes/a lot of times went to a protestant church. Was that a few years ago, maybe? Or am I just mixed up? Whatever the situation, it’s none of my business and I love you just the way you are and I would have loved for you to have been part of our conversation at Lucy’s birthday party. So glad we can do it here, my friend. I’m sure my Baptist grandmother, mother and a few other aunts, uncles and cousins are frowning down on me as well! A sense of humor sure comes in handy. Since this is my last post before January, I want to wish you a wonderful holiday season! Please tell Debbie I wish her one as well! Hugs, Mona
Personally I think a strip club beats a theological discussion any old day… but maybe that’s just me.
IKR? However, sometimes you have the theological discussion today so that you can go to the strip club tomorrow! 😉 ~ M
Why does Adam have an extra butt cheek?
Signed, The Person Who Makes Significant Contributions To The Conversation
Disregard what I said to Adie about tongue-in-cheek, okay? Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family, my friend! Mona
I wonder what it would be like to take God to a strip club. Given how stuck up He can be sometimes, I think a good time might do Him a little good…
Blasphemy is my middle name, incidentally…
Well, you know how it is, He’s kinda seen it all I imagine. Funny, my middle name is OMG, I can’t believe you said that!
Oh, Mona, you’re so lucky! I love a good theological talk, but so few who believe in the doctrines wish to discuss much (or think much) about their faith. I’ve had a few folks over the years tell me to stop talking about it altogether because it makes them question too much! I’m, like “that’s the point!” 🤣
I think the other point is that God, in the story, was a knowledgeable being and Adam, to that point, was not. My dog runs around naked and has no shame, while I walk around clothed. If Ludo bit the apple, he would then be like me, and have shame. It’s been years since I read Genesis, but I recall the passage “They have become like us now,” which I believe was God talking to an angel or something. Maybe Lucifer. Like I said, it’s been a few years. But that line always stuck with me because it made me realize that in the Christian myth (just like in the Greek one) mankind was not meant to enjoy the knowledge, the fruits, or the luxuries of the gods (remember Prometheus stole the fire from Zeus to give it to Man). We were meant to be dogs to God.
Nonetheless, Happy Birthday to Lucy! Today I learned what prosecco is. 🙂
I’ll let Lucy know you wished her a Happy Birthday! BTW, I’ve been compared to much worse than a dog, so there you are! Next time we get together for a theological discussion at my writers group, you and Adie have to join us! Also, any day is a good day when you learn what prosecco is! Hope your December days are merry and bright, Pastor Tom!
Thinking thoughts just like this one is what generates most of my content. It is crazy bullshit but it’s awesome crazy bullshit. However, with that being said, there is a reason I have a sign in the entryway to my house that reads: NO PREACHIN’ NO POLITIKIN’ NO SHOP TALK. It’s great that your group can have these discussions and remain friends. There are too many that cannot.
How’s it going, Lee?
Awesome crazy bullshit is fun, isn’t it? Keep on keeping on, my friend! Have a great rest of December and I’ll see you in January! Mona 🙂
Mona, you have some great insights into our group! It was an amazing night of conversation. I think that our members can laugh at ourselves helps. Thank you for writing this piece — it says so much about us.
You hit the nail on the head. It’s good to keep a sense of humor and it’s good to be able to laugh at oneself! We are a great group of writers and women! Cheers, my friend, to more writing and fun in 2020! Mona
Mona, I must say this post made me smile. I like your questions! I like you answers even more! No one can say what or who God is or looks like. We are merely humans! Maybe all that nakedness wasn’t a big deal, one way or the other? How can any human being on this earth ‘judge’ what or who the big guy upstairs. I’ve learned enough to know I don’t know much! And to the point, men wrote the Bible. Have you ever heard a man embellish a story?!?! (Enough said!) 😊😀😜
Kim, my friend,
You are way too young to be so wise! Excellent points altogether, though! I’m glad this made you smile 🙂 The very best to you and your husband this Christmas and New Years! Mona
And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year my friend!!!
I still have questions about Adam giving all the animals their names, which he did, according to Genesis 2:19. What language was Adam speaking, anyway, and did he name everything? Or did he just give out general categories like “bird” and “fish”? Even that gets confusing and opens up a whole can of worms–“worms” being another one of those general categories.
Anyway the important thing is Lucy had a good birthday and you did spend at least some time looking at naked men, or at least a naked man, or at least a picture of a naked man…categories, you know.
Ooh, I forgot about the naming of the animals. I wonder what their original names were because, of course, we only know them by their English names? Excellent questions! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year! Sometime between now and then, I’m going to spend quite a bit of time trying to catch up and comment on your blog! Fingers crossed on the commenting part! 🙂 Mona
Lovely story Mona. Have a lovely Xmas and a happy new year x Hope you are OK my friend x
Merry Christmas to you, too, Pip! We’re doing pretty good here in Texas. We just got our Charlie Brown Christmas tree today and I’m in the middle of decorating it. It’s been in the low 70’s today–just a gorgeous day! So I’m cleaning, watching the Cowboys win against the Rams and decorating! And nope, God hasn’t struck me dead yet, if you’re concerned. How about you? I do wish the very best to you and your loved ones! May all your wishes come true in 2020! Hugs, Mona
It must be lovely to have such warm weather. Its freezing here in Blighty!! Cold enough to snow. Just on the last week of term before Xmas. Doing lots of fun craft stuff at the school in the run up to the holidays. Happy New year too. Big hugs x
The Tree of the Uncomfortable Knowledge that God is the Only One Wearing Pants