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,