Wouldn't life be better for everyone if we all lived with the focus of finding joy and worried less about how long we had to find it? My grandfather had almost 100 years to find and give joy. Adam had 930! Is it significant to consider the differences in the times or the way of life? It seems to me that the farther society pulls away from the Garden of Eden and all that nature represents, the more distant and violent we become towards the earth and one another and the less we find joy.
My grandfather learned the joys that came from the farm and garden from his father and grandfather. In fact my great grandfather lived only across the yard from him in the original family homestead. But who taught Adam how to dress and keep a garden? Is this what God taught Adam as he walked with him? I think that maybe yes. God walked with him and taught him of everything he had created for Adam. And did he have to learn everything by experience? Did he have to fail a hundred times before he got it right? Is that why he had 930 years of life to our almost 100? Again I think yes. It is the pattern of learning. First we are instructed then we must practice what we are taught. But how are we to practice in an environment that does not allow for mistake? And where is the joy if there is nothing to gain?
While Adam was the "keeper of the garden", he was alone. He was told to not partake of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. Then he was given Eve. Eve did not hear of this commandment from the Lord for she had not walked with God, nor had she been taught by God how to keep the garden. When Eve made her choice to partake, Adam was forced to make a decision. He could stay alone in the garden or join Eve and have family. Which would bring him the greatest joy? To be alone in an eternal state of bliss or to be with Eve searching for joy?
When I think of my grandfather's farm it was as near to perfection as I could ever imagine. It was my piece of heaven on earth. My first memory of pure joy came as I picked apples or watched the Aurora Boreallis light up the Michigan summer sky as I sat in my fathers lap. Grandfather was always peaceful and kind. I believe that Adam was a very docile man, filled with humility and the grace of God. I believe he lived close to nature, respecting the natural harmony that exists between man and animal. Adam came from the perfection of the Garden to help us all remember not how to perfectly keep a garden but how to let a garden perfectly keep us.
Adam and Eve represent the first formed family. Together they learned how to gracefully make mistakes and keep on going. Together they learned to love their children but not let their children's choices get in between their own joy of life. My grandfather's family represent my first formed family. Why? Because Grandfather Conkey is the first family connected to my own that I have personally known. Here outside of my own home, I saw life and love happen. I learned that my father learned from them. I loved them as they loved me. I began to understand what joy meant.