View from the 17th floor

I’m attending a conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand and this is the view from my seventeenth story window.

One picture, yet three realities.

Reality one: Pool Side. The pool is on the fourth floor of the hotel and when you sit pool side, you are unaware of the canal.  In many ways, this pool is like Eden was. It is fresh, attractive, and conducive to relationships with room to play, hang out or talk. However, there is also space for solitude allowing for contemplation, reading, and recharging. Now, I get that the metaphor is not perfect because Eden didn’t involve an artificially, recreated piece of nature in the middle of a city. No, Eden was natural, it wasn’t forced, it was truly paradise and I agree that this pool is not paradise. But then we have …

Reality two: the rancid canal. It is dirty, smelly and as much as the pool can be seen as a reflection of what Eden was, this canal reflects so painfully, Eden lost. And lost on so very many levels. It is but a small taste of how sin has robbed creation aesthetically with literal trash tossed in it. Its productivity has been stolen as it has ceased to flow with water or life. People pick up their pace as they walk by because it reeks of what has been lost. Sadly, that is not a metaphor. This dear canal truly smells. From the street you have no idea that if you look up a mere four floors to the left, there is such a lovely place so close. However this is also …

Reality three: the bird’s eye view. This view challenges us to hold both realities in tension. It is true that Eden has been lost and that much of life does stink, is filled with garbage, and reflects brokenness. But it is also true that the Kingdom of God is now with Eden Returned breaking into Eden Lost. Eden Returned is fragrant, beautiful, and reflects God’s glory in ways that restore hope and bring the cry of a cheer from a grateful heart.

It is tempting to stay in vacation mode and want to live by the pool, denying the canal. Or become so frustrated and disillusioned with the canals of life that all you see is floating with rubbish without an ounce of hope in sight. But as believers we are challenged to have new eyes and to accept the already/not-yet-ness of life. Eden is returning but she has not fully returned yet. We must hold both as true.

Where in your life do you see elements of Eden returning and yet still lost?

Leave A Comment

  1. Lisa Z February 9, 2012 at 12:04 am - Reply

    My sister is a social worker in an elementary school of an economically-depressed town and she comes home on a regular basis with heartbreaking stories of decay and filth that filters into these young kids’ lives. At the very heart of it all is that they are children, welcomed and loved by God into his outstretched arms….Eden returned in the midst of Eden lost.

    • Amy February 9, 2012 at 10:33 am - Reply

      May she, and others like her, not grow weary in the effort to restore what has been lost (stolen really!). Good reminder that all over this globe, the Kingdom of God is creeping forward. Thanks Lisa! Amy

  2. Nita Kulesa February 9, 2012 at 4:15 am - Reply

    Wow! Amy . . . a truly powerful metaphor! We see the same kinds of contrasts in Mexico, and for that matter, here at home! I think of the affluence surrounding KJ’s school and then the little boy in her Kindergarten class with sneakers that literally were rotting off his feet and smelled so horrific that the other little kids complained. His dear teacher went to Target over lunch to purchase new sneakers and socks for him.

    • Amy February 9, 2012 at 10:34 am - Reply

      It really is all around us, wherever we are! May each and every one of us have eyes to see, hearts to feel, and then hands to respond in the Name above all names. Blessings to the teachers out there! Amy

  3. […] you want more of the back story on how my interest in Eden was sparked, you can read about the view from the 17th floor and a sign at my […]

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