An Appeal to Eve


(Photo shows Eva (bottom) and her mother, Minnie.)

An Appeal to Eve is a poem written about my grandfather’s sister, Eva. Unmarried and pregnant in 1923, Eva would leave home and go live with her maternal grandparents. As a result, she took her own life at only 16 years old.

Eva was never spoken of while I was growing up. I only learned of her existence well into my adulthood. I cannot imagine the grief this situation would have caused to both Eva and her family.

My aunt discovered one of Eva’s dolls last year and asked if I would like to have it. For me, Eva’s doll is a poignant reminder of Eva as a young girl and of the crisis she faced as a young woman who felt hopeless in her brokenness. I pray that although her story is sad that my poem conveys the possibility of hope even in the most desperate of circumstances.

This is the text of the note Eva left for her mother:

Tulsa Oklahoma
April 26, 1923

 Dear Sweet Little Mother,
You have been the sweetest of all mothers and have done everything in your power for me and don’t think I don’t love you for I do but am so tired of being away from you and mother dear please forgive me for all the things you didn’t want me to do and for all the cross things I have said to you. And please be good to the *little boys and always remember me as your sweet little daughter.
                                                        –Eva
*The “little boys” Eva mentions here are my grandfather and his two brothers.

AN APPEAL TO EVE
     -by Terrie van Baarsel

eve’s doll,
what stories can you tell
of a girl who lost her way
buffeted by guilt
over the life she carried
and fatally bruised by shame?

eve’s doll,
please tell me her stories
of anguish fierce and grief sharp
of spiraling disgrace
snaking upward
crashing earthward
heavy as stones
unrelenting to the crushing of her soul.

eve’s doll,
look at me
do you see her weakness as mine?
can you perceive the human condition
that binds us together?
and like the first Eve
we hide
and every woman hides and waits.

eve’s doll,
your silence bears witness to judgment and pain
but the question still remains
can human hearts once broken
be made whole again?
and how many eves do I meet on my way
and fail to offer up even a morsel of hope?

eve’s doll,
please tell her for me
and in the telling tell all eves
there is respite at the cross
where consequences to sin are limited by Grace
and mercy points boldly to the Gospel store.

(I hope she heard the sound of Him walking
in the garden
in the cool of the day…
I hope she heard His voice calling
“eve, where are you?”)

eve’s doll, you have not been forgotten and neither has she.

 

 

Early Riser

I haven’t always been an early riser. In fact, there was a time in my life I would’ve classified myself as a night owl. There was also a time when I was neither. When my children were small I would have paid good money to turn in early and sleep in late.

But these days I am usually in bed by 9:30 or 10:00 and wake up about 5:00 or 5:30 each morning. I don’t work (at least outside my home) so my early start is elective. My choice. It’s not that I don’t like sleep. I adore sleep. Then why would I forfeit the warm comfort of my bed for a couple of extra waking hours each day?

First, I need time alone. I need time to think, to reflect, to prepare spiritually and emotionally for the day ahead. I’ve never thought of it this way before, but the moments I spend alone each morning are a way to rest with my eyes open.

There is another reason I get out of bed early. Sometimes, fear and anxiety wake me up. Usually it’s some worry about one or the other of my children. Rather than allowing anxiety to consume me (and in my life, anxiety is ever the hungry little troll), I roll out of bed and set my mind on other things. My children are all grown, but my worries only seem to have grown along with them. Does it ever stop, a mother worrying about her children?

Each morning, the world wakes up. Ever hopeful, the sun rises, the birds busy themselves, and life begins anew. The morning holds a hope and beauty that I just don’t want to miss.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases
His mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning
Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

 

 

What Is There To Write About?

What is there to write about?

Things I want to remember and things I want to forget. Feelings and impressions, snapshots of time, every day pleasures and midnight silence.

Today I helped pick out a pair of soccer cleats and a soccer ball for my four-year-old-first-born grandson. His Mama, Opa and I witnessed a milestone in his little life and afterwards celebrated the occasion with a practice session in the backyard. Isn’t that worthy of a few words?

Things that are meaningful to me and my family. Birthday parties and shark shaped pinatas. And the way this infernal contraption upon which I am typing keeps changing the word “pinatas” into “pirates” and refuses to allow me to spell the word correctly in Spanish. (What? No “enyay” key?)

Several nights ago my husband and I spent an evening lying outside in our double hammock and staring at the summer night sky. Stars trembled in the darkness. A delicate breeze quickened shadows and moonlight making life, at least for those few hours, so infused with the unexpected buoyancy of divine grace, I almost cried.

Everything about life. That’s what there is to write about.

 

 

The Beginning

Soliloquy:
1. an utterance or discourse by a person who is talking to himself or is disregardful of or oblivious to any hearers present.
2. the act of talking while or as if alone.

Song:
1. (for the purposes of this blog) poetical composition; poetry.