We all yearn for this safety, especially as the world crumbles around us. We are all desiring a safe haven.
Eden represents a place where God walked with man and woman, a meeting place of Divinity and humanity.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux in his sermons on The Song of Songs, is very aware of location and geography, tracing the comings and goings of both the Bride and the Bridegroom.
That couple is the idealized soul and Christ, or Christ and His Church.
We humans need a place, a location to be. We are not and never will be in eternity disembodied spirits. That is a temporary state.
We need to be somewhere, as I remind God and my patrons regularly. Eden was a place, a real place, not merely a poetic metaphor for happiness in perfection.
Gethsemane is a place and we know where it is. The Franciscans discovered the ruins of an ancient church there and built a new one in the 20th century, marking the place of the Agony in the Garden.
But, we have no sure idea of where Eden was located. I learned that it was in the "fertile crescent", the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Some scholars think it was in Lebanon, and those who hate Revelation, Tradition and the Catholic Church put it in Africa. Black Liberation Theologians want it there, of course, as to them the Blacks are the chosen people of God, not the Jews.
Returning to my theme of meditation these days, Eden and Gethsemane were two places where God walked, as Father and Creator with Adam and Eve, and as Christ, the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity.
Therefore, God is trying to get me to think about a real place, not merely a symbol, or metaphor, for, let us say, the spiritual life.
Recently, I referred to Eliot's Four Quartets, which I love and have taught. Eliot is a poet of place. That is obvious in his two greatest works. His study of Dante, another poet of place, inspired him.
Another great poet of place is David Jones, my favorite, and yet another, is Shakespeare.
John Donne may be added to the list of these "incarnational" poets who understand the importance of place as well as the mysterious dimension of spiritual homes.
So, in this roundabout way, I can see that God is talking to me about a place, in fact one which is both Eden and Gethsemane.
I am a poet of place as well, and herein lies my difficulty in understanding God's message to me.
One of my friends, a very wise man, said to me that God always means what He says and that He is very literal.
We poets are not always so direct.
Therefore, I am still meditating, reflecting, waiting for that epiphany.
Here is a repost of one of my poems of place.