She sat on the river bank looking West towards the only home she had ever known. It was perfect there. A place without want, or care, or pain. Cool water splashed around her feet while the sun above burned her exposed arms and scalp. The burning was yet a new sensation, and it wasn't pleasant.
Sitting there alone, with time to think about the way her life had unfolded, she was instantly filled with remorse and sadness. Tears welled up in her eyes again and ran down her cheeks. For long moments she simply sat there and wept until her inner well was dry. A gentle breeze ran it's fingers through her hair and left a tingle on her shoulder. As the grief lessened she slipped into the river and splashed cool water on her face and was refreshed. The water was sweet and clean, and except for the sharp stones which jabbed her feet when she moved, the river reminded her of the blissful years she'd spent in her first home. A home where fruit hung heavy on every tree, the grass and fields were free of rough pebbles, and the animals on the farm knew no fear.
Her present home was less pleasant, harsh actually, in comparison to the life she'd once lived, but not unbearable. In this new life she still had access to everything she needed, but she had to work hard for it. Nothing came easy now. Pleasure was almost always accompanied by some amount of pain. She exchanged a life of ease for a life of information, and there seemed to be no shortage of things to learn and things to do.
Before now she had never known fear, anger, jealousy, or an ache in her lower back from the toil of the fields. Her thoughts had once been pure because all that surrounded her was pure. Her life had been filled with love and goodness, but not many choices. She had one choice actually, to obey, or not. The flowers in her first garden did not resist growth. The animals on the farm always came when she called them. The fruit trees always bore their crop, no one had to compel them to do so, and it was the same with her. She had no reason to disobey, until the one fateful day when she was asked the simplest of questions, "Did he really say...?"
She played the encounter over and over again in her head. If only she had refused. If only she had said no. If only she had heeded the warning given to her... but alas, when presented with a choice, even though it was deceptive, she chose her own will. Her choice brought her knowledge, but knowledge came (as it often does) with a heavy price.
Years would pass and she lived always within sight of her first home, but could not return to it. She created a new home, though not as lovely, but every aspect of the dwelling had her touch. The mats on the floor, and the drinking gourds, as well as the flowers in her hair were each chosen by her and she took great pride in making her dwelling a home for her husband and children.
It was a good life. A life with seasons of dedicated work and seasons of harvest. A life with a mix of birth and death, of beauty and of murder, a life where love was even more brilliant in juxtaposition to grief. She marveled at all she had learned. From the way a tiny seed could grow into a tall tree, to the way a moment of passion could plant new life within her- and bring her joy and agony like nothing else in all of existence.
Perhaps, within the confines of her first home her body would have aged more gracefully? Maybe the lines of age etched around her eyes and across her brow would be less if she had never known the pain of mistrust, or the screeching pangs of labor while giving birth? Perhaps her life would be shortened because of one choice made ages ago? She would never know.
What she did know was the strength of her own body and a powerful will to survive. She understood her limits, as well as her ability to surpass those limits when it was required. There was no end to the things she could learn, or love, as well as no end to often painful discoveries.
She had walked with God, spent time with the devil, opted for the freedom to choose her own will, and felt the sting of regret as well as the healing balm of forgiveness.
She had eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Her eyes were indeed opened and she understood the painful, yet enlightening, results from that choice. She would endure death, but she had also lived a full life with experiences both common, and uncommon.
With unspeakable grace and tenderness, He asked her, "Daughter, do you have any regrets?"
A flood of memories and feelings swept over and through her. In an instant she thought of Adam, and her children, and of the hundreds more who came, or would come, because of her. In that same instant quick flashes of joy and heartache were recalled. Moments of humility, grace, guilt, impatience, peace, gentleness, anger, despair, hope, love...every emotion she had ever felt visited her in the span of a heartbeat.
Eve looked up at her Father, and said quietly, "Lord, I have none."
He smiled at her and took Eve home to a place she would never have to leave again.
She had made her final choice, and He saw that it was good.