When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the garden they began to die in that instant. They were meant to be immortal with perfect, healthy bodies but that act of rebellion changed everything, including nature itself. It all began to be subjected to decay and has been in a fallen state ever since.
We who belong to Christ look forward to the day when our earthly bodies are changed to perfection and we will no longer be subject to pain, illness or death. In fact, Godís plans are to restore this earth and all of nature to its original glory and this is something we eagerly await.
In the meantime we exist in a world ruled by sin and the resulting depravity that entered the nature of mankind from our original parents. However, even in the midst of disease, cruelty, poverty, hunger, war and everything else that can make this planet a miserable place to exist, we sometimes witness the briefest glimpse of something that reminds us of that first garden.
Once in a while we see someone who executes a feat that is as close to human perfection as is possible in our fallen state. When that happens, we cannot help but gasp in wonder. Something ancient within all of us still recognizes what was supposed to be.
For instance, I vividly remember watching the Summer Olympics in 1976 when 14 year old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci accomplished something that had never been done before. She scored seven perfect scores of 10 out of 10 for her routines and won three gold medals. The grace, fluidity and seemingly effortless way she moved her body was breathtaking and watching her was like witnessing some otherworldly creature. I had never seen anyone move with that much ease and precision and I was riveted.
In 2010, the talent show Americaís Got Talent introduced the world to the soprano prodigy, Jackie Evancho. At only ten years of age she had the operatic voice of a grown woman. In only a year, her undoubtedly hard work with voice coaches has turned her into an undeniable phenomenon. I am not particularly a fan of opera but if she is singing, I am! Listening to her is amazing but seeing her perform in front of a live audience is, well, indescribable.
Not only is she a beautiful child with light blonde hair, laughing blue eyes and a lovely face, her demeanor is adorable. Her poise and professionalism onstage is as mature as any other adult singer. However, the very moment her song is over and the music ends, she abruptly turns back into a silly, giggling little girl who seems surprised at the standing ovation she inevitably inspires. If you havenít purchased her CD, Dream With Me, let me encourage you to do so. You will not be disappointed.
Of course there are many other examples through the ages of masterful artists whose work far surpasses their peers; the rich realism of Rembrandt or the wonderfully warm and touching work of Norman Rockwell as well as the beauty of Michelangeloís marble statues.
Again, to witness such sublime talent amazes and inspires me. If you think about it, you donít run across this very often and when you do you cannot help but pause with wonder and stare or listen. These works have literally brought tears of joy to my eyes because something very deep in my heart is touched and I experience a kind of wistful homesickness for heaven, where all I will encounter and see or hear will far surpass these earthly examples in beauty and perfection.
Until I get there, I am content to be delighted when some supreme talent that towers over the merely excellent is discovered. As I marvel and enjoy, I will surely hear a faint but beckoning echo of Eden.