When I was a little kid, dinosaurs were my favorite category. They're still in my top ten favorite categories, along with snacks, furniture, and mistakes.
(I like snacks because they're extra food; they're food you eat because you want to, not because you need nourishment. I like furniture because it's a humble category; chairs are for people, cabinets are for dishes, desks are for papers. No furniture exists for itself. I like mistakes because they're things that you didn't do right that you don't have to feel bad about.)
I grew up in a conservative Christian home. When my parents saw that I was interested in dinosaurs, they gave me a lot of creationist books on the topic. To be fair, my parents have always been more open-minded about origins than a lot of conservatives. The books, though, were written with a heavy anti-evolution agenda, and I think this is where my obsession with proving people wrong began. They filled me with wonder, though, and in a sense, they still do. Maybe plesiosaurs are swimming in the Mariana Trench, or what if triceratopses are hiding in jungles in Africa?
These books always went from dinosaurs to Genesis, and that's where my love of the stories in the first bit of Genesis began. I like imagining God carving oceans in the earth with his hands and scooping land together, and people living in an ideal garden, and how the world might have changed in a catastrophe. These stories in Genesis help me form meaning. I think that the idea of people being made in God's image is much more helpful for me than working out bioethics in making sense of modern moral dilemmas. That we are said to come from the dirt, but are pushed back into it by toiling as farmers helps me understand both the worth and the stress of my job.
I find so much meaning in the story of the fall. The blame-shifting, the hiding, the shame, I tell this story myself whenever I do wrong. When I was a small child, I would sit on the toilet, groaning as I pooped, asking, "Why did Adam and Eve have to eat the forbidden fruit?" I don't know that I felt at the time like that was unfair. I did feel like my pain was bound cosmically to the actions of naked strangers.
The sin of the people caused thorns and disease and everything that is not-good in the world. (More cynical people than I would complain of how this punishment is not proportional, or would blame God for putting the tree in the garden in the first place.) The problem that I have with the story of the fall is its placement of the weight of intentionality behind everything that's unseemly.
I've spent a lot of time and toil trying to find meaning in meaningless suffering. I think evolution tells a story that helps me deal with reality better. Creation says that everything used to be good, but humans messed it up, but God will make it okay again. Evolution says that everything used to be bland and dead, but that beauty has arisen naturally. The world isn't a bad place, the kinks just haven't been shaken out yet. For something that I didn't pay for, I think life in this cosmos is pretty nice, and if there's no intentionality behind it, I'd say things are working out pretty well, all things considered.
Life is tenacious. All beings are always changing, trying new ways to fit the world better. Evolution is incredibly messy, it's not an organized process. It's not the most efficient way one could conceive of that life could come to be. Natural history is riddled with false starts. There are oodles of examples of great successes, like dinosaurs, that lost whatever advantage they had and then disappeared. The plesiosaurs probably ran out of food.
Evolution doesn't say anything about what an ideal world would be or how we should live or what ultimate meaning is. What I learn from evolution is that life isn't neat, but that progress comes from trying a lot of things, most of which aren't going to work very well. If you stick with what does, and change it a little bit, and keep trying new things, you might wind up with something neat.
When I make mistakes, I think about evolution, and I smile. My mistakes aren't abysmal failures, they're just things that need tweaking, or dead-ends that can be abandoned in favor of five new ideas.