A few weeks ago our eldest son told me that he and two of his friends didn’t believe that God created the world. Given that we’ve never actually talked about how the world was created, I was intrigued to learn more about what he was thinking and what they were talking about.
Because why would God create diseases and stuff, Mama?
Like especially LICE? he asked.
And sometimes people get cancer and DIE, he confirmed, shaking his head.
We are really lucky to have never experienced an outbreak of lice in our household to date and I’m hoping this post doesn’t jinx it. On the other hand, we are grateful to have lived through cancer diagnoses in our immediate family at their most benign stages: treatable and liveable.
And seriously why would God create polluting stuff? and polluting things like the environment? he asked me.
I suggested that perhaps we humans actually are the ones who are polluting stuff, not God.
Eyes wide open, he appeared to get that message right away.
I told him that I don’t really know how exactly the world came to be, or why there are diseases, or why some people have to hold signs up asking for food, or why things sometimes go wrong in the human body.
I’m technically an agnostic, but I whisper toward faith once in a while, and I found myself taking God’s side during this conversation.
I do not believe that there is a universal power that does anything to make us hurt on purpose.
Doesn’t mean we can’t help one another out, though.
The past several months have been jam packed with work, kids, work, kids, work, and kids. We escaped to our close friends’ gorgeous property recently, and watched our children run, play, argue and laugh. We mediated only when necessary, glasses of wine in hand, beneath a sun-sparkled blue sky kind of weekend that is most appreciated in the Pacific Northwest. During the two-day respite, however, I worried about contracts and data collection and research and meeting agendas. I also held my sweet 10-week-old baby goddaughter in my arms, and she captured my attention enough that that the worries I hold dissipated for a while.
There’s not much that can break in on a happy baby snuggled warmly in your arms.
In my day-to-day experience I am in the weeds, reviewing details and content and constantly dialoging on specific themes and ideas that will get the job(s) done, and figuring out how to resolve issues that prevent said job(s) from success. But our oldest son offered me a broader reflection with his questions. I didn’t know exactly what to tell him, so I asked him about what he’s thinking and listened to him question, speak, and pause as he absorbed my own thoughts and questions.
He’s doing great this year, and I, too, am doing rather unexpectedly well in the new math of second grade.
Preschool, on the other hand, continues to, um, keep me wide awake. Our littlest son has got his own opinions and is not shy about sharing them. He uninvited me to his own 5th birthday party, but we worked it out (no Mama, no party). I hope that I make it to see him into second grade.
I haven’t published anything to this blog since last November, and I welcome your comments on this post. For long time readers, you’ll know that this is a special time of year – about six weeks between the anniversaries of the unexpected loss of a close family friend and the death of my middle sister at age 28. I tend to get wound up as the weeks approach the anniversary of such great loss. Thank you for reading, and hanging with me during the weeks ahead.