Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Nemo Approach to Faith

When my oldest son, Wyatt, steps off the bus each afternoon, his face lights up like only a child's can. Hazel eyes lift from the asphalt ribbon separating us to search for me in the shadows of a broad gravel driveway.

Like always, he looks past the cluster of animated black labs, two excited siblings, and even Opa. Only my face can elicit that face-splitting grin.

Then, he yells out a single word, "Mommy!!!", and takes off running like a wobbly turtle with its too-heavy shell.

Some days like today, that sprint ends with a tight, long-armed hug. Most times, though, he merely shoves his purple and gold book sack my direction and rushes into Oma's house for a glass of cold water and a homemade brownie.

In these moments, it wouldn't matter if earlier that morning, he had melted crayons all over the sofa or given my vintage dolls a crew cut.

I love and know I am loved.

The hours that follow before supper and bedtime are always an exhausting mixture of chaos, gratitude, re-adjustment to being together as a family again, sofa snuggle time with a stack of books, sharing about our day, more learning, and even more questioning. 

It often feels like I'm trying to squeeze in a day's worth of love and attention into just four short hours.

Lately, part of the afternoon ritual has included Wyatt presenting me with questions I just can't answer.

Apple in one hand, string cheese in the other, he throws me a curve ball.  

"How was God born?"

The words haven't left my lips, but I know I'm about to strike out.

"He wasn't.  The Bible tells us God was here before the creation of the world, before time, itself.  He always has been and always will be."

Even a six year old knows that this answer doesn't line up with his understanding of a world where God's creations share two things in common--birth and death.

And so, he argues with me.

Strike one.  All I can do is shake my head, shrug my shoulders in response.

"I don't understand it, son.  I don't know how God has always been. It doesn't make sense. But I believe the Bible is true, and that's what it says....maybe you can ask God one day when you get to heaven."

That only leads to other questions I can't answer about heaven, other things he's going to ask God when he gets up there.

Soon, Amelia is back at the table where we two sit, her outside voice rising to be heard.

"I don't want to go to heaven!" she frowns.

No amount of being told that she would be with Jesus is enough to convince her.  She vividly remembers last December when we buried Maw Maw under the live oak tree by the hay field.  To her, death means someone going away, means being put in the ground.   

"They put the chairs out there," she remembers.  "I didn't get to sit in them."

I sigh.  Strike two.

Wednesday night, Wyatt again brought up the subject of God being born.  Mommy might not have had all the answers, but he had obviously been busy thinking up answers of his own.

"Maybe there was just a tiny spot of light in the darkness, and then it kept growing and growing until God was born."

"No, son..." I began.

Faith doesn't have all the answers or it wouldn't be faith. 

Still, I feel so ill equipped to lead my three little ones to understand God when He is a mystery that only grows deeper and higher and wider the further I swim out into His depths.

When my children don't understand, when they are given the choice to believe God in faith and swim further into His Word or turn back in disbelief, mom repeating the words of my their favorite movie, Finding Nemo, may be the best way to communicate what their life-long attitude to God's mystery should be.

"Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.  Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."

The child who does not seek is the child who will never find.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! I so love that part in the movie. You will often catch me making the reference in one silly way or another. (Just keep editing. Just keep editing... and so it goes.)