“The thing is, mom, I’m never going to have my First Communion.”
We’re in the middle of a rushed breakfast, and haven’t been talking at all, until Belén interrupts the slurpy silence.
Belén holds her cereal spoon in mid-air and looks up to see if I understand the gravity of the situation. I stop brushing Susanna’s hair.
“Do you want to take communion at the school?” I wonder if she feels left out when her classmates line up in front of her, tipping their heads back with open mouths to receive the body and the blood. All she gets is a wave of the hand and a blessing.
“I can’t, Mom! I need my First Communion! And I need to show pictures of it! And I think I even have to talk with the priest, or something.”
“Well, you have had communion in our church. Maybe you should tell the teacher that.”
She looks at me in a way that says Come on, Mom. She knows, as well as I do, that any communion she’s had doesn’t count.
“Yeah,” I agree with the expression on her face, “Churches can be funny that way. The people who run them decide what they’re going to do, and how they’re going to do it, and if anyone doesn’t do it the same way… well, then… they’re out.”
Belén asks her next question with total confidence, trusting me for the correct answer: “Which one is right? What church does God like the most?”
I know there are many thoughtful and sincere parents who hope to foster a tolerant world view in their children by “letting them choose for themselves”. I wonder, though, if this really works. Is it possible for these little creatures, who seem to crave cut-and-dried answers, to kick back throughout their childhood and wait until they have collected enough evidence to “choose for themselves”? Or do they sponge up all the cues and existential explanations they can get, along the way to their so-called “own decision”?
“Mmm… Well I’m not sure what to say, except that I know God is not Catholic. And he’s not Baptist, or Mennonite, or Alliance either, ” I say, listing some of the churches in our town. I go on to talk about how all of this division is distracting and misses the points and makes God sad–when Belén interrupts me with a good bit of common sense.
“Well, we can’t ALL meet in the same church. There wouldn’t be room!”
With that comment, the road of logic in my mind makes a hair-pin turn. She’s right. We can’t all fit in the very same church. And maybe this is okay, and doesn’t “make God very sad” after all. As far as I can tell, from bush-whacking through the boreal forest, or a even a handful of pencil crayons, the Creator is absolutely giddy with diversity.
Our conversation ends as abruptly as it began and I go back to braiding Susanna’s hair.
Perhaps I have an over-inflated mother ego, but I think I’ve got quite a bit of influence on these two little lives and can’t pretend other wise. It appears they have quite a bit of influence on someone else too; their mother.
Some January pictures: we went skiing yesterday and LOVED the spike in the temperature.
Only four more January days left!