Mathew, my just turned 5-year old boy, tends to ask philosophical and intriguing questions, in which he leaves me baffled and fumbling at how to respond. And when I do respond, it only leads to more questions. Good thing I'm okay with saying "I don't know" and we look it up later. This conversation you are about to read was without planning and as usual, leaving me fumbling for answers. But before you read on, you must first read my blog disclaimer...a warning of sorts.
The following conversation with my 5-year old son, started with this question out of the blue:
"How did Earth start?"
I started by laughing nervously while driving my car. I mean, where did that come from? here we go again, baffled and amused...
So I started by telling him people believe different things and that I'm not even sure exactly what other beliefs may be out there. Essentially, I prefaced this conversation with the notion, that we really don't know the answer to this question, but everybody has there own belief. I've talked to him like this before when discussing heaven, reincarnation, death, etc. Yes, we have these conversations!
To answer his question, I started with the Big Bang theory. Some people think that billions of years ago, there was this big bang in the galaxy far, far away and poof, Earth was created. We pictured what that would look like in the galaxy and shared our thoughts.
Then I moved onto the Biblical theory. Yes, to me it's a theory, a mythical story. I told you to read the Blog Disclaimer first. Anyway, so I explained to him that some people believe God created Earth. That God said one day "Let there be light," and the next day, "let there be the sun, the moon, and the stars" and then "let there be animals and fish" and finally "let there be a boy and a girl." Or something like that. Yes, I know it's not a complete full version of the biblical story, but I was in a car and did not have Google handy. He got the point though and asked a really good question:
"Who is God?"
I laugh again. Oy,"Who is God?" he asks. Seriously?! Okay so I tell him that people believe different things about God. But mostly that God is believed to be the creator of Earth, a father. That God is everywhere, knows everything, and is powerful. Some people don't necessarily believe in God, but a form of God, that is not a person, but a powerful, energy source. I was really just babbling at this point. I tried to give him all view points to the best of my ability. I started to wonder if any of this was sinking in, when he then says:
"I want to create an Earth too!"
Laughing again....thinking great, now my son wants to be a God. So now I turn the tables on him.
"How do you think Earth was created?"
Oh, the places he goes....
One version he gave me was:
"Maybe heaven sent down babies on Earth." he tries to figure out.
I wonder out loud, "How did the heavens start?"
He reacts quickly almost like saying 'oh that's easy mom,' he says "people from Pluto came to heaven."
"Oh! And where is Pluto?" I ask curiously.
He says, "In the galaxy. On pluto there are dogs and one is named Pluto."
How do you not crack up hysterically...
He adds "There are also cats on Pluto."
I changed the subject on him to talk about Dinosaurs on Earth. Yes, I don't know what I was thinking, a conversation about evolution with a 5-year old. Luckily, I just kept it fun and light hearted. We talked about how dinosaurs were living on earth billions of years ago before us. Then HE talked about the fossils that are found now by paleontologists. He loves dinosaurs and apparently knows more about dinosaurs than I thought.
Then, I moved the subject back to how Earth was created and asked him for another theory of his. This has to be my favorite theory:
"There was a picture of a girl and a boy holding hands. In the picture, there was grass and flowers on the ground. The sun was at the top of the picture. It was a magic picture and it turned into real Earth."
Stunned by this idea, I had to ask, "Was the boy and girl named Adam and Eve?" I'm laughing as I ask this question, but also wondering if he's learning ideas from elsewhere.
He said, "No, Adis and Owen" (I don't even think we know an Adis and Owen.)
So naturally, I asked "who drew this painting?"
"An artist named Mathew" he says confidently. (Loving it!)
"Where was this artist drawing this picture if Earth was not created yet?"
He says without doubt, "in a rocket ship far away in the galaxy."
Now I wonder if his theory is getting mixed up with Super-Man and a magicians trick. Too funny! Where does a 5 year old come up with this stuff?
This conversation was approximately 20 minutes. I am not sure I gave the details, creativeness, and humor we had in this conversation the justice it is due. At one point, I had to start taking notes; it was just too good. He asked me if I was writing what he said down. I said, "Yes! I want to share your ideas with you when you get older! You will love it" And that's when I noticed a sense of pride and pleasure on his face (that I was writing it down).
I freaking love this kid!!!!
Reminder to self: Show this blog to Mathew when he's 10 years old, then again at 20 :)
Our family dog, Bear, passed away late last night from a turned over stomach. He was a gentle giant. He was so caring and loving and sweet. He was vocal, but not annoying vocal, more like I'm talking to you or singing with you kinda vocal (okay maybe sometimes annoying). He was always in the way just cause he always wanted to be a part of everything. He was always stepping on our toes and jumping on our shoulders. He went bezerk when we clapped. He knew before I even pulled into the driveway, that we were there. He was amazing! And his love for Mathew was infinite!
Mathew and Bear were best buddies. They loved playing together, running around the house, hugging, hiding, and laughing. Bear was always so perfectly kind to him, considering Bear was close to 100 pounds. Bear was his ultimate bodyguard. If you picked Mathew up for a hug, you were bound to get jumped on by Bear. "Let him go!" Or if you tickled Mathew or chased after Mathew, Bear would bark at you! "Stop it!" One time, Bear cornered me against the wall to protect Mathew. I could not get passed Bear and I seriously tried. You had to be there to see it. We all knew Bear's love for Mathew was unique and immeasurable! And I know the feeling was the same in reverse. That's why telling Mathew is going to break my heart in a little million pieces.
I already feel guilty for lying to Mathew this morning. I told him that Bear is sick and at the vet's office. I figured slowly peeling the bandaid off is better than ripping it off. Ironically, I told Mathew a couple days ago to just rip the bandaid off (literally). So why am I "setting" him up with this lie? Should I have told him in one shot? I know I have to tell him the final truth before Sunday. We visit the family every Sunday. And this Sunday, Bear won't be there! The house will be empty without the maniac dog. It will be too quiet without him speaking to us. No dog to step on our toes or give us bear hugs. And mostly, Mathew will no longer have his friend or his bodyguard.
This is all just too much. We already lost our own dog, Harley, then my brother Robin, and now Bear. A little kid shouldn't have to deal with so much loss. I pray Mathew's big heart will be strong enough for all of it!
"I arrogantly believe that strong faith, compassion, and spirituality needs no organized religion." - my quote
When asked what my stand was on "religion" after reading this quote on my facebook page, I simply said:
I'm not anti-organized religion. But I do think it should be a choice, not forced by birth. I feel that religion should be personal and internal. I understand that there are some, if not many, people that benefit and need organized religion. I think religion is altruistically, inherently "good." I actually really believe religion could be so much more powerful than it is now. Operated and created by men plus altruistic and inherently good equals an oxymoron. That's why if you make your religion personal, it can stay pure and intrinsically beautiful. To me, god is in the eye of the beholder. There's no right or wrong religion cause no one can scientifically prove their beliefs. It's technically all mythical, fictional, fairytale. But in the end, we all need belief, hope, and faith in something even if it's not explained by science. Some call it religion. I simply call it faith. Why does it have to labeled? I am a strong believer (maybe even more than those who go to church every week). What is it that I believe in? It's personal. It can't be explained just like religion can't be. It can't be proven or held in your hands, but it doesn't make it less real to me. I don't feel the need to have to explain it to anyone (except my son someday). Isn't believing in something more powerful than us, enough. Isn't feeling connected to the earth's energy better than feeling connected to a statue? I know my beliefs are real cause they're mine. I'm not judging you or your religion, on the contrary I respect those with strong belief systems and for knowing what is personal to them. Look within yourself and ask "are your beliefs your own?"
Looking back after my brother passed away...I learned how strong my faith really is. I was tested, I was pushed and faced with something that didn't make sense, that makes anyone question life, the meaning of it, and even if there could really be a god. I can say with strong conviction and arrogance, my faith is strong and it didn't come from a religion! I know for ME, I don't need a religion. Do I think religion is a bad thing, no (definitely no). But find the religion or belief system that's in your heart not what's been molded in your head. It is my opinion that your faith in something/anything is only as strong as your personal belief in it. If you were born and raised catholic, your faith to that religion won't be strong, committed, or real until the day you decide that this religion is YOUR personal belief. That's why I say my religion is personal. We are all looking for something to believe in...just remember it doesn't have to be defined by an organized religion.
If your religion or belief system is personal to you, you've found spirituality that no one can touch. Faith can't be taught, it must be felt.