Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bedside prayer

Last night I put Brielle to bed an hour late.

This is hardly an aberration. But usually it happens because they’ve fought more, kicked the pajamas off an extra time or two, gritted the teeth harder than normal through tooth-brushing time, and come up with more creative excuses to keep us waiting on them once they’re in bed.

But this time, child and parent both lost an hour of sleep just because I could not resist lingering with Brielle for the sublime conversation she had to offer.

The twins were down, and Mommy was down the mountain at her women’s Bible study, leaving just Daddy and the girl who first named me that. Kneeling by her bed, I had just told the parable of the talents, and had broken down how God shares so much good stuff with us, and wants us to use it, not bury it.

Brielle was pensive. “We use a lot of God’s stuff,” she observed.

Verdad, Brielle. All the stuff we have is God’s, and He likes when we use it for good things,” I agreed.

“Yeah.” She laughed and stared ahead, lips pursed, her deep thinking evidenced by the tiny movements of her cheeks and jaw. “And God is even a girl too.”

I smiled. “Yeah, Brielle. God is way too big to be just a boy or just a girl. He is everything,” I chimed in, delighted that she had already surpassed most of the Christian church in her thinking on the gender of God, but wondering how.

Somehow the topic turned to the Second Coming of Christ, more popular than ever since losing two Papas and a kitty. I said something about the nonlinear growth we would experience when Jesus came and completed our ultimate transformation. Only I think I told her we would not do bad things anymore or have ouchies anymore because Jesus would do magic on us.

At this, her eyes glowed, cheeks swelling the way Ashlyn’s do when she is imagining herself to be a bride. “I can’t wait for God to do stuff to us. He might even give us wings, I think.”

“Maybe He will. Or maybe He will teach us to fly without wings, like Jesus can.” I have this irrational burden to prevent her from disillusionment if heaven’s transformations do not include wings.

Presently we were on to angels. She pointed at a spot on her pillow about six inches from where she sat. “Our angel is RIGHT-THERE,” she said, the last two words running together. She grinned—“RIGHT-THERE,” and giggled. “Our angel is right next to us and God is in our heart. And God is everywhere. God is even in my shirt.” She pulled her pajama top away from her and spoke through the neck toward her belly button. “Hi, God! Where are you? God! Where are you?” She giggled some more, and then turned back to a more sober question.

“Why is God everywhere but we can’t see Him?”

No response from Daddy beyond a mystified sigh.

“Daddy, why is God everywhere but we can’t see Him?”

I wasn’t going to get away with pleading the fifth. “I don’t know, Brielle.” I searched my heart for what I really believe about this, and realized that to this question I have no satisfying answer. Another sigh. “Maybe it’s because God is so big and strong and bright that it would scare us if we really saw Him. It would hurt our eyes. We can see God in people when they love like Jesus does. But sometimes I really do wish I could see God more right now with my eyes.”

“I think when we go to heaven God will give us eyes that are strong so we can see really bright stuff and it won’t be ouchy.”

Sí, Brielle. I think He will. Jesus even told us that if our eyes are good, our whole body will be full of light. But if they are bad our whole body will be full of darkness.” As cool as that verse is to me, it was kind of a non sequitur here, I realized, so I didn’t bother preaching it further.

Brielle offered me another paradigm. “I think God is like electricity.”

I liked this. “You do? Why?”

“Because electricity has power and God has power.”

“Yeah, Brielle. That’s right. And even though you can’t see electricity, it works—just like God.”

“Uh-huh,” said Brielle, relieved, I’m sure, that I was catching on.

Somewhere around 10 p.m, the back door opened and Rachelle walked in. Sheepish about how late I had our daughter awake, I moved toward prayer.

Actually, we moved our prayer on to its next breath.

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