How did God make the sky?
How was God made?
Some pretty deep questions for a Monday morning, courtesy of my 9-year-old. My response: “It sure is a mystery, hey bud?” Not exactly the inspired or clever response he was hoping for I don’t think.
On a Monday morning, I do not have the capacity for deep theological musings, but I suspect he was not looking for such a response. At 9, he has a very logical, sequential thought process. We can build a house, and plant a seed to grow a tree, but how would you make the sky? Something that is always there, has always been there, but you can’t see how it is made.
These questions, about the sky, and about the nature of God, feel existential and philosophical to me, but
to him, they’re just about science and fact: How, mommy? At the same time, he still believes in the power of magic, and accepts that not everything can be explained. What a wonderful time!
My slightly older son asks tougher questions, asking me to define all sorts of interesting words, and dipping our toes into more adult topics, but fortunately is still satisfied with fairly basic, technical, responses.
These questions, and many more, will become more frequent and the responses more important,
I believe, as time goes on. They will question everything about our faith, probably at the same time they question all our rules and challenge every decision we make. While the baby and toddler days are behind us, the biggest challenges lie ahead: navigating puberty and the teen years, the existential crises that will arise, friendships and relationships, independence and body autonomy, their desire to make their own way in the world.
As parents we will be held to account for our actions and decisions, and we will be required to provide some basis for why we do the things we do. “Just because” will not be a sufficient response. Nor will “it’s a mystery”. We will need to find ways to articulate our beliefs and provide solid reasoning and evidence to support all these things.
I hope we are entering into our new normal with COVID-19 as part of life, so that we can get back to normal routines, maybe spend a whole year actually in school, being more actively involved in our faith community and learning as a family how to adapt to the changing times ahead.
I hope my kids always feel comfortable asking the tough questions, even when they make me uncomfortable, and boy do some of them make me uncomfortable. I will always try to answer as honestly and authentically as possible, because I feel that is the right thing to do. My days of deferring to the great mystery and magic of life may be coming to an end, but there is so much more to explore that I look forward to the journey. I hope you will come along for the ride.