Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Lincoln Memorial and Questions About God

Hunter in front of Lincoln Memorial, age 2 years, 6 months
Hunter keeps talking about the Lincoln Memorial. It started with the other night when we watched Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian where the giant statue makes an appearance and magically comes to life.

He kept asking about it and saying he wanted to go there, and when I told him that he has already been there, when he was two, he said "But I want to go when I'm a big boy! How about we go tomorrow?"

I'm not quite sure what exactly stood out about the old statue that caused him to be so interested. But it didn't help any when, on Monday, we watched Martin Luther King Jr's famous "I Have a Dream" speech, which, of course, occurred directly in front of Hunter's new favorite statue.

We talked about Lincoln's emancipation proclamation and then about the civil rights movement, etc. Later on, he brought up Lincoln again, and asked me if he was really real.

Then he had to get all theological on me.

When I told him that, yes, Lincoln was real but he is dead now, he started pouring out all those kinds of questions that aren't exactly easy to answer no matter how old you are.

"Why did he have to die?" "Can he come back?" "If I ask God to bring him back, will he?"

I sort of half-way answered his questions, and then a couple minutes later, came back into the room, when Hunter, quite sincerely, told me, "I prayed and asked God to bring Abraham Lincoln back. Do you think that he will?"

Um, well...

I told him that, God could bring him back if he wanted to, but he probably won't, because Abraham Lincoln's time to be on earth is over. I also told him that Lincoln probably doesn't want to come back because heaven is so much better than here. But I wasn't sure that my answers totally satisfied him or me.

See, I have this horrible fear that maybe my best explanation isn't good enough, maybe I'm not doing the best job, maybe...

But nonetheless, I continue to soldier on, hoping that somehow I am shaping this little boy's view of the world, the universe, and then men and God of it with at least some degree of accuracy. I remember reading an article on NGJ about the spiritual keenness of children, and, just as they are daily making huge strides in sorting out the physical world, they are likewise doing the same on the spiritual level. The right and wrong, the good and evil, and they do this whether or not they have religious training.

He, minutes later, as usual, continued with more questions. "Why did God make us food? Is it because we like it? How did God know that this would be my favorite food? Why did God make people?"

This boy is constantly keeping me on my toes. I just pray that, somehow, I'll be able to have at least some of the answers for him, and, more importantly, I will be able to become that which I want him to become.

"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." 
Matthew 19:14
Hunter is 4 years, 10 months old

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