Monday, March 29, 2010

Gaining my religion

If these blogs seem too focused on faith and belief, please know that it was not my intention for this week. It just so happens that most of the conversations I've been having with old and young alike have been, in some very direct way, linked to that part of the brain that thinks it can explain the mysteries of faith, life, death and miracles. To which my response is a "Keep trying, but by the way, good f*cking luck." Like we would know how to sort that business out. C'mon.

At the breakfast table (which doubles as the dinner table as well, depending on where the sun is in the sky, or what's on the plate), I told the kids they only had four days of school this week because of Good Friday.
"What's Good Friday," Anna asked. She was probably anticipating that it was some kind of gifty holiday.
"It's the day that Christ was nailed to the cross."
"Ugh, that doesn't sound very good at all! Why do they even call it that if that was the day he died?"
"Well, I suppose because he gave his life so that we could be free of sin."
"What's sin?"
I stopped at this one, wanting to keep it simple. I mean, that's the last thing that we would need this week, more anxiety-based insomnia, this time rooted in the fear of sin. Sins of a third-grader to be exact.
"It's when you do something wrong. Like kill someone, or try to hurt someone."
"Do you believe in that whole Good Friday thing?" Now she was hooked and curious and I knew, given my teacher's/mother's intuition that this moment was crucial.
"Um, well, I was raised a bit differently. My father took us to church. We were Methodists. But my grandmother told me that a great spirit was all around me, especially in nature, and that I had to take care and keep things balanced. She told me I was never alone, even at night, even in the rain."
"I like that," Anna said, stuffing another bite of egg in her mouth.
"Yeah, I like it, too. It makes sense to me."
"I think I'm a BuChris," she said thoughtfully.
"A what?"
"A BuChris. A Buddhist Christian. I think that's what I am. There are things that I like about both of those ideas. I'll let you know for sure. Maybe by Easter."
"No rush," I said, stunned and wholly impressed that my daughter, whose roots grab somewhere in Africa and somewhere in the Carolinas and somewhere in France, who has two "fathers" and several mothers, who wonders about death and revels in life, who cannot stand cruelty in any form, has taken it upon herself to follow the truth in whatever form it comes in.
I just won't mention the "Tibetan Book of the Dead," at least not for a couple more years.

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