Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Should Just Stop Talking

Sunday, June 13, 2010 By

Augusta, GA. - Emmie and I had just arrived at the club pool, when we saw a small dead bird on the ground, near the rocks. She gasped, hand over heart, and looked at me with enormous, sad eyes.

"Mama! What happen to da bird?"

"He died, sweetie." I didn't want to talk to her about the violence inherent in the (system) circle of life, so I hope she thinks of it as sudden and painless.

"An' den he go up to Heaven?"

"Hope so." Good enough explanation for me.

She squatted down to look at it: "An' den God frowed him back down to da ground?"

"What? No! Honey, God didn't throw the bird back down. His body stayed here. He soul went to heaven."

"His soul?"

"His spirit. The invisible force that makes us all alive." [facepalm] That sounds suspiciously like "Star Wars." Sorry, kid. Ask me later when I regrow the brain cells I killed in college.

She gasped again and whirled around, looking for something. "Inbizzible? He'd a ghost?!"

"A gho- no, honey. He's..."

And then I realized: I didn't have any idea what to tell her. I know what to tell her about what happens to the body when we die. But I don't have a formed opinion about what happens to the "rest" of us.

Do I believe in a Heaven? And, if I do, do I believe that the soul of a bird goes to Heaven? Do I believe that birds have souls? Because I know that the Presbyterian Church does not believe that animals have souls. I know that the Catholic Church believes that they do. Those are the two major religious influences in my life (mom, Presbyterian; dad, Catholic). Gee, thanks for the direct contradiction, religious upbringing.

All the rest of my knowledge about these things is purely academic. Augustine. Atman. Moksha. Descartes. Rigpa. 13 Principles of Faith. I don't have an emotional attachment to any of these ideals.

The only idea that inspires any sentiment in me is: "God, that does not forget the sparrow, would not forget a good dog like Jack." But that's from the "Little House on the Prairie" books! Is my belief system forged by pop culture?! Am I going to find myself explaining horcruxes to her?

"You know what, Emmie? I don't think I have all the answers to these questions. But I think that what's in our hearts and minds keeps going, even when the body dies, and that's part of what we call the soul. The soul is the real us, and it lives in the body..." she furrowed her brow at me. She was not interested in a meaninful discourse on the subject.

"... and I'm not making sense. But I hope that you figure out what you believe, because no one really knows for sure what happens. Including Mommy."

"I know," she declared.

"You do?"

"Yes. When we die, we don't die. We go to see Jesus. And he gibs us a big hug and sayed, 'Hullo! You in Heaven!" And den ders friends, and da friends mate you not be lonely. An' ebbrybody is happy all da time. An' ders ice cream an' candy... an' swimming!"

"That would be awesome," I said.

And she grinned: "Less go swim!"


We trotted towards the pool - but she suddenly turned and sprinted back to the bird carcass. She crouched down beside it, and before I could shriek at her not to touch it, I heard her whisper gently to it.

"Bye-bye, little birdie. I sorry you die. We see you later."


Post a Comment