At dinner last night, my three year old daughter asked her Daddy if Mommy was right, was he indeed only joking when he told her she couldn’t eat any more because she had to stay little and not grow anymore? Then finishing her dinner for once, she went over her plan for her life. She has already declared with great urgency and to the exclusion of all other possibilities that she must grow up and have babies. Lots of babies. Apparently, she won’t have any time for anything else in her life, like traveling or learning gymnastics. Then her poor little mind turns to, as she sees it, the immediately successive events of growing old and dying. It’s amazing how such a new little mind of her age grasps these ideas so well, with only a few oddities thrown in, like how she thinks when you grow old, you should get small again like a baby.
Then she says, “Daddy, I need the magic bread so I don’t die.”
Daddy: “What magic bread, sweetheart?”
Daughter: “The one at Church, silly! With Jesus in it. So I can live forever.”
Daddy: “Oh! Yes, you’re right.”
We’ve explained to her, as we did again, that we all have to die, but it’s alright. Jesus brings us back again.
Daughter: “But there’s not enough room in our house! Can Jesus stay with us?”
Daddy: “Of course, honey! there will be plenty of room for everyone. In fact, Jesus staying with us is the reason we can come back.”
When it gets too complicated, she usually heavy sighs, head in hands and finalizes it with, “But, I just don’t want to die.”
Neither do I, sweetie. We weren’t made to die. And though we have the hope of the resurrection, the great unknown still scares me.
I wish that I could stop all the painful little realities of life from affecting my babies. I have hope to offer them, but there is so much difficulty that they will go through before they see it. What more, although I wish it weren’t necessary, I wouldn’t stop the pains of life for them if I could. Adversity is good for them, shaping them into better people, which is more important than living an easy, pleasant life. Which is also why God the Father allows us to make our own messes. We’re on Earth for a reason. From beginning to end, we change, which could mean our eternal salvation or eternal damnation. At least my daughter has already figured out that her recourse is to Christ in the Eucharist. Beautiful, with a tinge of sadness.