People certainly think I’m crazy.
No, not everyone. I actually do have my friends and admirers. But there is no denying I am strange, and that’s evidenced in many ways, such as how I take my daughter’s words seriously.
No, not all of them. I do see that some of it is babble or mere repetition of what she’s heard elsewhere. But some of it is her own thought.
And some of it “sounds” different. It “sounds” “true.”
Which has nothing to do with the words themselves.
So at the risk of appearing even stranger than I already do, I want to tell you about something.
Adahlia tells me that God is a monster.
The first time she said this, I was shocked. I’m not sure if I replied at all.
Now, I do not press my experiences of God on her, for better or worse, and I do not follow a clear religious routine or faith doctrine. What I do follow is deeply personal and is a result of my own revelations. But because I do want her to feel a presence in this world, to know that many of us have felt or met something that exists, and that this “thing” does seem to care for us, I have told her a bit about God, and various faiths, and approaches to truth.
For example, one night, I told her that I love her, and that God loves her, and that God made everything, including her, and lives inside her, and within all life.
I have certainly never said that God is a monster.
But this is what she tells me.
Typically it is said very matter-of-fact. At times, I’ll admit, I’ve said, “please don’t say that; that’s not true,” because it literally pains my poor heart to hear it.
But it got me thinking: Is God monstrous?
My daughter and I were stranded this past weekend in a city where we knew no one. The SW airlines disaster. It was, in a word, horrible. An absolute debacle. So miserable there was actually a bit of humor in it. The worst Charlie-Foxtrot I’ve ever had the pleasure of participating in. (And I’ve been in the military. I’m no stranger to the CF.)
I could go on and on about how insane it was, but the bottom line is that I finally gave up and got us to a hotel room a little after 2 am. She was strangely wired, but eventually fell asleep, and we did not sleep well or long.
The next morning, lying amongst pillows and sheets, I asked her about her dreams. I like to hear her dreams; they are interesting to me, like all of her.
She replied: “God is a monster. I dreamed about God.”
Since this was perhaps the fifth time she’s told me that God is a monster, but the first time she’s told me she’s dreamt of God, I decided to try to figure out what she meant. See if her dream could provide context clues.
“What do you mean, God is a monster? Tell me about your dream.”
She repeated exactly the same information.
I pressed for more. “Do you mean He is big and powerful, like a monster? Or do you mean He is mean?”
“God is mean. He doesn’t love me,” she confirmed.
“Oh no, that just cannot be true,” I replied.
“He doesn’t want me to live on this planet anymore,” she said.
“Do you?” I asked, because recently, she has been saying she ‘doesn’t want to live on this planet’ a lot, whenever she gets very upset. Her teachers have even noticed it, and expressed concern.
She considered my question.
“God doesn’t want me to live on this planet, but I want to live on this planet!”
She then began pinching my cheeks and squiggling around and calling me ‘squishy-mama’, and I knew our conversation was over.
Adahlia is a complex little being. Just yesterday I lifted her out of a courtesy shuttle and she blinked her eyes in the sunshine, saying, “This is amazing! This is an amazing planet!”
And if someone lets her talk to him or her for even a minute, she’ll go off on how people are polluting the planet, and we must stop hurting our planet, and she is very mad at the people polluting the planet.
It’s kind of mind-blowing.
And I’m not entirely sure what to think of her assertations about God being a monster.
God certainly IS powerful. I could see how such power is perceivable as monstrous. And certainly, the Old Testament God is capable of some pretty vengeful wrath.
And I’m not saying that God doesn’t necessarily have a monstrous vengeful aspect to Him. I mean it’s God, God’s like the definition of ‘anything is possible.’
But that wasn’t the God I met. God was pretty patient with me. (And I know how to try patience.)
God chose to love me instead of crushing me like a bug.
So… What to think?
Honestly, I don’t know.
I do think it’s interesting, especially given my recent interactions with Jehovah Witnesses, who interpret the Bible as teaching that blood transfusions are forbidden, and believe that to transfuse a child with another’s blood robs God of what He is trying to claim. I wrote a Facebook post about it as an inquiry into the question of human connection, of compassion, of love.
Less than 24 hours later, my daughter, who has been told nothing and heard nothing of my conversations regarding blood transfusions and God, tells me that God doesn’t want her to live on this planet anymore.
Any way you slice it, that’s peculiar.
Well, I suppose I might be making my God angry now. Maybe it IS wrong to accept blood transfusion, and to give it to one’s child. Blood is, after all, a powerful substance. It is said to carry the spirit or soul in nearly every spiritual tradition. Despite our scientific advancements and knowledge of its biochemistry, it cannot be replicated or “faked” or substituted for. It is the yin container for our yang spirit in Chinese Medicine.
But really? God would prefer us to let our children die? We are not supposed to preserve and fight for their lives?
I find that so hard to believe.
Just as hard to believe as God being a monster.
What about the sanctity of life?
This post has no point. Like most of my wanderings, it is mostly an invitation to question.
But I don’t want my child’s God to be a monster. I want Him to love her.
And I don’t want Him to take her.
So if He wants to, I’m really super sorry, and I might pay the price for my rebellion, but I am going to go against Him. He’s going to have to take her in a way that I cannot prevent or delay.
If He really wants her, He can do it. It’s not like I can stop Him.
And if she’s really not supposed to be here, well, I gotta admit, in a way, I’m a bit jealous. What has He got in store for her? Where is she supposed to be? What is this “date” that’s so important, it can’t wait another 80 years?
Again, I’m sorry, but You gave her to me. Willful, rebellious, irreverent, goofy, fierce, me. So You had to know this might happen.
She’s Yours; always has been. Not mine; never has been. I’m her protector, not her owner. And I’m one of few moms who really believe that, who has always believed that, who’s always known it to be true in her heart, that even though this child is my soul friend and entrusted to me, that she is not mine. She belongs to herself. And, ultimately, to You.
You can take her if you really want, because I know I cannot stop You.
But if You do this sort of tug-of-war for her, I’ll go to my grave pulling on the rope.
Because You gave her to my care.
And I love her.
And if you cure her miraculously, I’ll be really, really, really happy.
(Huh? How’s that for an ending to this story?? Wouldn’t that be fun?)
You do love me, You told me so yourself, so that does kind of give credence to the idea that You’re a bit monstrous. I should think You’d let my life be a little better. Cut me some slack. Give me a break. Hold the rain. Part the clouds. Shine a little sunshine.
Things haven’t exactly gone well for me.
I’ve lost so much.
(Pretty much since meeting You, I’d like to point out.)
But I still trust You.
Which only goes to show how smart You are, because if You hadn’t let me see what I’ve seen, heard what I’ve heard, there’s no way I’d be trusting You now.
Belief stopped working for me long ago. I needed to know for myself.
You’re so smart. Monster or not, it kind of makes me love You more.