I don’t know why, but it never really occurred to me that my kids would be deep thinkers when they’re little. I thought that the only things they thought about were what they wanted, what they weren’t getting that they wanted, and what they could get away with.
In the last little while I’ve become acutely aware that I was wrong. Just last week I was leaning over the couch to see what Catherine and Zoe were doing and Zoe’s head came up fast and smashed into my cheek bone. I said ‘ouch’ and walked away. By the time I got to the kitchen, Zoe was standing up on the couch and facing me. She asked, “You hurt?” I told her yes I was hurt. She sat back down. I filled my water glass. She jumped up again, “You okay?” I assured her I was okay. She never stops asking until we assure her we’re okay. She plunked herself back down. I filled the kettle and turned it on. She jumps up for the third time. “Mommy, I sorry.” Ok, who are you and what have you done with my Zoe? 🙂 Normally when we ask her to say sorry for hurting someone she bursts into tears!
For some reason, over the last two days I’ve been thinking a lot about the questions Bernadette use to ask; questions like “Why did God make mosquitoes or birds or the sky or me?” or “Do you think God is sad when . . . ?” “What makes God happy?” Most of her questions started with “Why did God . . . . .?” None of the other kids ever asked questions about God when they were five and six years old! Now I can’t help but wonder if maybe her spirit knew it was being called home and was getting ready. She asked a lot of questions. I hope I answered them right.
Catherine has come out with a couple comments over the last few weeks that have made me realize that she’s been doing some deep thinking too. Then again, she will be eleven in a couple weeks, it shouldn’t surprise me. Last week, out of the blue, she told me that she certainly wouldn’t mind if Jesus came and took her home because then she’d be with Bernadette again. She wasn’t overly keen at the idea of dying, she explained, just that she’d do it if it meant being with Bernadette.
Tonight she came out with another one that blew me away. We were up in my room camping out and playing while Marc and Johanna watched the new Star Wars movie downstairs. Zoe was sitting on my lap barking orders at Catherine and it struck me like it does a lot these days, how much she’s looking more and more like Bernadette. I mentioned it to Catherine and asked her if she thought so too and she said she thinks about it every day. Then she said, “Do you remember a long time ago, you asked me if I was mad at God for taking Bernadette home? At the time I didn’t have an answer but now I do.” Oh, I said, and what is your answer? She replied, “I’m sure God had a perfectly good reason.” Wow. Out of the mouths of babes!!!!
A few things really struck me hard after that very brief conversation. First, that every day Catherine thinks about how much Zoe looks like Bernadette. Maybe tomorrow I’ll ask her how she feels about it. The next thing was that Catherine would still be thinking about my question after all this time and searching for an answer. Wow. And thirdly, I was appalled that I asked her such a question in the first place! What was I thinking!!!!!!!!!!!! Later, when I was telling Johanna about it she said my struggle with God was no secret so it only made sense for me to ask Catherine if she struggled too. Then I remembered… it was a day when Catherine was having a hard time with being alone and I was asking God why He took Bernadette away from Catherine. They were so close and played together almost constantly and it broke my heart to see Catherine so sad, lost, and alone. I must have been thinking about it and it just came out. Now I realize that I was wrong to ask her the way I did and that it could have planted seeds in Catherine that could affect her relationship with God as she grows up. I’ll have to be very careful in the future how I ask her questions. If I would like to know how she’s doing, my questions need to be open and non-suggestive so as to not give her any wrong ideas.
I’m just thankful for her child-like faith in God that she would trust that He had a perfectly good reason for taking Bernadette home and she was okay with it. I pray for that same child-like trust and acceptance.
Thank you Patti for blessing me today. Another inspiring story.
Thanks for the reminders.
I am visiting with a man named Hugo who is in palliative care at too young an age – yep cancer. I met him through his son who is discerning his call to religious life. I have visited and prayed regularly with Hugo and his family after we received this diagnosis of cancer a year ago. I must admit that I am just a little mad that God is allowing this wonderful husband and dad of four great children to die – and not only that but to die a slow and increasingly painful death. I will continue to pray, and you all could pray for me, that I will get to that stage of Catherine, that “God has a perfectly good reason.”