Whenever my daughter starts talking about God, I try really hard to treat it like any other ordinary subject. But, inside, you can be sure I'm doing one of those Napoleon Dynamite "yesss" fist pumps — because, chances are, if one of our God conversations lasts more than a few seconds, I've got myself a blog post. You know where I'm going with this.
On Friday, Maxine had a playdate with a good friend of hers (who I love dearly and whose mother happens to be a good friend of mine). Both girls are in kindergarten, though they attend different schools. At one point, when I was out of the room, one of them must have broached the subject of God because when I returned a few minutes later, the friend asked me: "Is it true that Maxine believes in God four days and doesn't believe in God three days."
Now, I'm not sure if I've mentioned this to you already, but this split-week business has been Maxine's position for the last several months now. Such the diplomat, this child. Or maybe she's hedging her bets.
Anyway, the conversation went like this:
Friend: Is it true that Maxine believes in God four days and doesn't believe in God three days?
Maxine: Told ya.
Friend: I believe in God.
Me: Do you?
Friend: Yes, because babies are born every day.
Me: Oh yeah, and God makes babies, right?
Friend: Yes, God makes all the babies. Do you believe in God?
Me: No, I don't.
Maxine: Told ya.
Friend: Why not?
Me: Well, I just don't, I guess. I've never seen God.
Friend: I haven't seen God either, but I believe in him.
Maxine: I've never seen God because God is invisible.
Me: Right, and you can either believe in God or not believe in God.
Friend: But if you don't believe in God, maybe he will be sad.
Me: You think it might make him sad?
Friend: Yes, it might.
Maxine: I wish a policeman would stand up and say into a microphone "God is real!" or "God is not real!"
Me: That would be great.
Maxine: Does your mom believe in God?
Friend: Yes, my whole family believes in God. Even my cat believes in God.
Maxine: Does your lizard believe in God?
[Note: Friend does not own a lizard.]
Maxine and friend: Hahahahahahaha.
I spent the rest of the day in awe of these two children. I kept thinking about how they were walking, laughing illustrations of a near-perfect future: Two human beings able to discuss their own unique beliefs with curiosity, mutual respect, compassion and humor. I was so proud of both of them, and all they were doing was being themselves.
As soon as humanly possible, I ducked into my office to write all this down. I couldn't quite remember what it is the policeman was to have said, so I popped back in on the pair — now happily engaged in Barbies — and asked Maxine to remind me. She did, and I left.
When I was barely out of the room, I heard Maxine say to her friend: "She's going to write that down. When I say things cute, she writes it down."
Does anything get by this kid?