Wednesday, June 20, 2007

“Religions die when they are proved to be true. Science is the record of dead religions.” Oscar Wilde

"Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. Wish I may, wish I might, may I have my wish tonight," I recited to Riley as she admired Venus in the twilight.

She closed her eyes and clasped her hands under her chin. "I wish Aunt Gail were here," she said and then threw her hands up to the sky.

I walked over and fell to my knees in front of her, holding her shoulders.

"Me too, baby," I said and kissed her while tears welled up.

"That's where Aunt Gail is, right?" she wondered, looking up again.

"Yeah," I sniffled, "She's watching over us."

"That's nice," she said.

"Yes," I said, straightening and taking her hand, "It is."

We walked to the house and I wondered to myself about the fib. Venus isn't a star, of course. Hell, it might not even have been Venus. Should I have been truthful and taken that moment to explain, no, sorry Honey, that's a planet not a star? No, I decided; she can discover the science of it later, when she's a little less raw from the loss. I don't think it will do her any harm to believe this. I remember wishing on that bright light myself as a child. I still do, truth be told.

Was the fib that Gail is watching over us? I have no proof of that, though I feel in my bones that she is. In my mind and heart, she's very nearby. There are moments when I can see her in the passenger seat of my uncle's Land Rover. I can hear her opening the door to my Grandma's house and calling out "Hello." I can sense her laughter around the fringes of us. But that's not proof, not scientific. But it is the truth to me.

Comforted by my reasoning, I spoke no further words on the subject. I felt no duty to strip away whatever illusion Riley and I were sharing and reveal the "truth." So what, we wished on planets rather than stars? So what, we believe our ancestors are watching over us from the beyond? Believing in the illogical or impossible helps to take the sting out of life's great pains. This faith that wishes can come true and that there is benevolence in the world makes the intolerable tolerable.

Logically, I don't have a reason for why I believe in God, in guiding spirits, in miracles. And I don't have to have a logical reason, formed in syllogism either. My heart gives me proof enough, formed from its own mysterious logic, which doesn't adhere to scientific method. My heart tells me that God exists when I sing to Him, when I listen to Mozart's Requiem, when my child says something profound, when I see my friends taking care of each other. I feel my heart reverberate when He is nearby.

I don't want to be a party to the scraping away the wonderful in this world like so much flaked paint; not for Riley, nor for anyone else. I plan on keeping my eyes peeled for incidences of goodness and love, which are evidence enough for my heart that there is a God. My way of checking that He's still around, if hidden. I also plan on keeping in check the incidences of chaos and evil, when it is in my power to do so, and not aiding those forces with my own hand. I will adhere to Rule number one in my house: To do no harm.

Hopefully, my choice to extend Riley's innocence and encourage her faith won't come back to bite me later. I hope she won't be angry with me. If she does complain, I will understand but not apologize.


  1. damnit. First Evil Genius, and now you! How the hell are we supposed to throw Mt. Hood into the ocean when all my apostles fall away?!?

    ::harumph:: (THAT one was for Chris)

    Actually, this was beautiful, you know, and i wish I had more time to respond, but we just hit Orlan(dil)do and the rest of the day is gogogo.

    BUT that's OK because I think I can use this stuff to my textual advantage; I feel lots of loose God Talk threads weaving themselves together...

    BUT, enuff 'bout me.

    I once read in some cranky athiest publication that non-believers should tell their children that Santa Claus does not exist, either, 'cuz there's no empirical proof for HIS existance either. true enough, but, as you said some time ago, where's the magic in the world, then??

    Good stuff.

  2. That was beautiful Flannery.

    This is what religion is to me, believing that there are things we don't understand, but believe in.

    Believing that there are spirits watching over us.

    Believing that there really is still kindness in the world, and all you have to do to find it is look in a childs eyes.

  3. That's a wonderful piece.

    Athiest here, but that being said, I have had much use for heaven in the last couple of years as two family members have passed. We don't want to hide death from our children, but there is no need to alarm them with ideas they cannot understand yet. So, heaven is the place our loved ones go. When they ask for more of an explaination, we can sit down and talk it over.

  4. My God Is

    My God is as the gentle spring rain
    My God presents itself again and again.

    My God gives us both day and night
    My God of vision even without sight.

    My God the giver of our eternal sun
    My God of multiplicity and also one.

    My God of sky, land and water
    My God for the creation of each son and daughter.

    My God of self and also others
    My God of family with sisters and brothers.

    My God for this journey I serve
    My God for life I do not deserve.

    My God for those I loved and those I touched
    My God as for you; I loved them very much.

    My God at this journey's end
    My God forgive and your love send

    1-31-06 Aho Speaks.

  5. If I was a better human, I'd parent more like you.

  6. As you know, this made me cry. Beautiful!

  7. I'll say it also... beautiful.

  8. You are a good mum. I aim to be like you.

  9. Very lovely and well-written. I, too, believe in God and don't need any reason to do so. I've had arguments with my father and sister, who both think that if you believe in God, then you have to believe EVERYTHING in the Bible, which I think is ridiculous. The way I see it, my faith is stronger than people who have it because of a book...I don't need all of those stories to believe in a higher power.

  10. Flannery,

    Beautiful post. I may or may not have gotten a little choked up.

    Directing wishes toward planetary objects as opposed to stellar objects is irrelevant (see quote below.) The important thing is that you allow yourself the freedom to move beyond logic.

    Big Orange,

    Was the "harumph" directed toward me, or some other Chris? Does anyone have an accurate count of how many guys named Chris there are in this immediate/extended blog circle?


    "I saw two shooting stars last night/ I wished on them, but they were only satellites/Is it wrong to wish on space hardware?/I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care"

    -Billy Bragg

  11. What the world needs now is love, sweet...I mean magic. Like yours. And a Coke. Beautiful.

  12. Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

  13. IMO (and everyone has at least one opinion and an asshole, right?), Aunt Gail is most certainly looking over. I wish I could understand 'where', but it just isn't for us to know right now. We understand physical stuff, but it is much more difficult to just *know* that there is some other 'place'. But I know, I really, really *know* that my mom is here. I *feel* her. It is not my memory of her. It is her. I know how she felt. I wish I could feel her cheek against mine, but I can feel *her* - not the physical part, but the 'other' part. What convinces me more is that one of my children actually saw her - a couple of times, but it stopped when it freaked her out. I have posted about it, but I have no clue how to link it here!

    Loved your post!

  14. I know Grant Miller. That is why I married her.


  15. Thanks, everyone for your comments.

    And, Bubbles, I'm on my way to visit your site; thanks for stopping!

  16. Yes, very nice post. BTW, a planet is a star, so you didn't even lie to her.

    Sorry for your loss.

    Not that it's much of a consolation, but your link is FINALLY up at CPW. And Doc's.

  17. Thank you, CP. Though I was bracing myself for some abuse. What happened to that idea?

  18. I haven't had to deal with the loss of anything more significant than a goldfish with [Son #1], and I'm not looking forward to the day. Hopefully I can deal with it with the same grace you have displayed.

  19. Thank you for speaking so eloquently about faith and possibility. I couldn't agree with you more.