So when I dropped Lily at school this morning, her teacher approached me with this irrepressable smile. She said, "I just need to tell you this thing that Lily did yesterday, it was so cute..."
I love teacher conversations that start like this.
"Well," said the teacher, "She was having a tea party with two other girls and before they had their tea, she said, 'let's say grace'. And she made them all hold hands around the table, and she led them in a prayer."
My heart was swollen for a second, because sometimes I get glimpses of my child and who she is in the world apart from me and I'm reminded that I'm actually doing things right.
So I smiled. "Yes," I said, "We say grace before dinner."
As a recovering Catholic, I tread lightly in the area of religion. Spirituality, though, I am drenched in. I like to think that as parents, we are teaching Lily to honor and respect the universe and everything it, as well as the unseen, the unexplainable. We are teaching her to have faith, and above all, gratitude. To stop and reflect on how lucky she is to live in abundance, to have so much love in her life, and to remember how important it is to be kind and loving to those around her.
I guess the spiritual foundation we are giving her is grounded somewhat in Christian principles. Sure, why not? Lily knows who Jesus was. She knows he lived a long time ago, that he was a very good man. That he loved everyone, no matter how much they might be dicking him over. But I don't make him out to be magical, like the Doug Henning of The Holy Land or something. And the whole son-of-god thing? No, don't quite buy that. But that's just me.
The teacher I'm referring to though is waaaaay religious. I think her husband is a minister. So she took my acknowledgement of our family's spirituality as an admission of my own religious fortitude. She saw me as an ally now and someone to whom she could, er, speak frankly.
"Well," she said, fingering the little gold cross around her neck. "I'm just so glad to hear you say that. You know, as Christians, we have to remember to be forthright and assert our beliefs!"
I nodded hesitantly. Uh-oh.
"We must remember that our community is getting smaller and smaller!And we have to fight to be able to show the world what we believe in! No matter what people think!"
She went on and on for quite a while. I didn't have the heart to redirect her, to tell her that in actuality, I didn't know how I felt about religion. That just because my daughter likes to say a prayer of thanks before a meal or an imaginary tea party, that doesn't necessarily identify us as anything except good, grateful people. But I didn't say this. For a couple of reasons.
First, I was kind of intimidated by her. Maybe it's cowardice, but I have never really gotten that whole us-vs.-them attitude held by the extremely religious. I didn't want to shut her down, and I thought that if I didn't agree with her, she'd assume that I was against her. I wanted her to feel free to express herself. Probably I was just being a pussy.
Also, and this is the weird thing, it was oddly cool to be acknowledged in this way by a person of such tremendous faith. It was kind of nice to try that on for a few minutes, to pretend that I, too, had strong connections to a community like that. I don't, really. And it was kind of nice to pretend that I did. Even for a brief moment. What would it be like to be that filled with the holy spirit? Man, it might actually be nice. Anyway. Something to ponder for a Friday.
3 days ago