How do you best explain the concepts of faith, God, heaven and angels to kids?
During bedtime on Monday, T said in a panic that he wanted to live forever and was afraid of dying because “what if angels aren’t real?”
Since his Auntie, my sister, passed away after last Christmas, T found great comfort in the belief that she is an angel, sitting on a cloud.
The hubby doesn’t believe in God and I do – and we peacefully co-exist with our beliefs.
I have a love-hate relationship with religion. When I was a teen and came out to my church, the pastor said I needed to see a psychologist, because being gay is not normal.
That turned me off religion for many years but as an adult, I believe in God and that faith brings comfort and healing.
I separate faith from religion; the former is a personal journey, whereas the latter is organized and often creates conflict in the world – and I have no patience for that.
“I know there’s someone out there– “Has to Be” by Madonna
Waiting for me
There must be someone out there
There just has to be.”
As faith is a personal journey, I believe in helping kids ask questions to guide them through their journey, including learning about different belief systems and resisting the urge to tell them what to believe.
I’m not sure what precipitated T’s recent panic but he said he did not want to die, because he’s worried he won’t become an angel, as he’s not sure if they’re real or not.
It was late, I was tired, and I was not sure how to answer the question. So I asked him if he believed in angels, because that’s what’s important.
Then he did something that just made my heart melt, because it was so adorable.
He got out of bed, went to our room to ask Alexa, our smart home device, if angels were real. He said, “I hope she tells me they’re real, because I will cry forever if they’re not.”
God bless Alexa and her astute response was along the lines of people’s beliefs will differ based on their religion.
I thought it was a brilliant answer but T was not fully comforted by the answer. As of today, he’s still exploring this question.
And you know what, that’s ok, because it’s what makes being human so beautiful – our continued search for meaning and something bigger than us.
The following night, last night, he said something that was so touching. He said that if he became an angel, he would come down to Earth and wrap his feathers around us so we could be safe.
Life is filled with many unknowns. But I believe in this wholeheartedly: This kid drives us nuts, he has a sailor’s potty mouth – but despite his disability and challenges, he is pure and good at the core.
I have no doubt he will be a wonderful angel one day – hopefully not for a long while.