Saturday, February 14, 2009

What children say at times like this


Yesterday my son asked me:
"Who invented dying?"

He is very interested in the difference between nature and God--and whether there is a difference, and if there is a God, what form he/she/it might take.

"I suppose nature invented dying," I answered, with all the authority of someone increasingly at a loss to explain anything.

"Well, I don't really like it that nature did that," he said.

And we all knew just what he meant.

2 comments:

Damon said...

Yes, it's difficult - crushing, at times.

Today I had to explain why the lioness had the bloodied, broken neck of a baby zebra in its mouth.

Yesterday it was about fire, and asphyxiation, and...

Yet it can also be heartening.

The world of children can be so sanitised; so happy-happy joy-joy, Hi-5. Perhaps rightly so: there's more than enough time for horror and anxiety.

But when Nikos asks about death, or war, or deprivation, or loneliness (asks with those big, wide, shining eyes), I feel we're getting to the marrow of life.

(And then he'll say something gaspingly sweet like: "That lion is the Tawny-Scrawny Lion, and he'll eat carrots," or "Well, I'll rebuild their broken houses.")

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