“God created you to create me.”

One day on the way to pre-school with my son Eugene, who was four at the time, he started asking me if God created the houses. I explained that God created people and that people created the houses. He asked if God created trees, then asked about roads, birds, and finally, of all things, poodles. I explained with amusement which things were God’s creations and which were men’s creations. I was thoroughly enjoying his intensity and intelligence this particular morning. Eugene is an exceptionally bright child who has been through his own hell already. He then asked me if God had made him. I explained that God made him up in heaven and then he was in my tummy until it was time to be born. Without missing a beat, he said to me “So then God created you to create me.” I had no better answer than, “Yeah, Buddy, I guess you’re right. He did.”

After all that my Eugene and I have been through, it is always his insightful little soul that catches me so off guard. That one matter-of-fact statement about God’s creation from a child of four who had just had his feeding tube removed had somehow summed up years of soul-searching, intellectualizing, rationalizing, and agonizing over why God had put me on this earth. I always told myself that to have created me as one crazy, screwed up, self-deluded, self-hating individual, He must have also created bourbon and had a few on the day He made me. Then I had kids.

Kids are God’s way of telling you to lighten up. Kids teach you that rain is good, mud is better, and puddles are the best. Watching them, you learn that dogs make great therapists since they listen, look interested, and yet you still have to figure out your own solutions. Kids also get you to look at your faith. Really, really look at your faith and no, not that religion that you have practiced for years without giving it much thought. They ask hard questions about what you actually believe about God, life, death, creation, prayer, and heaven. I think I missed a couple chapters in the parenting books I read when I was pregnant, because I was totally unprepared for those questions. And yet, I think maybe kids are also God’s way of telling you to quit fooling around with just doing religion and get on with exploring and expanding your faith.

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