Tuesday, March 08, 2005


We find sometimes a delight in the beauty & happiness of our children that makes the heart too big for the body.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1848.

It's all well and good to talk about religion and spirituality, but the rubber hits the road when you are up in the middle in the night with a sick child. Fortunately, in this case I just mean your garden variety fever childhood illness, not anything truly serious.

For her unfortunately it is something larger. It's been a couple days now, and she really wants to know when she will be better and why she gets sick. Partly, this is because she has been blessed wih being very healthy. This appears to be her first ear infection, at the age of 5 (5 3/4 as she likes to say). Her little brother (and even her teenage brother) get sick pretty regularly, but not her.

She is starting to ask questions about god. She is learning elements of a pretty standard old man in the sky theology from her teacher at the Buddhist elementary. It's all well and good to talk about the ground of being and creatureliness, or even inherent worth and dignity, but what does Unitarian Universalism say to a disoriented, feverish child at two in the morning?

Maybe there is no theology in the whirlwind and all our words are proverbs of ashes and all our defenses are defenses of clay. The best we can do is be as reassuring as possible.

I know this is what is implied by "inherent worth and diginity" and part of the hope in Romans 8. But that makes it even more complicated.


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