Ava and I have some pretty intense conversations while she is bathing in our garden tub. She likes to spread out with lots of warm sudsy water, barbasol shaving cream in no less than three colorful stacking cups, a little tub paint in yellow red and green, and paint brushes. She calmly decorates the white walls while I lay back with a pillow and a magazine.
She is most often surprisingly low maintenance in the tub. The warm water seems to pleasantly lull her normal boisterous busy way. Of course, I do everything I can to encourage this quiet time. She has always been a water baby. She was happy from day one to soak in tubs and pools, never afraid of any water. I for one completely understand the effects of hydrotherapy, as I too have always been drawn to the magical ways of warm water.
She had been quiet for a while the other night when she started calmly telling me this story.
"Mom, did you know about this guy named Jesus?" Well, I suppose I have heard some stories, I told her. (Her recent preschool biblical stories have been challenging me lately. I would rather focus on spirituality as a whole and what it can mean for daily life and how we can approach life's challenges and journeys rather than organized religion. But I'm finding universal thoughts, simple laws of quantum physics involving space and time with regards to what appears to our eyes to be real vs. universal truth, and God as love to be diffucult concepts to share with a 4 year old, as she questions me about where EXACTLY God is. It seems admittedly easier to have a children's book laying it all out there in full color.)
She goes on to tell me her story nonetheless.
See there was this guy Jesus and there were some people who did not like him. One guy Spartacus really was mad at him. And Spartacus took Jesus to a bridge and killed him. That wasn't very nice was it? And Jesus ended up where Benny's dog, Joe ended up, in heaven. (Benny is our neighbor and his dog Joe passed away a year ago. Ben's mom told Ava and Ben one day that Joe went to heaven.)
I stopped the conversation to ask her if she might have Spartacus mixed up with a guy named Pontious and might the bridge have really been a cross? "Oh yeah, maybe you are right Mom. she said, but I still don't really know EXACTLY where heaven is." "This is important, because if Bailey (our aging dog) goes to heaven then I might need to be able to talk to her and God."
At this point trying to go back to my magazine seemed pointless. Determined to give her something more than what is in the preschool primer I tell her that she can talk to God any time she wants by becoming still and quiet. All she has to do is lay back in the tub, close her eyes and talk away. Then remain still and quiet and God will talk back.
Sort of to my surprise, she did it. She quietly laid back and arose a few minutes later. "Hey, you are right Mom it works. I did talk and I did see God. Maybe I should tell Ben so he can check up on Joe." "Uh huh baby," is all I could muster.
Next week perhaps she'll ask about the vocabulary word proselitize, until then I'm sure Ben's parents might want to tackle this one themselves.