Saturday, November 16, 2013

On starting to remember....

If you search on-line the words “Tell me about God. I’m starting to forget,” you will encounter a brief story attributed to several sources.

Never mind the sources. It’s the story that matters.

Even as the story has changed with retelling, its essence remains the same.

Here’s one version:

A four-year-old boy couldn't wait for his new baby sister to come home from the hospital. He was eager to be alone with her. But his parents were reluctant to leave a four-year-old alone the infant.  Still, he kept begging, so one night his parents relented. The boy tiptoed into his sister’s room and stood next to her crib in the half-light.

The parents cracked the door, watched and listened as their son whispered,"Tell me about God - I'm starting to forget."

Not being a child, I was too self-conscious to ask the question of my new-born granddaughter 15 months ago, but, thanks to the story, the thought of doing so was with me. I found that just being in her presence “told” me about “God” (who is, for me, a verb and silence and is-ness and love. No single word can capture the eternal presence. No word can explain this gift of existence and life, be it old or new or in-between or eternal).

That’s what I’m discovering as I age. If I once “forgot 'God',” I am beginning to remember and re-experience "God," as I grow ever nearer to death.

Perhaps one day as I lay dying, my teen or adult granddaughter will ask to be left alone with me. Perhaps she will knell at my bed and whisper, “Tell me about God. I want to remember.”

She will “hear” my response in the depths of my “spoken” silence, in the eternal presence that enfolds us.

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