Today, I took B with me to visit two church members at a local (Catholic) nursing home. As we were leaving, he pointed out the window.
B: Hey! God is here! They have God here!
Me: What do you mean? Where do you see God?
B: Right there! Look! It’s God!
Me: You mean that statue?
B: Yes! That’s a statue of God.
Here is the progression of my thoughts and feelings at that moment:
- Fascination, to see what my little guy imagined God to be.
- Delight, at his proclamation, “God is here! They have God here!”.
- Sadness, to realize that already, in spite of my best efforts to offer contrary images, he already pictures God in classic renaissance human imagery.
- Intrigue, to query him about exactly why he thought that was God.
- Amusement, to get a closer look at the statue and realize that it was quite effeminate, like a fairy with angel wings.
- More amusement, when I realized I hadn’t completely failed, because my three-year-old saw a statue of a girl with wings and daisies in her hair and called it God.
In the end, I decided to simply offer my opinion.
Me: I think that looks more like an angel. Angels have wings like that. You know, we don’t really know what God looks like. God is pretty complicated that way. Nobody really knows what God looks like.
B: Yeah. You’re right, actually. (Actually being one of his favorite words.) Actually, that is an angel. Can I run now? Will you race with me?
And we’re back to earth again. Except that as I watch him run gleefully, blissfully down the sidewalk, waving back at outstretched hands from nursing home windows, I think maybe I do know a little something about what God looks like.