Of God, Jesus and Bird Poop
By: Wendy Rhein
I love the conversations I have with Nate in the car. I am fascinated with his thought process and how his mind works. I am a linear thinker; I process and plod along a logical path. Not my child. He is a big picture, eyes wide open kind of thinker, absorbing bits and pieces of information, sights and syntax before he comes up with his own amalgam of understanding.
I drive him to school every day. I could let him take the bus but selfishly, I want the time with him in the mornings. We do some of our best and funniest communicating during that brief ride. Like today. Today we talked about God. And Jesus. And bird poop.
Nate: Mom, someone at school was talking about Jesus last week. Where is Jesus buried?
Me: Talking about Jesus at school? Hm. Well, that’s an interesting question. Jesus was buried in a cave.
Nate: Is he still there?
Me: No. There was a big stone at the grave site, to keep robbers out, and after he died, a few days later, some friends and family came to visit, including the woman who might have been his wife, but that’s another story, anyway, they came to the grave and the huge stone was gone and the body was gone.
Me: Well, Jesus didn’t need a body anymore. He was a spirit, a soul, and he told the folks to go away, that he didn’t need his body anymore and they shouldn’t look for him there, he was now with God. (I really hope I’m getting close to the story that I recall from an Easter service many years ago.)
Nate: With God? Is he really God’s son? I heard that at school. Does he call God “Dad”?
Me: You heard that at school? Who is talking about God and Jesus at school?
Nate: Calm down Mom. It’s no big deal. Besides, you tell me we live with God all the time because God is all around us, everywhere, like energy and air and love. I told the kids that.
Me: Yes my love, that’s what I tell you. (And in my mind, I’m thinking, Oh there will be letters home, I can see it now.)
Nate: So go back to the body part. Why doesn’t Jesus need his body?
Me: Because he died.
Nate: So? So now he just goes around like a spirit on Scooby Doo, being kinda scary and kinda silly looking?
Me: Not so much like Scooby Doo. Think of it like this. A body is like a garage. (He laughs.) Yes, a garage. And it houses the most amazing, wonderful, unique spirit that is the real YOU. Your spirit is the most precious part of you.
Nate: So my body is a garage and my spirit is like a totally cool motorcycle?
Me: EXACTLY! You want to protect and care for the motorcycle, right? Just like your body houses your spirit, the garage houses the motorcycle.
Nate: We don’t have a garage for your car, though. Doesn’t it need to be protected like a motorcycle too? Because it gets pretty messy and dirty and birds poop on it sometimes.
Me: Are we talking about my spirit now, or my actual car?
Nate: The CAR, Mom. Birds don’t poop on your spirit.
Me: Sometimes, kiddo, I wonder about that. (Feeling the analogy getting away from me now, I’m thinking about metaphorical bird poop.) So your motorcycle is the spirit inside of you, and your body is a garage. But once you die, you get to be the motorcycle all the time, and who needs to be parked in a boring old garage when you can speed around (safely, with a helmet and pads on and never over the speed limit) seeing the world and loving everybody? Jesus didn’t need his body anymore to be full of love for people, he gets to just be spirit now; he gets to be his own motorcycle.
Nate: I’m the motorcycle! Awesome! Is it ok with you if I live a long, long time before leaving the garage? I’d rather stay with you in my garage.
Me: You can stay with me for as long as you want, my love. We’ll both keep our garages and keep the bird poop off our spirits.
Nate: I like that plan.
Me: Me too.