In our sessions for both Wellspring I and Wellspring II, we tackle tough questions such as: What is forgiveness? How do I experience joy in this world? How do we pray? What do I believe about death? Is there life after death for UUs? As much as we try to engage these questions from a heartfelt place, we sometimes find we are thinking about them more than experiencing them. And that’s OK, it helps us understand ourselves, so when we are faced with challenges, we can fall back on our beliefs and live our lives fully as Unitarian Universalists.
So when my sweet granddaughter asked me last night, how people could possibly live in heaven, where would they sleep, I actually was at a loss. This dear child lost her mother earlier this year, suddenly, tragically. She’s five now and as I’m combing her unruly hair, wishing I had paid more attention to how lovingly her mom did it, I just don’t know what to say to her. I know I believe that there is no heaven, that when we die, we live on in others. I believe that somehow our energy stays in this world in the love we have shared and in the good work we have done. I believe the love of her mother is here now with my little girl, but how do I say all that to a five year old. What does she want really, comfort, answers or just her mother?
I look over to my husband as I start the story about angels and heaven. He smirks at me and I feel no need to justify. I did after all just finish reading a book about dancing bears. I think we all tell ourselves stories that comfort us. Truth is such a relative thing. The real question is, do I put love and kindness first? If I do then the answer is easy.
And I know when she’s older and has other questions that I will admit when I don’t know the answers. I’ll honor her questions and be willing to talk about her mom and how much we miss her. And how much she taught us in her short time here. I’ll help her know that what she believes is important and not whether it’s what I believe. I think that’s what UU teaches us after all.