Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Mommy, who is the pirate?"

Yesterday at our time for volunteering at church, Katherine and I were alone for a bit and it has been awhile since that has happened. Petra and Taia were running late and I just figured there was a good reason for it, both for them AND us. Taisia was still asleep and that little dear gets precious little napping as it is and I am glad she slept, very glad! Oh how I remember those days! So Katherine and I went in to say hello to our friendly, familiar Saints found in their same old spots, just waiting for us as if we had never gone. Katherine is up on my hip, big as ever and how she grew so much I will never know. It is so quiet but for the creaking of the boards in our aging floor, not to mention the ticking of the ancient heater. So familiar and nice.
It started out in a normal sort of way when Katherine asked which Saint was which, St Panteleimon, St Sergei, St Xenia and St Nicholas and from there she wanted to know about one across church. She pointed and asked and I thought she was asking about the Royal Martyrs on the wall when she said, "that big one..." So we went across and when we got there she corrected me and directed me to the table of the departed right next to it, the only candle stand that she can reach and does often =) She asked about who are the other women there with the Mother of God and those guys on the other side and such. We discussed it a bit and then she asked me, "Mommy, who is the pirate?" I said, "What pirate?" I am thinking, "What THE....?" She pointed and I saw what she meant...the skull of Adam is at the foot of Christ on the Cross and Christ's blood is flooding down to free Adam. As I have heard it told, the cross was placed above the spot where Adam was buried all those years earlier and that the Earth shook and cracked open and Christ's blood fell on Adam's skull. Firstly, we talked about how that is what it looks like under our skin and that is Adam's skull (she has learned about Adam and Eve in church school so she is at least familiar). Then we talked about how it is so important that we see this, because God became a Man and shed His blood and now Adam didn't have to be in the 'Naughty" place anymore. (In all honesty, how else do you explain hell to a 4 year old, I figure, just words they know...) We talked about how we get to be with God in a special way when we have communion and she said, "because we have God in us...." Just take a minute and think about that. Anyone who has a child will understand when there are times you cannot describe a moment, the precious few moments that we are afforded to see inside of their little heads. I think what surprised me is that I not only had answers for her, but that she had just as many answers for me. We went on to talk about the Apostles and Angels and what it is like in Heaven. She pointed out how lots of the Angels had "poky things" (spears) so we talked about why that is (to be the warriors of Heaven and keep out all the evil angels who have chosen their fate) and how we want to go to Heaven and take the place of one of the fallen angels and sing there with all the ranks of Angels. "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal!"
I have given it a little thought and I am increasingly glad to have the plethora of Icons in our church. For children, particularly those that don't read, it is so nice to have illustrations of people who have gone before us in our christian family as well as scenes from the Bible. If we are to enter the kingdom of Heaven as a child, what better place to start than searching the faces of our ancestors and re-evaluating the stories of the Bible God has given us for our own Hope and Salvation, especially through eyes of our children. They are such great tools to have in aiding us on our journey. That a child can learn so much and understand more than I can imagine through the depiction on the wall is so beyond my mind. And so it should be. The innocence of a child is known only to God and the child, and throughout our lives we can recapture glimpses of ours that we have lost in the faces and words of a our children, and at times, other peoples kids. We can see our own faults so sweetly held up by the mirror image of our child's face. So much sweetness, so much hope, so much Love! It is THAT love of a child that we should find ourselves magnifying as we turn our hearts to God: pure and loving with total trust. If God gives me enough time, I hope to grow up to be the person my daughter sees when she looks at me. Lord have Mercy on me, a sinner. I look forward to many more lessons about God from my little girl!