Sunday, August 8, 2010


Every night before he goes to bed, Alex faithfully says his prayers. When he was little, he and I would recite, “Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should live for other days, I pray the Lord to guide my ways.” Then we followed this simple prayer by asking God to bless all our family members, naming them individually. As he got older, he would say the first part of the prayer silently, closing his eyes and moving his lips, but he would say the God blesses aloud by himself. Besides, “Mommy, Daddy, and Alex,” he names his grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins as those whom he wants God to bless. He also includes a boy with autism whom he met several years ago only once, but who made such an impression on him that he still asks God to bless him every night. When his twin cousins were born a few months ago, he immediately added them to his blessings list. Since they didn’t have names right away, he simply said, “God bless the new cousins.” Now he says all of the prayer silently, but he ends it with a resounding “Amen” to let me know that he’s finished praying and that I can kiss him goodnight.

As I mentioned in my “Rating" blog entry in June, Alex holds the highest esteem for God, rating Him as one hundred percent smart and one hundred percent funny. No one else compares in Alex’s mind when it comes to being intelligent and humorous. Moreover, if Alex asks a difficult question, and we tell him that nobody knows the answer, he will adamantly insist, “God knows! Ask God when you get to heaven!” Alex looks forward to heaven when he can ask God about all those pressing issues that he can’t find solutions for on the Internet. (I have some questions for God, too, I must admit!) Nonetheless, Alex still tries to find answers to his own version of theological questions. In looking through his Google search histories, I’ve discovered that he has asked some interesting questions. Because he quantifies everything and needs to attach numerical values, Alex asked Google, “How old is God?” in hopes of gaining some sense of learning more about Him. One of the most interesting inquiries I discovered he’s made on Google, “Can you talk when you get to heaven?” probably reflects his desire to interview God about the questions that couldn’t be answered in life. I certainly hope the response to that question is yes.

Alex’s faith in God has remained steadfast through the years, but he recently asked Ed, “Is God real?” apparently needing some reassurance about his heavenly father from his earthly father. He was concerned if he couldn’t see God, then perhaps He wasn’t real. To explain God’s presence, Ed held up Alex’s hand and blew air on it. He asked Alex if he felt the air, and Alex responded that he did. Then Ed asked Alex if he could see the air, and Alex said no. In a wonderful metaphor, Ed explained that God is like air: you can’t see Him, but you can feel him, so you know He’s always there. This simple yet touching explanation made sense to Alex, who understood the parallel, and seemed to push away any doubts he was feeling. Alex confidently knows that not only is God real, but that He will always take care of him and eventually will answer all those questions that no one else can.

“Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.” Hebrews 11:1


Mom said...

The only comment I can think to add after reading this beautifully written essay is, "Amen."

Maureen said...

Your essay beautifully lets us see the light in Alex's soul. I thought his searches were delightful. And that he thinks God is humorous brings a smile and recalls to me a poem among Daniel Ladinksky's Love Poems From God, by Tukaram and titled "I Might Act Serious": "If God would stop telling jokes, /I might act / serious." Alex gets what so many of us miss.

Have you and your husband ever considered doing a book together, of your essays about Alex and Ed's often extraordinary poems? Both complement one another so well.

Pam Byrne said...

Hi Mom and Maureen,
Thanks for your very nice comments! I have always thought that God gave Alex to Ed and me, two teachers, so that we could teach him. As Alex gets older, I realize God intends for him to teach us, as well. :)
Take care,