So there’s this video circulating the internet. It’s a three year old girl answering questions provided to her from her mom.
“Last question,” the faceless voice speaks. “What is love?”
She’s quiet for but a moment before responding. “God.”
The mother stop-starts. “What?”
“God.” The girl says again.
There’s silence. My boyfriend, with his arms wrapped around me in bed as we watched the video, quietly responded. “Wow.”
I couldn’t see his face, but I could hear it in his voice; there were tears in his eyes.
The video finished playing in the background, but I got caught on his visceral response.
Before that moment, I have always rolled my eyes at videos like that. Always groaned at people’s sentimentality and dramatization of faith. Before that moment, I was not a person who entertained ‘God.’ My resolve on ‘God’ was always firm; ‘God’ did not exist.
For the first time in my life, watching him respond so quietly but emotionally, I had a thought I have never had before.
I want to know that. I want to know God’s love.
It made me feel weird. Mostly because I meant it.
It took me over a week to say that to my boyfriend. And even then, I don’t think I said either of those sentences aloud. I was not ready to discuss those feelings.
Last night we got into it a little more. My Boyfriend, a Proper Catholic, responds to my question of, “Why do you think God gives us cancer?” with “I think cancer is something we have to deal with because of Original Sin.”
And–no. If I’m going to have a ‘God’–if ‘God’ is going to be real–then my ‘God’ isn’t going to be the kind who decides that twelve-year-old me has to watch my grandfather’s body decimate, be in so much pain that he cannot remember who I am or how to function on a basic level, all because Home Girl Ate the Apple.
“My God will not play favorites.” I declared. “I have to believe that my God is not involved in every day life, because if he is, then I have to believe that everyone is being helped. And because I know everyone isn’t, I have to believe he isn’t helping anyone.”
“He helps you because you ask for it,” My Boyfriend argued.
“Do you decide only to help someone because they ask for it?” I countered. “Do you only open the door, return the twenty dollars, grab the heavy boxes just because someone asks for it?”
I waited. He didn’t respond.
“No. You don’t. You help regardless.”
Later I asked if he was mad at me for arguing with his beliefs. He shook his head. “I just feel like I don’t have the answers you want.”
I laughed. “You don’t really have answers at all.”
I guess I’m okay with that. I think, maybe, part of this is figuring out that I’m trying to find the answers that work for me. That faith isn’t ‘One Size Fits All.’
In case you were wondering, the video ends with the mother in tears.
“Why are you crying about that?” The girl smiles.
“You blew me away with that answer. I asked you what love is and you said ‘God.’ God is love. Oh my word.”
Oh my word, indeed.
P.S. I know I’ve been slacking on the writing. Balancing Boyfriend, Schoolwork, and Fraternity without dying usually means my default De-Stresser is Sleep. But writing this felt good. Hopefully it’ll come back to me.