Monday, November 16, 2009

My Philosophical Granddaughter

Young children ask questions. Parents and grandparents are supposed to answer them. For most of my life I have had to figure out ways to answer multitudes of questions asked by numerous inquiring minds from my children to my grandchildren to the children for whom I have provided care. Unfortunately, I sometimes have no answers.

I am ashamed of myself. How have I slid through life without knowing universal answers to philosophical questions?

In my attempt to answer these difficult questions, I try logic, memory, fantasy, and creativity, and when none of that works, I pray for miracles. Most of the time I jump online when I have to look for answers to simple questions like why bees buzz and how cotton becomes fabric. But the bigger questions leave me stumped.

I'm never prepared for the kinds of question for which no books or Internet sites provide answers. Just the other day my granddaughter Audrey, who turned 5 at the end of October, asked, "God made everything, so who made God?"

Words like "always was, always is, and always will be" didn't pop into my head. My brain, like Elvis, left the building as I searched in vain for a reasonable explanation.

Having never thought about asking that question myself, I hadn't a clue about how to answer it. The only thing I could think of that might appease Audrey was to tell her that since God made everything, God made Him (or Her) self, which implies of course, that He already existed if he had the tools to create Himself. But I knew that if I gave the response that God made Himself, Audrey would ask me how He made Himself, and I would be stumped again.

But I said it anyway. Quickly. Well, Audrey, since God made everything, I guess He made himself (and then – in my head – I said, please don't ask me to explain myself). Fortunately she didn't ask any more questions that I was unable to answer (she must be psychic), and I breathed a sigh of relief. But she frequently comes up with philosophical questions that leave me to wonder why I feel so inadequate when it comes to the big questions.

I should have been able to answer the God question long before Audrey asked it. So why didn't I ask it of myself years ago? If I had, I would already know the answer, right?

If life is eternal, and God made humans, what was He doing before He created us? Of course I'm thinking God would get bored in a universe filled with nothing but God. Then again, if God is everything, God is enough.

But we're talking about infinity and forever, or, as Buzz Lightyear might say, infinity and beyond. God is Spirit. Bodies are probably playthings to God, created to amuse Him as he watched our human antics and the foibles we made with the "gift" he gave us – free will.

As He portioned Himself out into millions of little beings, should He have known we'd get all caught up in being human to a point where we would forget we were spiritual beings inhabiting a body?

And I answer myself by saying, yes He should have known, because He is God.

But now I'm afraid Audrey will stop thinking of me as the all-knowing Grandma if she continues to ask questions for which I have no answers. What kinds of questions will she come up with later? How will I answer her (or any of my other grandchildren who think deeply about issues I can't explain)?

Does anybody know if Barnes and Noble carries a Grandmothers' Answers to Philosophical Questions For Dummies book? I think I'm going to need one.

By the way, had I Googled, "Who made God," I would have found some reasonable answers, so I guess I was wrong about looking up philosophical questions on the Internet. Answer abound everywhere about everything. God truly is everywhere.

Photo shows four of my grandchildren – Kaden, Audrey, Nolan (Audrey's brother), and Zac (Kaden's brother).

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