Tad and I are raising our children as good little agnostics. Good little agnostics who give to others, and help people who need it, who believe in goodness and kindness and the power of love and faith in each other and in the larger spiritual world around us.
Coen and Lucy have Christian grandparents and Raised-Christian-Agnostic grandparents and Jewish cousins and lots of friends of varying beliefs and religions. We try to give them a well-balanced story about all the different beliefs out there and that includes stories that Tad and I both were told as children, stories from the Bible.
So yesterday evening was my Uncle Boobers' funeral. Coen and Lucy joined us there and came gingerly up to the front of the church, holding my hands to see Uncle Boobers in his casket. They had many questions about how he looked and where he was now. We talked about how his soul was no longer in his body which makes him look very different. And how we don't know exactly what happens but that we believe that his spirit is still with us and all around us and certainly reunited with the spirit of my Auntie Patsy-his wife and love who died twenty-seven years ago.
When we entered the church there was a statue of Jesus and Lucy ran up to it, exclaiming, "Is that GOD?!!!" Later in the church, Lucy pointed up at the crucifix and said loudly "Why is that fake guy hanging on the wall?" Coen told her that Jesus was God's son and that was him hanging on the wall. So they sat in their pews and asked about the kneelers, trying them out.
During the service, Lucy asked "What's this song about?" for every Psalm. Coen marvelled at the ritual of the Communion, asking incredulously if Daddy and me (who don't drink) were actually going to drink the wine? Lucy sat nestled between my parents making them laugh with her questions and at one point leaned to my mom and whispered, "Why are we here?"
My dad gave Uncle Boobers' Eulogy and it was funny and perfect. But in keeping with all the people who wanted to share their stories and memories, it was a bit long. During one point, Coen whispered to me, "What part of the story is this?" And I said, "What do you mean?" And Coen answered "Is he still alive in this part?"
My kids were entertaining and curious as always, but when the casket was taken out of the church and my mom broke down, saying goodbye to her brother, I ran over to hug her and both of us cried. Coen came over and he was crying too. I sat down on the pew and held on to my sweet, sensitive boy, who had his head wrapped around the sadness and reality of this event and held him tight. Lucy, who had been dancing on top of the pew to the final organ-played song, jumped off with her arms out in a well-timed finish and joined Coen, my mom and I in a "Family Hug."
My kids may not be baptized as Christians. They may not go to church every Sunday. But they are loving, giving, kind, little souls full of all of the right kind of light.