On our way to speech this morning, from the back of the van, I heard:
Tuck: "Mommy, look! The mountains, again! Thank you for the mountains, God. I love them so much."
(The sight of the mountains always prompts Tuck to think about God. And appropriately so.)
Tuck: "Mommy, I want to give him a kiss."
Tuck: "God. I want to give God a kiss."
And so began the first discussion of theology with my three-year-old.
Me: "Well, Tuck, you can blow a kiss to God. I know He would love that."
Tuck: "God? God? God! Mommy, He's not listening very well right now."
Me: "Sure He is. He's always listening. And He's always with you. He's listening right now, and He knows you want to give Him a kiss. Right now."
Tuck: "Right now?"
Me: "Right now."
Tuck: "Okay. I want to tell you a story."
Me: "I'm ready."
Tuck: "It's about God."
Me: "Okay." (Bracing myself. This could be anything.)
Tuck: "One day, God threw a rock into the water."
(Hmmm. Is this a Bible story? Is he retelling from Sunday school? Where are we headed, here?)
Looking for more, I asked, "And then what happened?"
Tuck: "He went to time out."
Ah. And there we have it. This is not a Bible story. This is not a retelling from Sunday school. This is Tuck's imagination and perhaps his attempt to bring God into his network of understanding. Still, I need to guide this storytelling before the seed of imagination grows into the tree of heresy. (Strong words, I know.)
Me: "No, God didn't go to time out."
Tuck: "He didn't?"
Me: "Nope. God doesn't go to time out. Because He's perfect, and He never does anything wrong. Sometimes He puts us into time out when we don't obey, but He never has to go. God is perfect."
Tuck thought for moment. "Oh. Okay."
He was still thinking. And I waited for the next chapter in our discussion, ready to field his budding questions.
Me: "Yes, Tuck?"
Tuck: "Also there is a man in the backseat who is being mean to me. He bit my shirt."
And we're done. Imagination wins again. Such is the world of being three.
I'm hopeful that some of those truths took root alongside his big ideas.