Cosmic confusion

Originally Appeared in : 9826-12/20/18
There is a ballet that ensues around our home between 7:30 and 9 p.m. almost nightly.
It mostly involves one particular yellow-headed young danseur who fleetly flies down our hall, opening the door into the living room to make one of several disclaimers about sibling behavior (“Ree Ree won’t stop talking”), his progress on the latest Judy Moody entry (“I finished it, can I read another?”) or simply, “I’m not tired. Can I stay up with y’all?”
With a quick plié from the sofa, and a grand jeté to the hall door, either his mother or myself pirouette Jesse back down the hall and don’t return to first position at the sectional until we hear the creaking of his bunk bed ladder.
This can go on several times, with smiles between partners during the first encounters traded for scowls and threats by the third or fourth repetition.
As it turned out the other night, a more celestial dance of partners destined to collide drove our house about as close to madness as one famous Black Swan.
The children, save Noah, were nestled all snug in their beds, while Magan, Noah and myself had just settled in for the first episodes of The Great Christmas Light Fight. Our viewing was abruptly interrupted, however, by the sound of loud footfalls and even louder sobs and muffled gibberish.
“What on earth?” had just slipped from Magan’s lips as Eli slung open the door and mumbled something about leaving his Froggy Bibbit Toad (think Kermit, only red) all alone.
“Honey, what is the matter?” I said.
“He’s going to be all by himself when the earth explodes,” he cried.
“What are you talking about? Calm down baby,” I replied.
“When the sun explodes and destroys the earth, Froggy’s going to be all alone bahhhh.”
“No, no, no. Where did you hear something like that?” I said.
“Jesse bahhhh,” Eli said.
Like a dancer taking a cue, out came Jesse from the hall in a similar state of hysterics holding his stuffed duck (Quack Quack).
“Why are you crying?” I asked.
“It’s just that the sun is going to explode on the earth, and we’re all going to die bahhhh,” Jesse said.
“Jason, what on earth is going on? Is it the moon?” Magan said.
“I have no idea. Jesse, where did you hear that?”
“Simon bahhhh.”
Turns out, Jesse had overheard Simon remarking about the Friday homily concerning the life cycle of our main source of light and heat in the solar system, but failed to hear that the celestial pas de deux ending in the earth’s demise wouldn’t transpire for another several billion years.
Thankfully, the twinkle of artificial luminescence on the small screen helped calm nerves, as Magan and I continued to quell fears of impending apocalypse before their allegro return down the hall and back to bed.
“My word,” Magan said.
“I know, tell me about it,” I replied.
As the boys learned that night, there is a big difference between facts and the truth. They had heard a simple fact from Simon’s science lesson, but created their own truth when they concluded the collision was imminent.
God calls us to have a similar approach in our faith walks.
In the days leading up to Advent, many of the readings turn toward John’s visions of Christ’s return and humanity’s salvation. Simply looking at one or more of the facts included, the verses would all point to the end of life as we know it. (Don’t even dare mention sickles cutting the earth’s grapes to my children, please.)The truth, however, shows so much more:
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
Another key verse that points to the truth Eli, Jesse and all of us most hold onto is from the Book of Matthew concerning the sun and the Son, “But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matthew 24:36).
So as we await the birthday celebration of our Savior, my hope is that Eli and Jesse do a tour en l’air in the other direction should they hear Simon discussing any other cosmic happenings, and keep in mind that Froggy Bibbit Toad and Quack Quack will be just fine when God sets the universe right for eternity.
Jason Halcombe has five sons and two daughters. He and his wife, Magan, are members of Immaculate Conception Church, Dublin.
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