Friday, April 2, 2010


I completely understand why Good Friday and Easter make no sense to anyone outside the Christian tradition, especially as these commemorations of very serious events often coincide with egg hunts and ingesting jellybeans. Or as a little card my friend sent to me put it: "Adorable candy will help distract us from the astounding horror of a man being nailed to a cross."

In the spirit of full disclosure, I got my kids some nice chocolate rabbits, but mostly because I want to help eat them. In fact, I'm committed to telling my kids about Good Friday and Easter because there is no Christianity without these events. Tonight, our family did a little service called Tenebrae. You light 12 candles and read the story of the last supper and crucifixion. Along the way, you extinguish candles. Martin and Sasha were more than happy to participate in that part.

When I put Martin to bed, I asked him about the story he heard. "What happened to Jesus?" I asked him. Martin stayed silent for awhile and then said, "I don't know." After a pause, I said, "In that story, Jesus died." Martin looked at me awhile. The he asked, "He dived?" "No," I answered, "He died." "No," Martin said, "He dived. He dived into the water with a splash. And then he fived. He fived with all the other numbers." I waited for him to finish with his verbs that rhyme with "died." When he did, I said, "I guess you heard the story differently than I did."

Maybe I should expect utter nonsense when I tell a five-year-old autistic kid about a state execution with religious significance? Or maybe the Easter part of it will be easier for him to understand than the Good Friday story? Whatever the case, I feel the need to keep trying, to give him a chance to hear something and take it in as best he can. I don't want him to come back to me as a grown person and wonder why I tried to obscure the hard stuff with some chocolate rabbits.


  1. Yesterday LJ (age 4) explained to me that Jesus had a huge blood bubble that came out of his mouth and fell down on all of us and then we were okay. And to think that the significance of the blood has been alluding me for all these years.

  2. Once again your journey inspires me.....