So last night Nathan and I got angry with 4 year-old River more than usual. He wasn't really being a bad kid, he was just testing a bit. So he got a time-out or two and a threat to cancel his birthday party. (Cruel, right?)
Anyway, after one of these punishments, he came into our bedroom with the book I Love You, Daddy. He said "This is what I think of for you and Daddy and Carter. I love you all."
I didn't appreciate how remarkable this was until a few minutes later. Then I went and hugged him as hard as I could and told him he had figured out how to love better than anybody I knew.
To be able to turn love, giant love, right back on someone who has reprimanded you . . . now that is something. He didn't stew or hold a grudge or pitch a fit. He just thought back to the building block of our family, and how love makes him feel. I think love is the most inexhaustible, energy-rich, renewable resource we have, and it can diffuse any situation. It can turn enemies into protectors and defenders. For River to get this already at age 4 is amazing. But the thing is, I KNOW he wasn't even trying to mollify us. He wasn't saying he loved us to get out of trouble or win over our good side. He was just saying what he felt. It was pure.
I knew when River was born I wanted to raise him in an areligious family. No guilt, no hell or judgment, no inexplicable ghosts named God. I wanted to fill him with love instead of myths. I thought if I could do that I might create a child who could change the world. I thought maybe River could be the one to end religion, if he wanted to.
My one hesitation was that he wouldn't know about morality. With no threat of punishment from God, how would he know what was right? That's what the orthodox will tell you . . . a world without religion would be a world without morals. But it seems, with last night's moment, that he has transcended the Christian way. Instead of doing right because he is scared of living in hell or disappointing God, instead of living like a rat with a carrot and a stick in front of you, he fell back on love, the only law we need.
I've been writing in this blog for three years, trying to get out the message that heaven on earth will arrive when religion is over. That there is no God above us, only Love. That there is no hell and will be no armageddon or judgment day. That we are born perfect and aglow in love, and only when we are preached fear do we lose that glow. That we don't need to do anymore perfecting or atoning or praying to go to heaven on earth; we all get to go and there's no admission fee. I've written a whole book about this which I will publish this summer.
But River made me see all the words, all the 73 posts on this blog, may be simply clutter. The heart is where to start, and he gets it. What a proud mother I am. We are doing the right thing.