We were driving in the car and Loli fell asleep. Flaco said, "Let's wake her up by shouting hooray! Everybody, together! Hoo-ray!" Seemed like an interesting request, so we acquiesced. Fifteen minutes of hooraying together at different pitches under the strict direction of our tiny son (craning his neck, trying to see in the mirror if we were sufficiently excited looking), the conversation suddenly turned. I don't remember how. No segue-way seems to make sense. All I know is that we were discussing, at great length, the Trinity. That Jesus is the son of God and also man, sitting at the right hand of God but also God himself; that God is on his throne but also lives within us; that there is only one God but he exists as three beings. Matthew explaining (in Spanish) that we don't have the capacity to understand the divine; it would be like asking an ant to understand how an engine works. I listened to them talk, Matthew saying a sentence and then defining the words he's used; a five-word sentence becoming, were it written, a paragraph mottled with footnotes*. Like this**. Flaco saying he understood that some things aren't understandable.
Tonight, they sat on the couch in a row. Otto on his lap, Loli and Flaco climbing as close as possible. He was reading a book about animals at the zoo, and each one had a different voice. I have never heard a better British accent in Spanish. He looked a bit surprised himself.
I love him because he shouts hooray and explains the unexplainable and speaks Spanish to our babies even though he only had a few years in high school (how does he know this many words?); I love him because he gives hippos charming voices and brings out a tray of hot cocoa at night. Which he is doing right now. So I will close this down and watch that werewolf movie with him and hold his hand not just when I get scared.
*I never realized how hard it is to define the brain. He explained it was under your skin, under your skull; the thing that makes you think and move your hands and be who you are. He hesitated. I could almost feel him about to change that statement, about to explain how in Hebrew, they talked about the heart, soul, and mind; how the heart wasn't referring to the organ that pumps blood but something entirely other. Or maybe he was thinking about neurons? Synapses? He paused and decided against it and continued on. (Do you understand? Yes. But what is capacity? And what is the divine? And why are they almost always invisible? And have you ever seen an angel? I dreamed of an angel. It was wearing a wolf suit with hands and a mask. It was born without a foot. But then later, it got its foot. It was flying around in that wolf suit. It was.)
**I was thinking of Eldridge Cleaver (the founder of the Black Panthers) and that section from Soul on Ice where the preacher visiting their jail explained the Trinity, and then asked the inmates to raise their hands if they understood. Some raised their hands, and the pastor corrected them saying no, you don't, you never could. No one can understand. Cleaver felt shot down and embarrassed. Became a Muslim not long after, I think partially out of spite. I think the statement didn't carry as he intended.
A visit home to Washburn Wisconsin
6 days ago