Wednesday, May 30, 2007

real faith

I have little doubt that I have the most beautiful daughter in all the world.

Today, my 7-year-old had a fight with Ishtar, her best friend and chief partner in crime at school. It was the sort of fight you would expect second-graders to have, over something as trivial as whether Evangeline would lend Ishtar her ruler, and it escalated into a day of muted hostility and deliberate ostracism.

Let those consider children to be models of innocence and purity, free of any blemish of sin, take note: Ishtar’s behavior was so upsetting that Evangeline couldn’t even bear to talk about it until bedtime.

As details of the fight gradually emerged, I asked Evangeline if she thought she might owe Ishtar an apology for anything she had done. I expected her to reject the notion immediately, or to argue that Ishtar’s behavior had been worse. To my surprise, she acknowledged immediately that she did owe her one.

She surprised me even more by telling me about other times she had upset Ishtar, by foiling an attempt to exact petty “revenge” on a boy who has made life difficult for them at school, partly to keep her best friend from getting in trouble. But then she added the kicker: “I keep remembering that Jesus said to love other people as yourself, and to bless people who curse you.”

I almost cried I was so impressed, and when she said, “That’s pretty much the only part of the Bible I can remember,” I said, “If you can remember that much, you’ve remembered enough.”

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