Since writing The Power of Prair yesterday, and including mention of Carson's current questioning of all things "God," I have received many emails. Some understanding and supportive, some not so much, and some hypercritical of Rudy and I. Stating that we are somehow derelict in our duties as parents for letting her even question things.
To those who have been supportive, thank you.
To those who just don't get it, I appreciate your concern for a child you have never met, and will attempt to explain a few things.
Carson, as a very small child, was one of the most spiritual beings I had ever encountered. She would draw pictures and speak of Heaven as if from memory. She seemed to come into this world connected to something. It was not something taught to her, as I have said, we have never taught our children religious dogma. It was just something that was there.
As she grew a little older, she began referring to her "Heart Radio," that was the way she communicated with God at night.
She grew older, and while she spoke less and less about these things, I always somehow felt safer in her presence. Not just because she was one of the best people I knew, but because she seemed connected. Call it crazy, whatever.
In her high school years, she began to question the uber religious views many in her school seemed to insist on pushing onto others. And given the state in which we live, where religion permeates everything, she grew increasingly uncomfortable with all of it. She, like her parents and siblings, have no patience for hypocrisy. And her life was filled with teens who loved to judge, condemn, and basically mean girl/boy over religion.
Hypocrisy, because Carson is the embodiment of how NOT going to church does not make you a bad person, but so many around her are the embodiment of how going to church does not make you a good person.
Then she began to lose people. Literally.
A friend she had had since 6th grade left the classroom she shared with Carson and did not show up in the next class she would normally share with Carson 10 minutes later. She had gone to the bathroom and put a bullet in her brain.
That sent Carson reeling. I have never felt so completely heartbroken, torn in half as the night she curled up in my lap and sobbed like a tiny child. Something in her had broken. Through many therapy sessions she was able to articulate what was going on inside her, and to move forward.
And then another young person whom she idolized, left us while at college. No rhyme, no reason, no smoke signals, no warning. Just gone.
Not long after, another friend was hit by a semitruck while walking along the road and died.
It was during this series of tragedies that she began to talk more about not believing anything. AND THAT WAS FINE.
To those who think Rudy and I should have jumped in and insisted she not talk that way, or scare her into some imaginary consequences for doubting - YOU. ARE. WRONG.
Faith is a singular thing. Sure, you may choose to roll around in it with hundreds of other people every Sunday, but in the end, it is a personal thing. It's depth, breadth, meaning, focus, and placement, unique to each individual.
And Carson's crisis of faith (as many who emailed me wish to call it), is hers. Not yours, not mine, not his, not hers.
I am not bothered by it. I don't lose sleep over it. And I don't worry about "what will happen to her soul." <---I am quoting from an email.
Each person's journey in this life is theirs. There is not some one-size-fits-all Snuggie of Faith. And should she come back to believing in something, I suspect her faith will be stronger for the journey she is now on.
And if she moves forward through the rest of her life not believing? Well, thank you for your concerns, but they are YOURS, not ours.
Because if there is a God; if there is an accounting that takes place for each of us when we depart; I have zero concerns for Carson.
Because she remains today, one of the best PEOPLE I have ever known in my life. And there is NO god who could be disappointed with how she moves through this life loving and doing for others daily, what so many only give lipservice to on Sundays.