Last week I had the talk with my 6 ½ year old. No, not that talk. It went something like this:
Isaac (eyes full of trust and hope): “Mom, is Santa real?”
Before you hear what I answered, let us cut back to the time when I was a perfect mother. . . that time before I had children. At this all-knowing stage my husband and I heartily decided that we would play along with the Santa illusion, put out some cookies, orchestrate a mail delivery system, and give the jolly elf credit for a few presents. But, we asserted, should one of our impressionable children get down to brass tacks and ask the inevitable, we would simply tell them the truth. This was a very good plan.
But I just couldn’t do it. The question was too full of a sad fear that made me think he knew what was coming and needed me to prove him wrong, giving him permission to believe. He needed the lie. Well, I couldn’t do that either.
So, I made my therapist husband proud:
Me: “Well, what do you think?”
Isaac: “I think he is.”
Phew. Tragedy averted. Or, maybe not:
Isaac: “Do you believe in Santa?”
Now my mind was really racing, carefully weighing honesty with magic.
Me: “I think. . . that it is fun to believe.” (Holding my breath)
Isaac: “Me too. I am going to believe.”
And that was it. No tears or crushed dreams. No healthy dose of reality. I’m not sure where we stand now. I think that Isaac has, against all odds, decided it is more fun to believe than to not. And I’ve decided the same. I remember a Christmas many years ago where somehow my parents orchestrated a flawless Santa drop-off that seemed downright magical. I was old enough where I had begun to doubt, and at that moment I remember being completely amazed, thinking, “It is real! He is real! How does he do that?” I was totally suckered, and I loved it.
Truth exists whether we like it or not. I can doubt, disdain, or dismiss, but it will not alter truth. I do not define truth by how I cast my vote. I define my life. I can choose to believe, choose to hope, choose to trust. I can choose, knowing that it is a whole lot more fun if I believe in magic, light, faith, hope, and love. Isaac, I think, has figured out that no one is really getting those letters he tears up and puts in the oven for Santa. But, he has decided that life will be more interesting if he believes. I’m with him. I choose to believe. I choose to believe in God. I choose to believe that these prayers I am sending up are received, acknowledged, and answered. I choose to believe that Jesus Christ was born in a stable, suffered in a Garden, died on a cross, and rose on the third day. My choice doesn’t make those things true. My choice makes me better. It makes me believe and it certainly makes me happy. So, Isaac, thanks for the talk. Let’s keep believing together.