Regardless, Will, age eight, sat with me on the sofa this morning as we gazed at the blank screen. We were mourning the loss, though hopeful that the repair person coming Monday would be able to resurrect our Lord. He turned and looked at me. "Sometimes when I'm nervous I go like this," he said and placed his hands together as if to pray.
"What does that mean?" I queried.
"I don't want to talk about it."
"You're not in trouble. What are you doing when you do that?" I gently pressed the question.
"Well, I know there isn't a God," he was quick to say, " but I want to pray when I'm nervous."
"The TV isn't working and I prayed to God to fix it."
Sometimes I can't hide a smile, "How did that work out for you? Is the TV fixed?"
Here is the rub. I don't want Will to think he will get into trouble for praying. He won't. Punishing him would cause many, many problems down the line, and I'm not in the making my life more difficult business. The Boy should be able to feel free with his own metaphysical experiments, as long as they don't include animal sacrifices, so that he can see that praying to God is as useful as praying to Zeus or Sponge Bob Square Pants. What I don't want him to think is that religion is some kind of forbidden fruit. We all know how that typically works out.
"Will, you can pray all you want, but it isn't going to help."
We got up off the couch and went about our Sunday morning.