Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Eating Oatmeal Cookies and Proving God Exists

I wish I'd had my camera working today. The picture I would have taken was of our 11-year-old son, standing beside A., his 12-year-old friend, a boy he's known since they went to nursery school together. They stood at our kitchen counter, mixing cookie dough with wooden spoons and then forming little balls of dough for the cookie sheets. The sight of these two boys working wordlessly together brought back so many memories.

In nursery school, A. was one of those kids who immediately excelled at whatever little "academic work," there was, bringing with him a vocabulary one would expect from a child many years older. He inhaled books, but was not an easy playmate. L., on the other hand, had serious learning challenges and made friends with everyone, especially A. When I told their nursery school teacher that A. was visiting our house for his first sleepover, he replied: "For a whole night? God bless you."
God has blessed both these boys. Through years and distance and different personalities and parents, these two boys have stayed best friends. A. is now charming, sociable and funny. He attends a private school more than an hour's drive from us and lives in a canal community miles away. So when he visits, he does so for days at a time. He feels almost like a third son, fitting easily into our family's rhythms and routines. A. has a fledgling career as a child actor on the New York stage; he loves the opera, musical theater and drama.

L. has caught up with his age peers in terms of reading and writing, and has shown lots of talent on the playing fields: as a soccer goalie for his travel soccer team and as a first baseman for his travel baseball team. This is a boy who was throwing and catching a ball by nine months. It is almost impossible to imagine his life without sports.

Another way these boys differ is that L. is growing up with us, infused with faith and attending Mass every Sunday. A's parents are lovely and loving, but faith plays no role in their lives. A.'s mom is an atheist and has told me she sees everything as random in this world. She knows I see things very differently.

As for A., he's not so sure. He knows my husband and I believe in a loving God and he has announced to us (in front of his mom) that he's an agnostic. He's attended Mass with us - the only time in his life he has been inside a house of worship. He knows faith is an important part of who we are. And so we have these back-and-forth conversations, he openly doubting, looking for evidence, and me telling him where I see God's hands.

Today as A. and I were biting into the warm oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, he paused for a minute and stared at the remaining bit of the cookie in his hand. He was awed, really, by the beauty of it all: the fact the boys had prepared the dough and baked the cookies, and how warm and tasty the cookies were. He said so.

"You want proof that God exists?" I said. "Just look at our cookies." I held mine up. "Right here, in our hands, is the evidence you are looking for."

A. smiled. He knew I wasn't kidding.


  1. That was a Holy Spirit moment! I think that might stick with that kid, and sow a seed somewhere deep. Beautiful story.

  2. Awesome! :) I really wish I had a family I could've gone to Mass with growing up. When I was old enough to take myself, it gets lonely in the pew.

    I recently discovered the joy of oatmeal cookies that aren't overbaked into sadness, and they were heavenly.

  3. Beautiful! It is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that some kids are never in a house of worship. Keep planting seeds!

  4. Thank you, friends. And Garpu: yes, I am a big fan of oatmeal cookies, too!

  5. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are great! Sharing your faith is better!

  6. What a wonderful thing that God gave these two boys each other!

  7. Such a sweet story. Thanks for sharing!

  8. wonderful story

    Also, anyone that values oatmeal raisin cookies (my favorite) is good people. I bow to you.