From the Mouths of Babes and the Ears of Whales | Sojourners

From the Mouths of Babes and the Ears of Whales

How do you respond to a 2-year-old who asks you what a soul is?
The illustration shows a whale tale sticking out of the ocean, and an ear, swimming as if it were a whale
Illustration by Melanie Lambrick 

LAST WINTER I woke up to 24 text messages on the family chain, which could only mean that someone had died, or someone was pregnant, or the San Antonio Spurs had finally decided to end their rebuild and trade four first-round draft picks for star point guard Trae Young. But I was wrong. My 2-year-old nephew Sébastien had asked his first theological question. The question arrived, according to my sister, around 6 a.m., an ungodly time for existential matters.

“What is a soul, mama?” Séb asked her. My nephew had been running through the lyrics of “Frosty the Snowman,” wondering what it meant to have a “jolly, happy soul.”

I FaceTimed my sister to learn more. “How did you respond?” I don’t have any kids — yet — so her anecdote was equal parts thrilling and terrifying.

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The image shows the cover of Sojourners' May 2024 issue, which depicts a priest with mushrooms growing out of their head
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