We were on our way to dinner, just the two of us. She told me she planned to have soup and hoped the restaurant would have "rich chocolate cake". I laughed and she fell silent until we passed a cemetery. "I'm going to make sure that someone knows I want a cross on my grave when I die. They are so beautiful."
I glanced at the rows of graves marked with stark white crosses nestled in the newly green grass and could easily see the beauty through her eyes.
"Do you know what the cross symbolizes?"
I didn't have a point to make. I was simply enjoying the fact that my quieter child was in the mood to talk.
She said nothing for a few moments - giving the question obvious thought - and then said, "No".
"Well, the cross is a Christian symbol. Do you consider yourself to be a Christian?"
Though neither Luisa nor I are religious, we have always tried to talk openly and without judgement about religion. We have talked about Christianity before and she went through a phase during which she wanted to pray at meals. I was truly curious about her answer.
"What is a Christian?"
"A Christian is a person who believes that Jesus was the son of God, that he died for our sins and then came back to life."
"Hmmm...do you have to believe in God?"
"Then, no. I'm not a Christian."
The rest of the drive was quiet. When we reached the restaurant, we had to park a couple of blocks away and walk. She hopped out of the car and grabbed my hand, swinging it as we walked. She looked up at the sky and said, "Do you think there is a God up there?"
"What do you think?"
"I don't think so."
"Personally, I agree."
"I need some sort of proof, you know? I need evidence that God is real before I'll believe. Maybe there could be a big beam of light and wind that would come down to earth and somehow prove that God is there. Or maybe we could send a rocket ship up there to look around."
"First, even if God exists, he doesn't literally sit above the clouds. Think of all the different gods you have heard about..."
"The Greek gods, the Muslim god, the Jewish god..."
"They can't all be hanging out up there, right?" She nodded and I continued. "The truth is that there will probably never be proof of God's existence.When you believe in something you can't prove, it's called faith."
"I don't have that."
"I struggle a bit with it myself but you don't have to figure out what you believe right now."
She squeezed my hand tightly, smiled and said in her most reassuring tone, "I know."
I reveled in the feel of her small hand in mine, in my luck at having such good company.
She stopped walking and turned to me, "Do you think they will have chocolate cake?"
"I don't know."
She started walking again and said with a smirk, "I think they will."
Apparently, faith in God is hard but faith in chocolate cake is easy.