The darkness belies the fact that it's 6:25 AM. For an eight year old, this is spooky enough. But worse, lightning flashes across the night-like sky stopping my son in his tracks as we make our short walk to the bus stop.
We've seen lots of rain lately in my region. The ground is soggy and everything drips with moisture today. But as we were leaving out for the bus stop, nature had provided an intermission from the rain fall. Perfect timing. Now we won't get wet waiting for the school bus.
Except that now, my son is afraid to leave the front yard because of he sees yet another flash of light within the clouds.
He wrapped his arms around me and begged to go back into the house.
I try to explain to him that his bus should be here any minute. We'll be fine.
"But what if the lightning strikes us? We can get struck by lightning."
I try to continue our progression towards the bus stop when yet another flash of lightning strikes fear into my son's mind.
Now he starts sobbing.
Oh no. Not this.
"Why are you so scared?"
"Grandma told me that lightning can hit you."
Then came yet another flash of light. (I'm not talking about pronounced lightning strikes to the ground or to a tree. Just flashes of light among the clouds.)
My son started to lament, "why does God make lightning? He controls the weather! So why does he keep doing this?"
And with the worst timing possible, a peal of thunder rumbles across the sky warning him not to question nature again. How dare he question the thunder god!
He cried even harder now and buried his face into my side.
Through his sobbing, he told me that his Grandmother (my mom) told him that God controls the weather and the lightning. She also told him that she was afraid of lightning. I guess my son coupled these two concepts together and now he thinks that lightning is a sign of God's anger and destructive power.
He didn't want to go to the bus stop because he thought God would strike us down.
All at once, he is very scared of this thunder god. And I do not appreciate this very much at all. Only a few days ago, lightning was no big deal to him. I told him of the potential dangers, but he wasn't paralyzed by the fear of lightning until this very morning. Grandma must have had one of her talks with him yesterday evening.
Yes, I know that lightning strikes people.
But if god sits in the sky and throws lightning bolts at people on purpose, then I honestly question either his aim or his choice of targets.
I am troubled by this. I don't want my son's life paralyzed because he fears an unseen, punitive god who randomly throws lightning bolts and makes thunder rumble in the sky.
Looks like the time has come for a good lesson in meteorology.