He Shakes Stars With His Laughter

Fiction By Libby // 10/14/2017

“Who is God?” the little girl asked. “What is he like?”

I had never been asked that question before. Uncertain, I paused.

“God lives up in heaven,” I answered, then hesitated. What did one tell to a little girl who had never heard of God? “He loves us very much, I guess. He made the world, and you and me.”

“I thought Mummy made me.” Frowning, she looked up at me with puzzled brown eyes.

“Well, I…” I was at a loss of what to say. “Um—” I looked down at my watch. “Oh, uh, sorry—gotta go! I’m late.” Eager to get away, I pretended that I had somewhere to go, and took my chance to leave that awkward conversation.

All throughout dinner, I felt bad about leaving that little girl with her important question unanswered; but what could I have said? I wasn’t prepared. Laying my head down, I pondered, who is God? I hadn’t thought it much. My parents believed in him, so I did, too, because it felt like the right thing to do. But I didn’t know who he really was, though he seemed rather strict from their point of view.

That girl’s question planted something inside my heart that told me to get real with myself and actually find out what kind of God I believed in. I figured I’d think about it tomorrow.

Tomorrow came. I was too busy to think at all, getting up late as usual, and running to catch the bus. Ten minutes later, I was headed up the sidewalk to my school.

“Hullo.” She was there, the little girl, waiting at the gate where she’d stopped me yesterday. Waving, I smiled and walked on. To my surprise, she ran up and began to walk along side of me.

“How are you doing today?” I asked her, wanting her to leave as soon as possible. I couldn’t be late for class.

“Good,” she tossed out carelessly. I quickened my pace. She began to jog. Rolling my eyes, I asked myself how determined this little shadow would be. Would she follow me into school?

“I found out who God is.” I didn’t stop, but I slowed at her words.

“Did you?”

“Mm hm.” She nodded importantly. “I told Daddy about my question, and he told me who God is.” I waited as she stopped to tied her shoe.

“Well, who is he?” I asked, unable to contain my curiosity, and wondering all the while why I asked a little girl this question.

“Why, he’s God!” She looked at me as if I should’ve known that God is God. I didn’t know what to say, but that was fine, because she didn’t allow me time to even think what to say.

“And God made everything! He put the sun in the sky, and put the earth in the sky, and he stuck people here. Daddy thinks he left us here after he made us, ‘cause he doesn’t care ‘bout us anymore. But if he didn’t care ‘bout us, why’d he make us?” She put the question forward indignantly. And I thought—no, I didn’t have time to think, she went right on.

“I know he loves us very much. He made shapes with all the stars. They’re called consternations. And he lights up the nighttime with fireflies, ‘cause they look pretty.” She stopped, stared at me with her bright eyes, and smiled. Dropping her voice to a whisper, she said, “And when he’s really, really happy, he laughs; and when he laughs, he shakes the sky; and when he shakes the sky, stars fall—shooting stars!

My mouth was open wide by the time she finished. Her version of God fascinated me, so different from the strict God of my parents, that I couldn’t help but wonder which side of the matter was true.

I shook my head and turned to her, but she was gone, headed down the sidewalk. I hadn’t even noticed her leave. Looking back, she waved as she faded from view.

Strange, I thought as I walked to my class, how a small conversation that seemed so unimportant had made me question what I had believed all my life, unquestionably. Which side was right? Or was there another side that I hadn’t yet discovered? I thought of what the little girl had said and smiled faintly, not a mocking smile, but one of puzzled wonder. Who knows? I sort of liked the idea of a God who shakes stars with his laughter.

Comments

This is so, so gorgeous...

This is so, so gorgeous... and poignant. As someone not categorically religious, I really appreciated the exploration in this piece and the poetic reflection of God. I also felt like it was the exact right length. You have a natural rhythm with your dialogue, too.

Sarah Bethany | Sat, 10/14/2017

Thank you very much.

Thank you very much.

Libby | Tue, 10/17/2017

“The gospel alone is the power of God unto salvation.
Therefore, suffer, yes. Be misunderstood, yes. Be shamed, yes. But do not be ashamed. For the joy set before you, take up your cross, follow Jesus, be shamed and despise the shame!” -- John Piper

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