Sometimes I just want to bang my head against the wall. Like tonight.
Dimitri is an anxious child. I don’t know if this is a phase or the autism or something else coming through, but he worries a lot. Tonight’s worry was over the sun exploding.
I should point out that I have an eclectic set of beliefs that bring together science and religion. Basically I believe whichever school of thought gives me the most comfortable answer to my question. If science has a reasonable explanation, I go with science. Anything to do with consciousness and what happens after we die, I prefer religion because the science explanation sucks. So my kids get exposed to talk of God, the soul, angels, and spirit guides just as much as they hear about astronomy, math, and physics. This is an important point, which I will get to in a minute.
Because I am a big fan of “The Universe” on H2 channel and they covered dying suns in one episode, I gave him the “science” answer. Yes, my sweet darling, the sun will explode, eventually and long after you are gone.
Big. Mistake. But you already saw that coming, right?
I told him it was seven billion years away (give or take a few). I told him he would not be alive, nor would his children’s children’s children’s children. I promised him it would not happen in our lifetimes. I told him that number was more years than the Earth was old. I sat him down and showed him how many zeros separate 100 (number of years in a very long life) and one billion.
He was freaked. On the verge of crying. Every few minutes he would talk about it, scared as if it could happen at any minute. At one point in the evening he asked, “Why can’t God do something about it?”
Seriously kid, it won’t matter. I went the science-fiction route and said that we would have the technology to live on another planet in another solar system. He asked if we could switch dimensions by then. Sure, why not? By now I will agree to anything that will put his mind at ease.
Yet the possibility of switching dimensions did not reassure. What if we end up in the Minecraft dimension? What if Earth looks different? What if people don’t look like people?
Kid, I thought, the dimension thing was your idea. Stop finding fault with your own ideas!
Time for Plan B (from Outer Space).
“Look, kiddo, here’s what I will do for you. I’ll ask God to make sure nothing happens.”
He looked up at me, eyes shining with desperate hope. “Promise you’ll ask Him?”
He let out a long, deep, and satisfied sigh. “Okay,” he said, and returned to his latest Transformer toy.
Apparently I overcomplicate. The lesson learned is K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simply, Silly.
P.S. – Did you know that all heavier elements in the universe are the products of exploded suns? There would be no gold, silver, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, iron, or most of the periodic table, if suns didn’t die. That means we are made of exploded sun guts. Just something to think about.