Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Eternity (03/10/11)
TITLE: Turtles All The Way Down
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
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Mom rubbed her daughter’s back. “You just started school; you can’t expect to know everything. Ivy is good at math; maybe with your mother and sister helping we can figure it out.”
Ivy nodded her head and picked up the workbook, “So what questions do you have?”
Using her sleeve, Tiara wiped the tears off her face. “I just asked what the highest number in the world is. Mrs. Stuart rolled her eyes and used big words that no one in the class understood.”
Ivy patted her little sister's head, “I remember having her for a teacher; she doesn’t always give the best answers. Did she tell you there isn’t a highest number and use the word infinity?”
Giggling, Tiara nodded, “Then when I asked what that meant, she told me to look it up.”
Mommy cleared her throat, “So did you get the dictionary and figure out what infinity means?”
“You’d be proud of me, Mom, I looked it up and one of the synonyms was eternal; so I looked that up, too, and it said forever. I know what that means but how does it go on forever? I understand you keep counting and when you get to 999 then it turns to 1,000 and then you count 999 more and it goes to 2,000 and so on. But eventually, someone is going to get tired of counting and even if we take turns, it can’t keep going on and on.”
Putting her fists under her chin, Ivy looked at her sister, “But you get the idea. Do you remember in Sunday School when Becky asked how long do we get to live in heaven with Jesus when we die?”
Tiara giggled, “Miss Holly gave an old Native American story.“ She looked at Mommy to make sure she was listening, “Before they learned about gravity there were two men arguing about how the world stayed up in the sky. A woman came by and told them that the earth was on the back of a giant turtle. Then one of the men wanted to know what the turtle was standing on.”
When Tiara took a breathe, Ivy finished the story. “The old lady laughed and said that he was standing a bigger turtle. Then the guy asked what the bigger turtle was on. The old wise woman said that he needn’t bother to keep asking cuz it’s turtles all the way down, Sonny.”
Both girls laughed so hard they fell off their chairs. Mom looked at them, shook her head and shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t get it; eventually a turtle has to be standing on something.”
Groaning and rolling her eyes just a little bit Tiara explained, “That’s because you’re thinking like a human, God made us, the earth, and turtles so you need to have a God’s brain to understand, but we are only human. We aren’t meant to understand everything; we just have to believe.”
“Yeah, Mom, lots of people think eternity starts when we die; but it’s like the numbers, the earth, and a circle. It just keeps going on and on.“ Ivy took a quick break to drink her milk.
Looking at Tiara, she asked, “So do you understand your math now or do your need more help?”
Smiling, Tiara said, “I understand. Math is like the old legend, it’s turtles all the way down, Sonny.“ Just then, Ivy started to swallow her milk when she started laughing. Soon milk was squirting out of her nose and all over the kitchen.
Opening the back door, Daddy walked in, “What’s for dinner?”
Winking at the girls, Mommy replied, “Turtle soup!” Daddy just stood there with his mouth hanging open and watched his family roll on the floor with laughter.
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