He was in one of my double kitchen sinks—a spider, legs and all about a half-dollar size. I have nothing against spiders per se, but outside fine, inside not so much. As one of my daughters says, when they’re outside, it’s OK, but in the house, they’re dead. So I tried to wash him down the sink. (Any spider lovers should quit reading now.) Each time I did, he kept crawling back out, so I would wash him down again. This happened at least three or four times until he didn’t come back out. Impressed, I said, “If you survive this, I’m going to let you live.” But he didn’t come out again. Next morning, guess who greeted me? Right, Mr. or Ms. Spider again. So, instead of drowning him, I was just waterboarding him! I felt sorry for him and I had promised, so now to figure out a way to free him from the sink. I used the plastic tube wrapper from my morning newspaper, scared him into it and released him outdoors. Promising and then carrying out promises made to spiders, maybe I’ve been in isolation too long!
When the two fig bushes in my backyard started sprouting leaves this spring, I noticed no figs, just leaves. Usually tiny fig bumps sprout along with the leaves. We had had a stretch of dry weather so I wondered if I would have figs this year. But now, after all the rain in the last month or so the tiny figs are showing up! There’s also an abundance of blackberries on the vines on the back fence, guarded by chiggers that attack every time I pick the juicy berries. As I think of God’s faithfulness to his creation, which he continually maintains in spite of the damage we humans wreak on it, I marvel. I’m not one to talk to my plants, but when I see them growing and flourishing and bearing fruit, I sense the spiritual creative acts of God. God is not a god who creates and then goes off somewhere, leaving his creation on its own. No, he is closer to us than we can imagine, always sustaining, always creating, always there loving us. Thank you, Lord!
When I opened the shutters on my glass door this morning, the sudden movement startled a young rabbit on my walkway. It didn’t see me so it continued to nose around my porch. The little one was exploring its world. I thought it might hop up on the porch, but it stayed below, occasionally peeping up over the side to look around. So young and so bright-eyed innocent. I wish I could have warned it to watch its back. Most rabbits don’t last long in my yard because of coyotes in the woods behind my house. It may look inviting and peaceful, little one, but it’s a dangerous world out there.
Many, including friends and neighbors, are beginning to be less cautious about social distancing. Actually, some aren’t social distancing at all, which bothers me. It’s as if there were no pandemic. This is not a conspiracy or a left or right political issue. Thousands of people are dying every day in this country! I realize not everyone agrees with the CDC safety standards, but I’m still wearing a mask and staying out of public places as much as possible. Not for me, but for those I come in contact with. We don’t know for sure if we’re carrying the virus or not. I realize not everyone can stay isolated, but for those of us who can, let’s follow the guidelines. Let’s respect those essential people who have to be out on the front lines in this crisis. How awful if my lack of cautious concern resulted in someone suffering or even dying from this awful disease!
Someone hit a squirrel in the road by my house. What made me first notice it was its tail waving in the breeze, straight up like a plume. How odd, I thought. Is it still alive? After watching it for any movement, other than the tail, I determined it was quite dead. I should dispose of it, I thought, but maybe one of the guys in the neighborhood will do it. I’m not that squeamish but picking up and disposing of dead animals is not my favorite job. If I just wait long enough maybe someone else will do the dirty work. Before I could repent, neighbor Bill spotted the squirrel and without hesitation picked it up by its furry upright tail and disappeared into his backyard. Good, thought I, feeling a little guilty all the while.
My stimulus check finally arrived. Unlike so many who are out of work with no income, I’m retired and on a fixed income. Though I’m certainly not wealthy, I don’t need the check as much as some do. I’m self-isolated at home, not going out to eat or driving down to church, so I’m doing okay. (Of course, while my gasoline budget has gone down, my grocery budget has gone way up! Have you noticed that?) This check is extra spending money for me. But, something a lot of us are learning in this pandemic is having more things isn’t important when your health is on the line. What good are more things to those gasping for breath in a hospital ventilator? If nothing else, I hope this crisis is making us rethink our priorities. I realize we’re supposed to spend that money to help the economy but maybe sharing some of it with our community food banks is an even better option.
Well, this Mother’s Day was definitely different! Before Zoom church, we had a Zoom family get-together. Some gray was showing in the parts in people’s hair and my son had grown what he called his Corona beard. So my offspring enjoyed kidding one another. In spite of having to visit through cyberspace, we had fun. That afternoon my girls and husbands brought flowers and gifts and fried chicken for a picnic in my backyard. We placed patio and camping chairs in a big circle properly distanced apart but close enough to visit with one another. I loved it! It makes me so sorry not everyone could have their family together on Sunday. Mother’s Day for some was not as happy as it could have been. Some have lost loved ones, even precious children or beloved grandparents. Some families are estranged for one reason or another. Others are separated because of serving their country in some far place in the world. If you had a happy Mother’s Day, be thankful!
Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis? I asked myself this too, and although I had read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I realized I hadn’t read the whole series. So now I’m reading straight through all of them for the first time. If you’re not familiar with his children’s stories, you’ll find they’re enjoyable reading for adults as well. There’s enough mystery, battles between good and evil and weird characters to keep everyone’s interest. And Christian values are expressed throughout, including a huge, golden lion that obviously portrays Jesus. I like to read between the lines to discover what Lewis is expressing in his choice of characters and themes. If you want more adult reading, try Miracles or Mere Christianity by Lewis. He’s written more than 30 books and if you’re not familiar with his writings, it’s time to get started! He’s a must-read Christian author.
God’s Holy Spirit caused King Saul to dance around and prophesy. He woke little Samuel with a message for a failing priest. He thundered from Mount Sinai and whispered to Elijah. He appeared as wind and fire to Peter and those congregated in Jerusalem at Pentecost. In the Old Testament he worked with specially chosen individuals but in the New Testament, beginning at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is freely offered to all who repent and believe. The Holy Spirit is referred to as a comforter, and he is. He communicates love, joy and peace from our Savior to us, as well as gives us spiritual gifts so we can accomplish God’s will. From the Father to the Son, from the Son to the Holy Spirit, from the Holy Spirit to us, God’s love flows as a graceful river that never ends. What’s our part? To join God in his ministry of love to the world!
When we, or someone we know, receive answers to our prayers, we marvel at God’s miracles on our behalf. We are grateful but also a bit amazed. Wow, isn’t God great! But, think about it, we call what God does miracles, yet to God they aren’t. They are just as normal and natural to God as any human endeavor we’re capable of on our own. And what about us? Jesus said we could move a mountain if we had enough faith. Peter walked on water until his faith failed him. Doesn’t this show evidence this world we live in is not just rocks and clay and seas and stars. Have we grownups forgotten what it is to look with the eyes of a child? Wonders surround us. We take for granted that every spring flowers will bloom and birds will nest. But why is that? Because God is constantly sustaining his creation. If he weren’t we and everything we know would disappear. God loves his creation and restoration is coming!