Tiny Dart Frog

Poison Dart Frogs are some of the tiniest and beautiful creatures on the planet; they are also incrediably deadly. So, why call this blog "Tiny Dart Frog"? It goes back to the old adage - good things come in small packages. We are all created exactly as God has intended - unique, strong, and beautiful.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

Every once in awhile one of my kids says or asks something, which is very innocuous at the basic level, but then the more it rolls around in my head, the more profound it seems. I often wonder if the depth of what their statements conveys is known only to me or if I read into things too much. A little of both, I guess. At this point in my life, as we all embark on a new Lent, it feels more like God talking. So, here's a little portion of how a conversation went with Jackson (age 9) today...maybe it'll speak to you.

I'm folding laundry as Jackson curls up on the couch and asks, "How come we don't celebrate Mardi Gras?"

"Hmmm," I am thinking, "well, we sort-of have before. Remember last year at CLC (my internship congregation), when we had the Pancake Supper? That was on Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday. It happens the day before Ash Wednesday." I am fully aware that my answer is insufficient and don't go into spiritual disciplines of fasting, remembering we are dust, and simplification. For some reason I think it's just too much for him (maybe it's the mom in me protecting his self-esteem - yes, I know...pride can be a sin...).

Jackson says, "But why eat pancakes before Ash Wednesday?" Exactly what I was trying to avoid. "Okay, here it goes," I am thinking. So, I say, "Well, Ash Wednesday is the day we start Lent, which is the 40 days which lead up to Easter. And during Lent we remember and try to focus on God and what has been done for us in Jesus. We try to simplify things. So, people eat pancakes before Lent as their last chance for awhile to over-indulge."

Jackson innocently states, "So, I guess we're not going to be having pancakes for awhile?" I laugh and say, "No, we can have pancakes..." He says (and this is what I love because it's simple and profound ), "Yeah, I guess we could have pancakes, but definitely no 'all-you-can-eat buffets' - that's definitely out of the question."

So - no 'all-you-can-eat buffets' for Lent, no 'it's all about me', no satisfying myself with things which ultimately don't satisfy. I'm hoping during Lent this year I can sit simply with God at the sparseness of the foot of the cross and be fed on the simple offering of bread and wine - then I really will be full.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Warm Weather Friends

Last week the weather was incredibly warm here in Washington DC. It seemed to be that way across the nation. In a matter of days, we went from 7 degrees to almost 70 degrees.

My running partner and I were out one morning and she said, "Listen. It's a bird - a sign of spring." It really did sound like spring, and with the warmer weather, even at 5:30 in the morning, it felt like spring.

I said, "Yeah, it's just a tease though. I can't really enjoy it because I know it's not going to stick around."

"I don't know. I think of it more as a respite. We have 7 more weeks of winter regardless - might as well get a break to help us get through the rest of it," she said.

Hmmm.....a respite, not a tease. I think she's on to something. Enjoy the moment. Take the gift that offered. I consider myself a "half-glass full" kind of person, but in that moment I realized I was wishing parts of my life away just because they are filled with darker, colder days. And - when I was given the respite, the chance to bask in a little warmth, I wouldn't even take it in because I knew it wouldn't last.

I've had some darker days, some days that I wish had never happened. I think we all have. I've also seen some amazing things come out of the darkness and cold. Do I wish some of those harsh winds hadn't blown into my life? Yes. Have I seen beautiful gifts of warmth and song come about? Yes. Is there a certain sweetness to the smell of spring in the very midst of death? I think so.

You know, the cold weather's back. The respite is over. But I have this new perspective. The twist of it all is: having had the warmth, having had the break, having had the brief encounter with tranquility and birds singing, I know it'll be back again. And that, that promise of good things to return is something to hold onto. It's not a tease of something you can't have for good, but a promise of what is always around the bend.