Friday, June 12, 2009

Fish Song

First off, I'd just like to say that I love working at my dad's house. I get to be with people whom I love, I get to do activities that allow my mind to wander, I get to rest while working hard, and I've been listening to my Pandora station of The Three Tenors (although currently I'm visiting the Coldplay Station). It's beautiful here. And I get to do a lot of processing...

So today as I was scrubbing paint over spray off of the kickboard in the bathroom with Krud Kutter and a toothbrush, I started thinking about salmon. I have no idea where the thought came from. I wasn't even listening to music to put the idea into my head, but it invited itself nonetheless.

Here's what impresses me about salmon:
~ They are born in freshwater, live in saltwater, and then return to the freshwater to spawn.
~ When spawning, they return to the same place that they were hatched - sometimes/often swimming upstream against currents of force to get to the location.
~ They generally die within a few days of spawning.

These fish are amazing.

The last fact has always caught my attention. While my initial response may be some cynical joke along the lines of, "and that's why we say 'no' to kids," I realized something kind of beautiful today. Scriptures say that it's a picture of Christ.

The whole purpose of these fishes' lives is to give life. And while I can't exactly say that these fish are motivated by love, I cannot help but notice that collectively, an individual dies so that others may live. This isn't a passive decision. This isn't just bad luck - a "well, you got picked in the lottery, so sucks to be you" kind of sacrifice. It's active - something brought about by the fish's actions to bring about life.

That's really neat.

So, if the whole purpose of a fish's life is as such (evidenced by what they die for), then how much more amazing does that make the actions of Christ?
While fish may act out of instinct, that beautiful component of love is central to the divine love story found in the cross.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Monshers of Reckless Abandon

Here's how working in the garden went for me yesterday (well, two days ago now):

A wonderful little two-and-a-half year old came running at me from across the yard, blonde hair flying and hazel eyes full of joy. I was either half bent over in a rose bush, trying to cut out a sucker...or I was completely squatting under the plant (it's hard to remember exactly because this happened a coupe of times).

"Beppa Boo!" she cheered as she came to a stop and gripped her hands into either my back pockets or into the top of my jeans - whichever suited her fancy on the various trips she took to see me during her flight around the yard.

With the back of my jeans firmly in her grasp, my favorite little person then brought her teeth down over one of my back pockets and "bit" me. "Beppa Boo, I a monsher and I eating you!" she informed me.

"Oh...yep!" was about all I could say each time as I stood there with a pair of clippers in one hand and a very large rose branch in the other - doing my best to focus on breathing deeply so that I wouldn't betray how much she was tickling me or how ridiculously cute I thought she was. Also, if I squirmed, I was likely to wind up face-first in a rose bush. To say the least, the experience was super cute, very funny, and tickled like crazy but I couldn't let onto that because to wiggle out of her grasp and laugh would only encourage the behavior.

And let's be realistic: although having a two year old grab you by your jeans and bite your butt while informing you that she's a monster that's eating you is really funny and charming when you're in the backyard, that sort of behavior isn't typically embraced too much in public. As children age and come to "know better" this sort of behavior is also discouraged. So, I treasure it for now.

I love watching young children because they are free from many of the constraints that society has placed on them. They are free to laugh, explore, be silly, play, and love without further thought. They don't feel the pressure of not fitting in. If they understand that they are loved, then that's all that matters. Everything else in life follows for them to pursue with every ounce of energy in their little bodies.

I think maybe that's what Jesus meant when he said that we were to become like little children. We are called to a relationship with him where we wants us to understand how unreservedly he loves us - unconditionally, no exceptions. And in the depth and security of that love we are free to live our lives as passionately as little children who just saw a butterfly for the first time. We are free to marvel, to love extravagantly, and to take bold risks - to loosen the shackles of our insecurities, and to live in the knowledge that we are being watched over by One who has the power to protect us even in the face of real "monshers." We can experience wild, reckless abandonment to joy.

Kathryn conquers the "dinoshwawr".