I don’t know the day the hermit crab, Crabby Cakes, actually died. He (or she) has lived in our home for two and a half years. Before that Crabby Cakes lived four years with Mrs. Barbara, the science teacher at our daughter’s pre-school. When Crabby Cakes came to live with us I thought four years is a long time to live in captivity…surely this arrangement will only last a little while longer. How long can a hermit crab really live??? It lasted much longer than I expected. And over that time, I have to say, that little guy (or girl) grew on me and in its own way made a happy difference in our home.
But sometime over the past week of crazy in our home and schedule, Crabby Cakes moved from this life into the next. Sometime in the middle of homework, dinner, gymnastics, work, church, trips to and from school, Crabby Cakes stopped moving. It could possibly have happened while we were out on Wednesday to celebrate the arrival of Christmas with an-over-the-top Christmas Festival and up-close-and-personal firework display. Crabby Cakes might have fallen asleep then. Or it could have been one of my sleepless nights this week…maybe that is why I couldn’t sleep. Or maybe it was while I was sitting in Bible study and a prayer that I had been praying for over a year began to be answered with each passing minute. When did it happen…no idea!
Today, in his (her) little way, Crabby Cakes sent a message to me…stop for a minute. Check on my friend, Critter. (Time for pastoral care…crab style.) Remember that God is both small and big. God is present in the small, baby steps that we take towards a dream or vision and God is present on the big flashy firework days. When we remember this, we know that each moment of our lives is created and desires to be experienced fully. We also know that each little part of our life matters.
At the funeral for Crabby Cakes, I stood before the toilet (because we know from Nemo that all drains lead to the ocean) and said a quick thanks and farewell. Thankful for the tinniest part of my life sending a big message…all life matters. Itsn’t that the message of the cross too?
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” (Genesis 1:20)
Whew…after we finished dinner the other night I was even more worn out that I was before we began. I LOVE the idea of sitting around the table at night together to enjoy one slow meal. Our only slow meal of the day. We get a chance to talk about our roses and thorns (our highs and lows) of the day. It gives me a great insight into the lives of my children that I don’t get to see. This ideal meal (conversation, good food, laughter) is at least what I expect.
What really happens is this…pleaseeee eat your green bean. When asked how many at the beginning of the meal I decide on number 5. Eat 5 green beans. By the end of the meal I am begging…just eat one…just one. Just eat one green bean for my sake. Only because I know the pediatrician will ask me that one question at your annual visit. “Does she eat a balanced meal?” I always say yes…but it is a stretch.
And then both my children began using my own lines on me…”I love you to much to argue”….then they would laugh…
I once heard Kevin Leman encourage parents to talk with their children at the dinner table the same way they would talk with diner guests. For instance, I would not demand that my dinner guests eat their green beans before they left the table. So why do I talk with my children that way????
Thankfully I will be invited back to our dinner table tonight. Maybe I just need to focus on my own green beans and not worry about controlling everyone else’s. I’m learning that a Happy Tent usually includes a happy mom…not one who brings stress and control to the table. There is enough of that in this world.
I pray my table will reflect more love, acceptance and peace.I want to enjoy these years because I know in a few short years, some of my dinner guests will not be at my table on a regular basis.