You would think I was still smoking pot these days, but I stopped that ritual a long time ago. It’s too hard to keep track of children and I never could write worth a hill of beans back then. Sure I had deep, deep thoughts and then something sparkly would distract me…or a cookie.
I feel like I get so much more out of my children’s books and cartoons than they do. And why wouldn’t I, I have 41 years on them. I read a book to Arjan last night and ask what he learned from the story and he pronounced, “I didn’t learn a thing!” But that was just because he was mad at me for some injustice, I think I turned off his Mickey Mouse Club or something cruel like that. He’s usually pretty deep when he’s not pissed off.
We read a story about Alan the Alligator. I love this story and have read it 10 times already, I never tire of it. Allan came from a long line of scary scarers (is that a word?). He loved to polish his scales and brush all his sharp teeth and head into the jungle for a full day of scaring the jungle critters. At night he would lounge in his swamp and do crossword puzzles and then..pull out his false teeth! He would say, “Thweat dweams my scawy thnappers”. and retire for the night. No one knew he had alligator dentures, however, like all good stories, one morning a beaver discovered Allan’s teeth and took them.
Allan was so upset, but he still ventured into the jungle to see if he could be scary without the teeth. No go. He was more amusing than anything and after being humiliated by the jungle crowds laughter at his flapping gums he slunk back to the swamp to cry. And cry he did with such passion that the jungle animals came to him the next day and said, “You may have your teeth back on one condition…” That being that he never scared them again.
Allan didn’t know what he was going to do. Scaring was all he knew, he came from a long line of scary alligators. But the jungle animals had some ideas for him. In the end, he set up shop and used his sharp teeth for all kinds of things. He became a gardener, barber, and dentist. At night all the jungle would gather for his scary stories and sometimes Barry the beaver got to wear his teeth. The end.
What a great story for us all. Here Allan was, living his lonely life being scary, thinking things were pretty good, doing the same job for all his life. Then a mishap and his career is taken right from under him. What he is doing is affecting others negatively and one day he’s confronted. He is forced to change his ways, but with some help from the most unlikely sources, he learns new skills and winds up having a better, fuller life! And all sorts of new companions!
Arjan didn’t get anything out of it because he was struggling with being stuck in his ways at the time, however, I did get a wonderful message for anyone who will listen.
Change is good, especially when it’s forced. It means that God has finally decided that, like it or not, we must embrace the new. We get too comfortable in how life is going and our little routines, we have no idea how much fuller, happier, brighter life can really be. So we are given a little Universal shove. Ah, but we are never sent out to do it by ourselves. We are sent helpers and support. And if we just surrender to the process, we will find glorious blessings and a better life than we had before.
Be open to what life brings, don’t fear it, be curious, excited to see what will happen next. Think back to a time when you thought things were really working out terrible and then they turned out to be gifts. Also, remember that it is always darkest before the dawn. Just when we are about to give up…the sun rises up over the mountain and it is the most beautiful time of the day, right after the darkest, chilliest time.