Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Words for Living #7 (published in "The Community Voice" January 23, 2008)

[Church this Sunday was canceled due to the blizzard. Check for a sermon next week.]

Systematically securing sea shells on the sea shore certainly sounds sincerely silly and splendidly stimulating. I once found the perfect sea shell. Seriously, this sea shell had stupendous shading and shape. I selected and stored it with my other spoils. (Had enough?)

As we were leaving the beach, I couldn’t find it. My big brother explained that the shell was eaten by the other ones. I was mostly young, not stupid, so I didn’t believe him. His next try was that it had crawled off. How does that saying go? “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” There was no way I was buying the second explanation.

No way, until he pointed out my wondrous shell crawling down the beach. My stubborn self ran it down, picked it up, and put it in my pocket. I knew there are times when it doesn’t hurt to look. My brother discovered that when he put a shoe on and something large and hairy tried to crawl out. That’s how we learned the hard way that some Tarantula’s are not poisonous.

From then on, our family had a law. Simply put, it was, “always look.” When I put the shell into my pocked, I didn’t look. Ever see a kid drop his pants for no apparent reason? My brother thought it was the funniest thing he’d ever seen. When the shell moved, I panicked. I knew two things; there were scorpions around and their sting was painful. Bruised self-esteem is better than self-inflicted pain.

After he finished laughing my brother said, “I told you so.” That is a very bad thing to tell a person standing on the beach without their shorts. It sounds even worse coming from “the brother.” Even worse than worse, he was right. Maybe self-inflicted pain is better.

The culprit was a “hermit” crab. I call them clowns because they provided lots of entertainment. These creatures played “peek-a-boo,” which entertains small children and when annoyed grab stuff with their claws, which entertained young boys.

One trip to the beach, I had buried most of myself when a hermit crab crawled across my face. Apparently walking around something is not in their nature. I sat up in time to see, what looked like, the sea tossing its shells. Zillions of them scampered across the beach making sounds only horror movie buffs can appreciate. I made the mistake of trying to get out from under the sand seconds before I was swamped with zillions of creepy-crawlies who saw no reason to walk around a young boy.

Every now and then, you will be swamped by something foul, scary, or hurtful. People ask me, “Why did this happen to me?” Maybe they think God is being mean to them. Fact is, “life happens” so get over it. Let your zillions of hermit crabs teach you: “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him will I trust.” [Psalm 91:2]

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