During recess time after a frustrating, confusing, stressful, and emotionally exhausting morning of virtual school, Jack and Caroline went outside to play in our yard. They both were in a funk, and had the severe cases of the “I don’t know what to do! I’m bored! There’s nothing to do out here!” Being the working mother that I am, I simply said, “Figure it out. Use your imagination. You have 45 minutes of recess and it’s a beautiful day. Ready, set, go!” I received the, all too common, eye roll and moan from the both of them.
I watched through the window of the house as they wandered around the yard. They walked slowly and sulked their way through the grass. And then, they saw them. They found a few caterpillars on the ground! They were headed to the grav- el driveway, and the kids immediately became concerned for their safety. The caterpillars were out in the open! At any given moment, a bird could swoop down and eat them. Concerned, the kids picked up the caterpillars and relocated them to the grassy side yard. They brought them some leaves to eat, and made sure they were hidden well. Caroline named hers – Ella.
When the kids came back in from “doing their time” outdoors, they were excited to tell me about their adventures of sav- ing the caterpillars. Their playtime and their mood lifted greatly after that experience. They had tons of fun outside, and played hard. They were no longer sulking and miserable. They had new life, motivation, and joy behind their eyes.
Throughout this weekend, Caroline kept spotting caterpillars in the yard. Every time she saw one, she checked on it to make sure it was healthy, well, and hidden from predators. She bent down and had a short chat with the insect – lovingly calling it “Ella” and inquiring about its day. Over and over, she did this. Ella has become an outdoor family member that is brought up regularly in our conversations. She has become OUR caterpillar.
I’m reminded of one of my favorite bible passages: Isaiah 43:1-7 (CEB)
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.
6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
God, the one who created us all, loves us and calls us by name. God claims us and has created us for God’s glory. God promises to be with us through it all, and encourages us to not be afraid, because God is with us! Thanks be to God!