A year apart
The summer has now officially finished. But before it did, we went to the beach, and Marta (6) buried a jellyfish.
To understand the enormity of this simple act, it is necessary to take you back for a few moments to the previous summer.
As usual, we had gone to Spain for the kids to spend some time with their cousins. And, frankly, for us to spend some time with an orb of fire in the sky the like of which is seldom seen in these parts. You will recall, of course, that we live in the land of song, sheep and perennial precipitation known to outsiders as “Wales.”
Our Spanish summers are always a fantastic few weeks to get away from things, and an inordinate proportion of our time is spent splashing in the sea. We almost always come back home before the late-summer blooming of jellyfish in the local area.
I say “almost” because last year the jellyfish arrived early.
It was a glorious morning and, as usual, we had gone to play in the sea before it got too hot. Suddenly we heard Marta cry out. We rushed over to find red welts on her arm, and her sobbing inconsolably. Between her sobs she managed to say “I’ve been stung by some seaweed!”
A few feet away, we saw a jellyfish bobbing gently.
“That looks painful!” we agreed. “You’ve been stung by a jellyfish.”
“No!” she she screamed. “It was seaweed! Jellyfish don’t sting me! They’re my friends!” and she tried to struggle over to give the jellyfish a hug. With some effort, we escorted her back to the safety of the sand.
When the pain had subsided, we tried to explain again. But the more we did, the angrier she became. “Jellyfish are beautiful! Jellyfish are my friends! Jellyfish would never sting me!”
I reflected that God’s Toddlers are like Marta, even as grown-ups. Patterns of behaviour which make us comfortable, with which we are familiar, which we find attractive can be hurting us, but we refuse to believe it.
Surely my obsession with Twitter cannot hurt me? Twitter is my friend! But perhaps sometimes it goes further than is good for me…
Surely a little benign chit-chat can’t hurt anyone? Communication is our friend! But sometimes we don’t spot the poison when banter becomes gossip…
And a thousand patterns we feel don’t harm us because they are our friend. But, if we cared to simply look, the red welts are there for all to see…
Burial at sea
When Marta found another jellyfish this year, washed up on the sand, she was a year older and a year wiser. She looked thoughtfully at it for a minute. Then slowly and carefully, she picked up her spade and buried it.
It would be no bad thing for me to start recognising my own jellyfish and, slowly and carefully, start to bury them.
© Text 2017 Paul Brownnutt
Being God’s Toddler by Paul Brownnutt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Moon Jellyfish photo By Alexander Vasenin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Today’s post was brought to you by Romans 6:6-7