I am spending the week with my husband’s family up in Washington in the San Juan Islands. During this week, I get to spend some time with my little 4 1/2 year old niece who I don’t see all the often. I’m never around children this age. Most of our friends have babies or I work with kids in school who are older. So, it took me awhile to get used to the incessant talking and obsession with princesses and pink. However, I learned that there is something about 4 1/2s that intrigue me. They wander through life, enchanted by everything, puzzled by the obvious and exude such a contagious excitement for life that it’s hard not to jump up and down every time an ice cream cone is offered.
I saw the world through the eyes of this little one, and within a few days, I began to view the world with the amazement it deserves.
One sunny day, my niece and I went exploring around the backyard of the little house. I held her hand as she ran around the dry grass, her blue eyes full of excitement and her blond curls bouncing.
“Come on Aunt Theresa. Let’s look over here!” We saw a rock with moss. It wasn’t even the neon green, spongy moss that entices you to run your hands over it. Yet, she noticed it and was completely enthralled. Suddenly, a gardener snake slithered out from behind the rock, through the grass. She grabbed my hand and shrieked in fear.
“It’s ok,” I said, “God made that snake.” She looked up at me, perplexed, trying to make sense of what I just told her. “You mean it’s God’s snake?” she asked.
“Yes. And he made it for you so you can look at him.” She paused, looked at the snake and shrugged, venturing on to the next exhibit.
Soon we came upon it: Mr. Slug. “ Yuck. Gross.” She backed away from the slug, her eyes gazing at it’s slimy trail in disgust. I leaned down, encouraging her to follow my lead.
“It’s ok. It’s only a slug. He is trying to get home, just like we have a home. God made it.”
Again, she paused and looked at me, trying to decide if what I said made any sense at all. “ So it’s God’s slug?”
“Yep, it’s God’s slug.”
Then all at once the area in the backyard we were standing in seemed to come alive. A dragonfly danced passed us, a grasshopper leapt over a rock, a fly buzzed through the air.
“It’s God’s Dragonfly! It’s God’s cricket! It’s God’s fly!”
The world around us suddenly got exhilarating as she made the connection that everything around her was God’s and he put it here for her.
Later that night as I sat outside alone on the back porch over looking that ocean and the mountains, a deep red glow enveloped me. I stopped what I was reading and simply looked up. Never has a glow like this so completely consumed me. It was eerie and all I could do was stop and look up. The clouds were on fire, as if a match ignited a single corner of the sky, spreading and sweeping everything up in a brilliant blaze. Suddenly I felt the excitement that my little niece had for the world around her swell within me.
“It’s God’s glow,” I whispered to myself.
And I couldn’t stop staring.