This week my husband walks in the door after a long day at work to find: dishes piled in the sink, laundry all over the living room, the beef for dinner still in a frozen block, and me…looking like Frump Queen. He is gracious. And tells me to take a nap. I instantly obey. (Inwardly rejoicing.) And while I am sleeping for 45 minutes, he manages to clean the whole house…while watching our daughter. (A feat I clearly was incapable of accomplishing today. Many days.)
Our house caught fire, once.
He asked me if I had a turkey in the oven.
We could find no flames, but, sure enough, the smoke hung thick in the hallway. As my husband rushed to find the source, I rushed to get our teens out.
I found them, fully awake, but not escaping, on the balcony over the foyer.
I gave them our car keys and (probably somewhat agitatedly) ORDERED them to get out, move the car away, and stay in it.
Later questioning revealed: The heavy sleeper had not even heard the alarm. The easily-irritated one had resented the sleep intrusion, pulled the pillow over his head, and grumbled. By the time I discovered them, they had only just reached that landing, saw me, and were waiting for instructions.
We require engraved invitations, sometimes, don’t we? What about you?
Do you have trouble believing the time for escape could come right now, that it could be happening to you, or that the alarm is really sounding?
Maybe you know it’s the alarm, but think it’s because of a minor, fixable glitch?
Are you a heavy sleeper and have trouble hearing the alarm in your sleep?
Does the alarm disrupt your agenda and make you resent it?
Earthworms simply scamper to safety.
It is the alarm.
It is real.
It is now.
It sounds because a major problem is doing irreparable harm.
Wake up, O sleeper!
Change your agenda and accept this excellent chance to escape, before it is too late.
My daughter-in-law is an avid fisher. One day, I watched her teaching her three-year-old how to find earthworms. She was about to show him the most exciting thing he had ever seen.
But she wants to teach him to come to her without fanfare. So, in a normal tone of voice, she told my grandson to come to her.
He always wonders what Mom has for him, regardless of what it appears to be and regardless of her tone when she calls.
Outward appearances were unexciting that morning. Mom wanted him to look at dead leaves.
What he found, though, was a thrill—several worms lived under that debris and squirmed to evade exposure.
Mom picked up a worm and handed it to him. Although he did not enjoy touching it, I noticed a couple of times that day, he sidled over to that leafy area and scuffed his shoe through it, as Mom had done, and examined the ground.
Worms are smart enough to set up housekeeping in some type of shelter. They are not too particular, but it must meet their food and water needs. Although they crawl out when they think conditions are safe, they spend most of their lives hidden. Their secluded world helps them thrive.
Maybe we can learn from the worms.
We set up our homes to help us thrive. We choose colors with care and arrange furnishings according to plans. Our curtains help us adjust the lighting, as do our lamps. The thermostat reflects not only our need for comfort, but also our beliefs about saving energy. We provide scented candles. We stock the pantry and closets.
Then do we spend most of our lives elsewhere?
After establishing the best environment for us, do we ship our children to a place that is not cozy? Do we drop them off where the ambience ranges from putrid to sterile to inane? Do we force them to forgo candlelight for the blaze of the fluorescent tube?
And do they thrive? I mean, do they grow to be the best they could possibly be?
And how can we know?