This morning there was a frog in my shower.
I was at a campground in Northern Michigan, and the little green guy was all huddled up in the corner. Maybe looking for cooler temps, or more moisture, or maybe I’d just scared him until he backed in there and hoped I couldn’t see.
My family and I moved into a 19’ trailer this week. Our house is rented, our stuff is in storage, our last paychecks deposited. (I’ll be working but a handful of hours remotely for the CRC’s Office of Social Justice.)
I write this from the front seat of a Toyota Tundra, my kids and dog stuffed in the back seat. We are heading north. Then west. Then, who knows.
My husband and I decided it was time to do something different — something radical, something risky, something we’ve never done before. There’s lots of reasons why, and some are probably more interesting than others. Some have to do with politics. Some with Jesus. Some with marriage. Some with parenting. But all of them are pointing us toward the same thing: more space.
So we’re living in a lot less space, and hoping it will give us more space. More space to follow passions and interests, to follow our kids feelings, to follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings. There just hasn’t been a lot of space for that in this modern life, it seems. Too many cell phones and google calendar appointments, too many emails and too many headlines, too many possessions and too many “just a second, I’m busy”s.
There’s this line from an Advent devotional by Henri Nouwen. “When I have no eyes for the small signs of God’s presence – the smile of a baby, the carefree play of children, the words of encouragement and gestures of love offered by friends – I will always remain tempted to despair. . . The work of our salvation takes place in the midst of a world that continues to shout, scream, and overwhelm us with its claims and promises. But the promise is hidden in the shoot that sprouts from the stump, a shoot that hardly anyone notices.” (“Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent” from the Henri Nouwen Society)
I got worried that I had no eyes for those small signs anymore. So, this risky, wild, off-the-wall decision is a way of getting those eyes back.
I am investing in shoots and stumps, in the play of children, in gestures of love, in shower-buddy frogs. It is my hope that this will be my antidote to despair, my inoculation to overwhelm, the work of my salvation.
(If you want to follow along, check out @family.rerouting on Instagram.)