Monday, September 27, 2010
Mommy Fail # 3,500,687 and the Lizard Who Saved Me
It all started with this lizard.
I found him on the internet Saturday afternoon, when I should have been cleaning out my closet.
The video was titled "The Jesus Christ Lizard," so how could I pass on that?
Won't you watch it?
It's by National Geographic, so you can count it for your science lesson of the day.
(Don't worry. It's weird and funny, and it's short too.)
My sixth grader and I love to introduce each other to wacky things on the internet, so I sat Sam down and made him watch it with me.
"That's cool," Sam said, "but I don't get it. Why do they call him the Jesus lizard?"
Was he not watching?
"Because he walks on water, silly."
Sam's mouth dropped open. "WHAT? JESUS CAN WALK ON WATER?"
"Yeah," I said, "you know that story."
"COOL! I didn't know that."
"Yes you do. Remember? The disciples are out on the boat, the wind is gusting, and they're starting to panic."
Sam looked at me blankly.
"You know, and then Jesus walks out."
"No, I don't think I've heard that one."
"Yes you have!"
"No Mom, I think I'd know if I'd heard a story before."
"Yes you have heard it. I've read you that story a million times."
"Nope. Maybe to Ben or Sarah. Not to me."
"Well I know you've heard it in Sunday school then."
"No. I don't think so."
How could that be?
I finished the story, telling him how Jesus walks across the lake and the disciples think they see a ghost, and then Jesus tells them, "Calm down! I'm here. Don't be afraid." And then I say how Peter, dear Peter, who can't stand to be apart from Jesus, says, "If it's you, tell me to walk out to you," and Jesus does. I tell Sam how Peter's doing just fine until he takes his eyes of Jesus and starts to look at the wind and the waves, and he starts to sink. I tell him how Jesus reaches for his hand and asks Peter why he doubts. And then they get in the boat together and all the disciples can't get over the crazy thing that just happened.
"Cool story, Mom."
"It's not just a cool story," I stutter. "It's a great one about trusting God. About not panicking when you're in the midst of something that's overwhelming you."
"Uh huh," Sam said, looking impressed. Then he patted my head and left the room.
I sat there, stunned.
How could he not know that story?
I've been teaching Sunday school to kids for several years now. I thought through the curriculum, searching for the story. No, I don't think we have covered that one. At least not lately. I know we can't tell all the stories, but this, this was bad. Teaching the stories was not just the church's responsibility, but it was mine as a parent. How did I miss that one?
What other stories have we not taught him?
When he was younger, I'd read to him from The Beginner's Bible every night. The stories were short and right for his age, and we both loved it. I hadn't done that in years.
I remembered the scripture about teaching our children, the one in Deuteronomy,
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Yes, I know that kids today need those sacred stories to make their way in the world.
I started thinking of all they deal with, even more than we dealt with as children ourselves.
I thought of the everyday turmoil of adolescent friendships, the things kids do to try to look cool, the dangers that television and internet and American culture bring into our house, our lives. I thought of drugs and alcohol, sexting and pornography.
There's too much out there. They need to know the scriptures, the stories of God's love for them. But it's such a big job. How can we manage it?
And then a curious voice spoke into my storm.
"Calm down! I'm here. Don't be afraid."
I'm so hard headed. This is exactly how God works with me.
Jesus spoke to me in the middle of my freak out, from the blue-green lake on p.382 of The Beginner's Bible.
I had taken my eyes off him, and focused on the storm. I was Peter, in my own little whirlpool, throwing up my arms and looking at the waves.
Last night before bed, Sam noticed that The Beginner's Bible on my desk. "You know, that walking on water story might sound a little familiar. Maybe I just forgot."
"It's okay," I said. "At least you know it now."
"Yeah. But even if I didn't, it'd be okay. It's cool that Jesus can do stuff like that, but He did tons of other important things too."
Yes, God. Thank you for teaching me.
Have a wonder-full Monday, y'all! Before you leave, I'd love to hear what you do to help grasp His hand when you start to go under. Do you return to scripture? Let a friend speak God's words to you? Meditate? What helps you connect with God in the middle of a storm?
Photo by nealoneal, creative commons