Tackle Life like a Sticky Frog

Sticky frogs are common in Florida, especially where I live. My first encounter with a sticky frog was quite memorable. With curiosity of a cat, I had to get closer and see what it was.

The sticky frog did not hop away as expected, but jumped right on my chest!! Being a real man, I just watched it and calmly said “cool”. Yeah, right…good thing no one had a video camera because I screamed so loud my friend came outside.
Through her hysterical laughter, I was told “you scream like a girl”. The laughter only got louder when she found it was because of a frog. I’m glad I’m so entertaining……

Tonight I was out for a walk around our circle when I saw a sticky frog in the road. With all animals, big or small, I gently move them out of the road before they become part of it. As I’m leaning over with a stick to push it away, the frog intently looked right at me and fearlessly jumped onto my arm.

Sorry, no screaming from me this time:) I took it to some bushes, but it refused to dismount. So I resumed my walk around the circle with the sticky frog hanging out on my arm. It would change positions occasionally for a better view, but basically sat there the whole time, enjoying the free ride.

The frog’s response to me made re-think of how I approach unknown situations. When confronted with a situation that is unknown and seemingly large, I will usually choose avoid verses confront. Most animals will do the same; come within a few feet, they are gone quickly.

However the sticky frog jumps right on for a closer look. Seeming to ask “What is this big think that keeps following me? “

What would happen if we did the same for those challenges that we tend to avoid? If we faced them would they really turn out so big? Would they metaphorically scream and run away? Maybe they would turn out to be good things instead of something we feared?

Obviously if it’s something life threatening, be smart and get away from it.

As in the case of tonight’s encounter, the frog faced the challenge and received a free ride around the neighborhood. With the frog on my arm, I walked slower for a change; saw the stars, clouds, and other things I normally miss because I’m in a hurry. It worked out well for both of us.

So the next time a seemingly large or unknown situation comes your way, be like the sticky frog and face it. You’re likely to learn some new insights and find some good things.

And what happened to my passenger that night? After riding on my arm for the mile walk around, I put him in some bushes near where I found him and he happily dismounted. I can only imagine the story he told when asked “where have you been?”

The Space Between

Some days I’m going along and I’m in that flow we all search for. Everything just clicks, synchronistic events occur to bring me exactly what I’ve asked for.  I feel so connected; like I’m right where I should be.

Then comes that one day, or two, maybe three, where absolutely nothing happens. No synchronistic events, no emails, no phone calls. It’s like I’m alone on the planet. Hey, what happened? Of course, I could just trust but that would be too easy. I have to question what happened, did I do something incorrectly.

Ironically, I didn’t do anything unusual. It’s just my prayer request is taking longer than I anticipated. I refer to that time as the space between; the space between where a prayer request has been made and is fulfilled.

It’s like placing an order online. We order the item and wait for it to arrive. If it’s supposed to arrive in 4 days and it doesn’t, we begin to wonder what happened. With online orders, we can pull up tracking numbers and find out where it is.  There is usually some legitimate reason; the item is back ordered, bad weather along the route, wrong number on the card, etc.

We can’t track our prayers though; we can only make our requests and have faith they will appear. If we’re quiet enough and surrender, we can start to see things line up to bring them to fruition. However, like ordering from different parts of the country, some requests take longer to arrive.

If we dwell in that space between, we can go nuts wondering where, when, and how.  If we can learn to let go and know it’s on its way, somehow, then we can relax and carry on. I know this sounds easy enough, but it is definitely very challenging to wait, especially when you really, really want something.

The next time I’m in the space between I think I’ll just prepare for the delivery or maybe I’ll order something else. I might as well enjoy the time.

Picked Up and Moved

Struggling to cross the vast expanse of concrete, an earthworm was attempting to cross the sidewalk. He was inching along, but forward progress was difficult. This little guy is made for smooth dirt, not rough pavement.

From my vantage point, I knew the grass on the other side was where he was headed and I wanted to help him get there easier.   Placing him in the grass would be easy for me to do and it’d save him a lot of effort. He could get on with digging in the dirt instead of struggling on the concrete.

When I attempted to pick him up, he didn’t view me as help.  He began wriggling every which way trying to escape. He was really hard to get a hold of, but I finally gently got him in my hand. I’m sure he was just reacting and defending himself.  He didn’t know that my intention was to take him to a better place. All he saw was he being taken to out of his familiar element to who knows where.

He continued to fight as I gently placed him into a grassy area.  Once he realized he was in the grass, he settled down and began to dig into the dirt.  He was in his element and could now easily do what he needed to do.

Have you ever experienced this? I have. I’ve struggled and made slow progress because I wasn’t in the most effective place. Tons of effort was expended with very little results.  Why is this so hard? I’d ask. Please send me help!  Of course, I’d expect it to be in a particular form; someone to help me, maybe smooth out the sidewalk, give me wheels so I can roll, etc.

True to divine order, help always comes as I least expect it but as I totally need it. It’s that unexpected which catches me off guard. “No I don’t want to do that” or my perennial favorite “I can’t see how that will work out”.  I resist what I don’t understand…..

In spite of my verbal and physical protests, I’m just picked up and moved to where I need to be.  Just as an earthworm is out of his element being in a closed hand, in the air, so I’m often out of my element when I’m moved. Guess that’s why they call it faithJ

And in the perfect time, I’m placed exactly where I need to be and my soul instantly knows it. I’m calm, I feel at home, and fulfilled. I realize this is where I needed to be all along. I just didn’t get here the way I expected.

The lesson for me is this: guidance and help aren’t often what I expect them to be and often take me way out of my comfort zone. In the end, I am exactly where I need to be.

Turn Left at the Next Intersection

“Turn left at the next intersection”.  What?  Why is the GPS taking me that way? That’s not how I arrived here and I’m pretty sure that’s the wrong direction.  Billions of dollars and years of satellite precision mapping beamed to my dashboard and I’m saying it’s wrong.  Of course, I know I’m right.

On the way in, the GPS flawlessly guided me into the far reaches of the Everglades via crowded interstates and around road construction. For the route home, it’s telling me to turn left in the middle of nowhere.

The road appears to head further away from civilization. I don’t have a printed map handy so I can see the big picture. Before I follow, I want to know where this little gadget is taking me! It’s not led me astray yet, but  I still feel more comfortable if I can see the big picture.

What the hell……I took the left turn and headed down a rural two lane road that lead me through more of the Everglades. The speed limit was only 55mph and very little traffic made it a scenic, relaxing drive. Why didn’t we use this road earlier, this is nice! At the next intersection, I don’t question as it directed me to another, scenic, unfamiliar road. Eventually the GPS led me back to the crowded, fast paced freeways and I knew exactly where to go.

Daily in my prayers and meditation, I’ll ask for direction or clarity. Often I get it and of course, like my response to the GPS unit, I’m prone to say “that’s not the right way to go”. Again, I’m pitting my own experience against thousands of years and millions of people before me. I must like impossible odds.

Just like the GPS, often the guidance takes me where I don’t think it should but in the end it is just what I needed. Over the years, I can say it’s always been right; when I followed it that it is. There are plenty of times I do know exactly what to do or where to go. It’s those times I ask for an answer and then ignore the answer is when I end up lost. Just because I can’t see the big picture, doesn’t mean the answer is wrong.

Maybe that’s the lesson after all; I should follow the guidance that’s given, even if I don’t see how it will get me where I need to be.