Melchior & The Great I AM

Melchior & Caleb - Christmas 2008

Melchior & Caleb – Christmas 2008

Last night when Caleb went to feed his bearded dragon, Melchior, we discovered that he had died sometime yesterday afternoon. My veterinarian sister, “Dr. Aunt Sarah”, tells me reptiles are tough cases when they get sick, but neither my Boy nor I had any idea that something was wrong. Melchior acted weird a lot… so much so that “weird” was pretty much his “normal”. So, the passing of Caleb’s awesomely cool, Mommy-approved reptile that Santa brought from Australia on his way to South Carolina five Christmases ago, came as a big shock to all of us. Caleb cried lots of tears. I prayed. We talked about our fun times with Melchior, about how neat it has been to have a really cool pet like him. And Daddy figured out what to do next. The funeral is tonight and this morning, God, always faithful, lead me to just the right verses for such an event.

I flipped open my Bible to this morning’s passage and read what Jesus said in Luke 20:38: “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive.” Have you ever considered the full weight of that verse? God IS the great I AM. While we try to overcome our past, figure out our present and worry over the future, God simply IS. He is as fully involved with our future as we are caught up in our present. “For Him all are alive”… what an incomprehensible, comforting thought. God IS. He KNOWS everything we wonder about or wish was different and is there – past, present and future – working. I don’t know if it’s OK or not to apply scripture directly to the life of a lizard, but I was comforted by the simple, straight-forward way this verse spoke to my heart: “For Him all are alive.” Even though Melchior is not with us anymore, he is alive to God. Even though I don’t always understand circumstances and situations, God does. The past is never gone to Him. The future is never a question mark.

How awesome that our God – the Great I AM – is also the Creator of Caleb’s cool bearded dragon. We named him “Melchior” because church tradition says that one of the three wise men answered to that. Since he joined the family at Christmas, it seemed only right to pick a name that was both a part of Jesus’ beginnings and worthy of a “beardie”. Caleb’s interest in all sorts of animals – especially ones that definitely fall into his Mommy’s “Creature” category – inspired me to find verses in the Word about God’s love for cool creatures, verses that confirmed for Caleb that he indeed was made in God’s image. Psalm 104:26 says “the leviathan, the pet dragon, the sea monster [God] made frolics, romps and plays in the sea (see NIrV, The Message and the NIV).” The Lexham English Bible says God created the leviathan to play WITH. Caleb would totally do that if He could! God clearly loves an interesting animal – just like my Caleb.

I don’t know exactly what happens to bearded dragons when they die, but I DO know that when it’s all said and done, they will be able to sing and praise the Lord just like we do (Revelation 5:13). I know that “the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind is in His hand (Job 12:10).” I don’t know how it all works and I wish Melchior was still basking in Caleb’s room, but because of who God is and what His word says, I know that He does not simply discard His creation. And I like to think that the Great I AM is happy to have Melchior hang out with Him. Maybe the leviathan needed a break.

Picking fights with some of Caleb's other "dragons" - Circa 2012

Picking fights with some of Caleb’s other “dragons” – Circa 2012

Clean Socks & Baby Steps

I’ve been pondering a conversation my son and I had recently. It was a very brief “conversation” of the “hustle up… we gotta get out the door” variety. I don’t remember the exact words, but as is so often the case, the words weren’t really the important part. It was the tone of the conversation that has been tumbling around in my head. It was the tone that has caused me to consider the weight of my words before letting them fall carelessly out of my mouth and laugh at myself a little when they do.

Caleb [from his room]: “Moooooom! I don’t have any socks!”
Me [from the laundry room]: “Um… there WERE socks laid out with the rest of your outfit. What happened to them?!”
Caleb: “OoooKaaAAY. I meant there aren’t any more in my drAAAAAWWWWer. [Pause] See how I talked that way since you kind of said your part that way?”

Ugh. Yes. Yes, I do see how you did that.

For some reason this child goes through socks and underwear like it’s his job and there have been MANY mornings that I searched in dismay for a clean pair of either/or while wondering how in the world he’d managed to go through them all since the last time I did laundry. He’s gotten upset. I’ve gotten upset and defensive about my laundry schedule and distressed that my child was apparently EATING his clothing in his sleep… or something. But THIS morning I knew there were socks for the day. I was in the laundry room washing up more socks and undies for the next day and yet, my child was hollering at me about his lack of clean clothes. I felt righteous in my tone and my frustration over this nothing thing came right out in my response to my dear first-born. And then, he called me on it.

Thankfully, I saw the irony. I laughed and said something like: “Yep… I heard it! Sorry. I’m working on the laundry today and you’ll have socks for tomorrow too.” Baby steps.

Actually, Caleb and I both took several really great baby steps in the right direction! Caleb was thinking ahead! “Sure, I have socks for today, but what about tomorrow?” I have no idea why he was checking out his sock drawer since a pair was laying right by his clothing, but I’ll take it! He’s becoming more responsible. He’s considering his options. More importantly, he’s picking up on the importance of tone AND he made light of what has definitely been an AM Point of Contention between us in the past. He took responsibility for his own words and tone. And so did I. I laughed at myself, said I was sorry and didn’t let my son’s tone get my own undies in a twist. Isn’t that what grace looks like for us human beings: seeing yourself in another and giving them a pass when they act crazy? Recognizing that you might not have the whole story and being sweet even if your gut reaction is to get snippy or lash out?

Our morning could have quickly spiraled into a big hot mess of ugly, but it didn’t because we extended each other a little grace and recognized that socks aren’t worth fussing about. I thank God for the baby steps. A million of them in the right direction make all the difference in the world!