I was walking the dog this morning, just after sunrise, when the colors are vibrant, mountainscape clear, and the hushed sound of silence provides a warm welcome to the day.
Daisy (our puppy) was sauntering through the overgrowth to my left and as I glanced down at the street to my right, I saw a full grown crawdad slowly making his way westward. We were about 500 yards from the lake that borders our neighborhood. The little guy was clearly lost. I wanted to help because to walk on would make me a bystander in the poor little guy’s death march.
I called my 20 year old daughter who bravely commanded that I pick him up at once, and get him to the water. In my nervous frenzy, I reminded her that she was the “crawdad whisperer” in our family. She was the brave, pony tailed, bucket-carrying girl who had no fear of crawdads. She paused and said, “Mom, I learned that skill from you. You know what to do… Pick him up by the thick shell behind his pinchers and carry him to the water. You can do this!”
Mom, I learned that skill from you…
Mom. I learned that skill. From you…
Mom I learned. That skill. From you…
Boy, what an ah ha moment! She’s right. I did teach her to be brave. She was so brave, in fact, that she’d catch the most crawdads at any family crawdad competition we ever had!
It’s just that I had forgotten where she learned about bravery. I taught her a skill and then relied on her to do the catching… I found myself marveling in her bravery and not giving another thought to what it actually took to pick up one of those creepy crawlies.
But here, on a Friday morning just after sunrise, I had to be brave for the sake of a small living creature who had lost his way. 500 yards of dry land must be at least 5 miles in crawdad distance. That’s a long journey for a little guy with many pinchers but no real feet. Besides, part of his tail was missing so he really was in a bind.
I took a deep breath, put the dog’s leash in my left hand. Then, bravely I bent down and picked up the crawdad (exactly how I’d taught Lani to do it 15 years ago) and we began our descent to the lake. I don’t speak crawdad, but I swear the little guy was waving me on in a manner of appreciation. I think he was also completely freaked out and scared to trust that I wasn’t going to crush him or cook him or eat him on the spot.
I’ve lost my way, professionally. I’m 500 yards (or 500 miles) away from my path. There are hints along the way. Guideposts. I’m not sure what or who to trust right now. My tail is partially gone and I’m feeling pretty dried up at the moment. There’s movement all around me in the greater world… Cars rushing by, cyclists swerving to avoid taking me out, and it’s possible that I’m going to dry up where I’ve found myself.
But, like that little crawdad, I know something is just around the corner. The sun is rising and a new day is dawning. I’m going to make myself available at the exact right moment for a new opportunity to surface that I wasn’t anticipating.
Like that little crawdad, my (well, all of our) days are numbered — but I choose to keep moving forward. One step at a time. I’m trusting in the knowledge that something bigger than me is coming. And, somehow, some way, I’m going to find my way back to the lake where water is abundant, there’s food aplenty, and I’ll be swimming in my lane once again.
Yes, I just went there. I completely bonded with a bottom feeder. And you know what?? I’m actually really happy about that fact!
The Lesson? Whatever you are doing today… wherever your road leads… look for blessings and be a blessing. There are many obstacles and many ways we mess up – every.day. In spite of it all, there are good things all around us. Even in the form of a small gray crustacean wandering the streets of your neighborhood.