Every now and then I start to think how far I’ve come, that I’m pretty good on my way – then something happens, or surfaces, to remind me of just how far I still have to go. This journey home – it’s a nice long walk. A phrase I’ve loved ever since I saw it, because it resonates on such a deep, deep level: “God guides us the long way home.” I know a great story along this line, one I read a couple of years ago. If you have a minute, and I can find it, I’ll share…
Well, in spite of my literary packrat tendencies, I can’t find it, so I’ll just make up my own version. Go pour another cuppa, pull up a chair, call in Brother Frog (he’s a good listener, and a good storyteller himself, you know, ‘cause he’s got a lot to croak about) – and read on.
The original author was a woman, I recall, telling her life story, remembering how, as a
child, her brothers had so many amazing adventures – they got to play in the dirt, and play swords, and go traipsing through the woods, to chase raccoons and run with the dogs and head off into the wild blue yonder with their fishing poles and long-bedraggled nets.
She, on the other hand, was taught to stay in the house – to knit and tat, to bake and boil, to sit tidily with her knees carefully together, skirts smoothed down, apron just right. No jumping, no running – girls don’t do that. No dirt – heavens, please, no dirt. And so she watched from indoors, through the screens, as her brothers ran off to play. No words of resistance – girls don’t do that either. Just watched – and longed, deep inside her soul.
Her southern family being well-to-do, they had a housekeeper who had watched over the children from birth, becoming a second mother, perhaps, in truth, their first. Nanny watched the young girl, seeing much more than the child intended. And one afternoon, as they headed home from market, Nanny began walking the wrong direction. The little girl trailed behind, and then began to complain – why were they walking so far, so out of the way? Her starched petticoats scratched, and the stiff little shoes wore blisters. Why? Let’s turn around now. We’ll get in trouble. It’s hot. I’m hungry. This isn’t the WAY, you know… and Nanny just kept on walking, kept on walking, turning a corner here, and here, and here. The child came behind, dawdling, wishing she could trail her fingers along the fence next to her, but that would sully those spotless white gloves – and she’d hear about that later.
Then Nanny stopped, right smack in the middle of the sidewalk, the little one almost running her over, not seeing, not noticing. She looked down at the child, big beautiful brown eyes so full of love and knowing, and reaching into her overflowing basket, she pulled out a great big jar and a little bitty net, and handed them to the girl. The child looked up, not comprehending – what?
Wordlessly pulling off the little girl’s white gloves and shoes and socks, Nanny pointed to
the side of the road – and there it was. The biggest, darkest, squelchiest mud puddle that little girl had ever seen. And look – there in the shallow end – there were little tadpoles darting all over the place, and baby catfish, still translucent, they looked like little fish skeletons scurrying through the water. Somehow the local pond had overflowed into this corner, and left all kinds of treasures behind. And in she went, this little girl, up to her ankles and beyond, with a grin on her face as if she’d discovered the greatest treasure in the whole wide world. And in truth, she had.
Sometimes life reminds us of this. Sometimes we realize that God, the Universe, whatever you want to call your Higher Power – sometimes Spirit acts just like Nanny – and leads us the long way home. Why is that, d’ya s’pose? ‘Cause that’s where the tadpoles are, of course. And you haven’t LIVED until you’ve caught your first tadpole. Thank goodness, Nanny knew ALL about that, and she knew just where to find the perfect spot, left behind in a moment of grace, for this moment, this treasure, this pleasure in finding.
Have a beautiful day, my friends — thank you for sharing your journey with me, for walking along a space, as we take this long way home. Namaste. _/\_
(C) 2015 Mary Batson, Front Porch Rambles. All rights reserved.
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