The other day Isaac and I were in the bathroom while he was using the toilet. It was just about time for his nap and he was doing one last pee. As we left, we noticed that there was a little water in the bottom of the bucket that he uses for baths, and there was a dead katydid floating in the water. This was infinitely fascinating.
“Is it dead?”
“And it will not eat you?”
Isaac could have talked about the katydid endlessly. I, however, was focused on nap time because I had school I wanted to work on with the older kids. I got him ready and put him in his bed.
“You should put it out and it will not eat you,” he said.
By this time he was all cozy, ready for sleep.
“I want to watch,” he said.
“Okay. Well, I’ll wait for you. I’ll put it out when you get up from your nap.”
“Okay,” he said.
So I left the room and walked toward my room to get something, my footsteps loud as always on our teak floors. This was when Isaac lost his mind and I heard sudden screaming.
“You’re not going to!” he wailed. “You’re going to put it out and I want to watch!”
I went back to the room. “Isaac, I promise I’m not going to get the dead katydid out of the water until you get up and you can watch me. But you need to go to sleep. I promise to let you watch, okay?”
He calmed down a little and I went downstairs. Our floors are completely uninsulated, with cracks, and they resonate so much that we can just call up to one another and hear perfectly. And the boys’ bedroom is directly over the table where we do our school work. So as I was helping Kenya with math, I could hear Isaac yelling down to me every few minutes, “Did you put it out?”
“No, Isaac, I’m going to wait for you, remember?” I called back. “Go to sleep.”
After about the fourth time, I realized that this was very, very important to him. And the back and forth was heartfelt and about promises and trust and the difficulty of going to sleep when you are worried that something exciting will happen without you. And it was also a big, tearful drama about a dead insect. And this is life when you are two-and-three-quarters. The substance might be lighter than what I feel, but the emotions are no less real.
I wonder if God sees my life like this, when I worry about my little things. Is it like the katydid in the water? Am I fretting that God will not live up to his promise of letting me watch him flush a dead bug away? He has told me and told me, but I just don’t believe him, and he says, “Rest, child. I’m not going anywhere without you.” The things seem important to me, in my own small world. His view is so much more expansive, maybe it encompasses so much that my books and plans and dreams are like katydids. And yet he listens, and promises, and waits. He shouts up through the floor that of course he’s going to wait, no he didn’t forget.
When I went to get Isaac up from his nap, (I have to wake him these days because the boy will sleep for three hours and then not sleep at night) he opened his eyes and said, in the sleepiest voice ever, “Did you put it out?”
“No, I didn’t,” I said. “I was waiting for you. Should we go do it?”
And that is why, when you first see it, you should just put the katydid out (and it will not eat you).