Monday, November 19, 2007

New Skin

I took the kids to the zoo today. Gorgeous weather, with everyone out of school for Thanksgiving. And even though half of Fort Worth had the same idea, it was a great outing for our little family. I enjoyed having the kids to myself - I was able to purely focus on my own little ones without the distractions I often feel when we're with friends.
Our favs:
Bran- hippo (licking it's own poop, no less)
Hud - meerkats (big surprise)
Basden - turtles (watched them up close in the herpetarium)
Esther - don't know what her fav was, but she definitely didn't like the large lizards two inches from her nose licking the glass separating them. Ha!
The majestic Asian white tiger paced right in front of us, steadily meeting eyes with the kids as it passed back and forth. We watched a baby kangaroo snoozing in the sunshine, only to open one lazy eye and happily nod in our direction. Hudson almost passed out with amazement when an enormous eagle spread its wings and sauntered across a tree branch. Loads of God's creativity on display for us at the zoo today.
My fav?
In the snake house - herpetarium - we observed a snake shed it's skin. What a vulnerable, intimate privilege for us as spectators. This was actually our second time to catch a snake at just the right time, rubbing it's smooth, scaly sheath against the rough bark of a limb to rid itself of its former wrinkled saran-wrap. Not a quick process. Mesmerized, we watched patiently as the snake coiled itself around several branches before proclaiming liberty from the old skin. Celebration erupted on our side of the glass.
My thoughts immediately shifted to the beauty and creativity of God's design for this simple animal. And what I stand to learn from observing. What would it feel like to have brand-new skin?
Today was one of those "don't like myself too much" days. I feel out of shape from not exercising regularly. Haven't been careful with my eating, so I'm sluggish and tired. I've been spending more money than normal with parties and hosting and gifts in recent weeks. Besides just the physical, my thoughts the past few days have been negative and my responses curt. It's weighty and slows me down. Like crinkly old skin that needs to be shed. The new, shiny skin is sure inviting.
I'm recognizing the need for self control and sacrifice in the dailies of my life.
Thank you, Lord, that you give me new chances. You are generous to provide reminders and motivation for shedding old habits and forming new patterns. Just like that snake getting rid of the excess, You can help me get rid of unnecessary baggage. I'm reminded too, that the snake welcomed change and something new that would inevitably bring him more comfort and freedom. Let me not fear change and hard work!
And one more thing... does this mean next time I should bypass the ice cream parlor after leaving the herpetarium??