Olivia Collects Lizards
September 26, 2010
I was downstairs in my basement studio, slaving away like the slave of a slave when I felt the need for a coffee. That’s normal. I go through a pot before lunch every day, so going upstairs to feed my coffee addiction happens all the time.
But when I got upstairs and headed toward the coffee maker, there’s my son Johnny (age 3), soaked head to toe having just come out of the swimming pool. He’s dripping water all over the floor which has a surface long destroyed by four kids. But he has a helpless look on his face, “Dada, will help me get dry?” Once again, it’s a normal part of my day for Johnny to whine at me about something he’s helpless at doing on his own. I dried him off, then had to hang his swim trunks outside on the usual Johnny’s-swim-trunk-hook.
Now in the back yard, my daughter Olivia (5) was sitting by the pool-skimmer-intake thingy (I don’t know what it’s called, ask my Pool Guy). She looked distraught. I yelled across the pool, “What’s wrong?” She pointed to the pool skimmer intake thingy, “The lizard went in here.”
My daughters have been collecting fence swift (aka blue bellies) lizards and keeping them in aquariums. Unlike boys, they nurture the lizards to death. Olivia puts her littlest pet shop houses in the aquarium and when we watch TV she turns the aquarium around so the lizards can see the cartoons.
I was a little set back by how calm Olivia was for having lost a lizard, “Livie, if that lizard went into that drain, he’s dead.” Then she said something profound, which I quickly dismissed, “Don’t worry, Daddy. I already prayed to God and He saved the lizard!”
It sounded like she didn’t want to take responsibility for being a bad lizard-herder. “Olivia, God didn’t save that lizard if he went into that drain! He will have been sucked down the piping and into the other big-motor-thingy (Again, ask my Pool Guy)!” She repeated her, “I’m trying to tell you! I already prayed to God and He already saved the lizard!”
Now I’m feeling upset about the lizard but don’t want to traumatize Olivia about having just ground her lizard into pool meat. I lifted the hose out of the pool to stop the suction, and when the hose is removed it automatically shuts down. Lifting a lid, I found a catch-all with a basket made to keep leaves from going into the cleaning system and clogging everything up. I unscrewed the lid, pulled out the basket, and when the water drained, it revealed the little lizard, holding on to the sides. I took it out and set it on the towel next to Olivia. She wasn’t surprised.
Then it all came together, and you already know where I’m going with this. When Olivia said her prayer to God was probably about the time I felt the need for coffee. She had already prayed to God and He had already saved that lizard.
My first impulse is to dismiss all possible miracles as coincidences. But if I just simply read the facts as they came to me without a skeptical bias, I witnessed a simple answer to prayer. Don’t ask me why God didn’t answer my prayer last week to save a dying baby but does not answer a prayer to save a baby lizard. The main thing is that He appears to use our own free choices, He can use our habits and appetites, he uses our relationships and responsibilities to answer some prayers.