Monday, February 3, 2014

Wild Life

Far too quick for my camera to catch him, a jack rabbit hopped past my office window, across the street and into a neighbor's yard. He looked like Thumper from Bambi, with a huge white puff of a tail and a happy, hoppy demeanor. Watching him I remembered the funny tracks I saw in the fresh snow on my way to the garage the other day. Pretty sure those were from my resident gray squirrel, but they were very funny looking tracks and the route was very squirrel-ly: curious, circular, and ultimately disappearing, presumably because he went up.

There's a bird's nest in a small tree out in the courtyard that perfectly illustrates why birds fly south for the winter. This time of year the only birds I ever see are crows: big, black, ominous looking crows. They stand in such stark contrast to the white snow rather like black writing on a white page implies there must be something important here (which we know is not always the case!)

Sunday was Groundhog Day, and, according to Stephen Colbert, Superb Owl day. Two teams from named after wild life went head-to-head someplace cold and the birds won the day. I only watched the halftime show and the commercials so I can't really discuss the game. However, I did watch Groundhog Day, for the umpteenth time, which tickled my funny bone yet again. Here are a few comments on this movie from my weekly letter to the Sunday School teachers last Thursday.
Sunday is Groundhog Day and, I have to confess, Groundhog Day is one of my guilty pleasure movies. I watch it nearly every time it comes on and I always spot some new thing that just tickles me. For those of you who are too young or sophisticated to be familiar with this movie, the basic premise is that  weatherman Phil (played by Bill Murray), is sent to see the groundhog come out and gets stuck in a loop where he has to live the same day over and over. At first he is desperate to get out of the loop, but after a while he starts to have fun with it, knowing that he'll probably get to do it again the next day. 
Teaching Sunday School is kind of like Groundhog Day. Each week you encounter the same little tribe of kids. The incessant talker will talk incessantly. The shy one will volunteer nothing every week. The anxious mother will continue to hang around and make her kid nervous. You know what's going to happen. And so, one day, you start to have a little fun with it:  
  • You offer the incessant talker a pipe cleaner to play with for as long as he doesn't interrupt. 
  • You give the shy kid a sock puppet and let the puppet do the talking.
  • You invite the anxious mother to take all those dull pencils to the Parish Ed Office and sharpen them.
You just have to live into some things. 
I share this mainly as a glimpse into my daily life. In my new job I am charged with equipping church members to work with children, so I spend a lot of my time writing, coaching, and finding out what gifts people have, and far less actual time with kids. Some weeks I really miss being with the kiddos, and some weeks (like this one) I feel so excited to be able to help other adults experience the joy of being with them. This Sunday we had our very first closing music time with kids in second grade and younger. It was great fun (everyone sings here!) and hearing a little one loudly proclaim "And also with you!" in worship shortly thereafter made my heart sing. Small joys.

Lest you think there is no wild life in Minnesota, I would like to point out that hockey up here is called the Wild. I am delighted and amused by the fact that the best hockey player in the entire youth group is a girl who can apparently hold her own with the boys on almost any rink. And through the same window where I saw the rabbit, I sometimes see three boys, maybe 10 years old, walk by with skates around their necks and hockey sticks in their hands headed to the rink near my office.

It's been a wild adventure moving 1100 Miles North. May you have a little wild in your life this week!