October 29, 2010

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

What do frogs, turkey and Thanksgiving have in common?

Debra TomaselliMotivated by deadlines, I awakened at 3 a.m., tiptoed into my darkened office and slipped into the desk chair. Sometimes in the middle of the night, with no other responsibilities tugging at me, inspiration hits. I didn’t even turn on a light. I just sat down, closed my eyes and waited for the words to surface.

Instead, I heard a rapid but brief thumping noise, like a shudder in the darkened room. Trembling, I jolted away from the computer. My shoulders stiffened as I studied my surroundings, trying to determine what had caused the sound. Had someone just rattled the window beside my desk? I studied the area cautiously then suddenly swiveled toward the door, which was ajar. Had the cat pushed it open?

Just then, another vibration fluttered through the shadows. I jumped out of my chair and landed in a combat pose. Heart pounding, I continued to scrutinize the moonlit furniture.

Then I saw the culprit: The definitive silhouette of a massive frog appeared beside the white closet doors. I froze. He jumped. In one swift hop, the intruder soared several feet. Within seconds, he leaped again.

My heart raced. My palms grew sweaty. I fought the urge to flee. I had to catch him and remove him from the house. But how could I? Even at arm’s length, he had the advantage. His leaps were longer than a trapeze artist.

Keeping my gaze focused on the trespasser, I backed out of the office and sprinted into the kitchen, where I retrieved the biggest Tupperware container available. Relief and fear washed over me as I returned to find the frog still clinging to the same spot on the wall.

With a thrust of adrenaline, I shot forward. Armed with the Tupperware, I trapped the frog in the plastic container.

My hands shook as I slipped the lid over the amphibian, raced to the front door and tossed it into the night air.

I returned to the computer, flipped on the light and glanced around. Thank God, there is not another frog in here, I thought. Thank God, I was able to catch him and chuck him outside. Thank God, I don’t live in a third-world mud hut, where this is common. Thank God, I could rest without fear of being slimed.

It wasn’t quite the inspiration that I expected, but the scene delivered a powerful message. The abrupt shift of perspective illuminated the simple, ordinary gifts surrounding us. It calls us to give thanks for our extraordinary blessings as well as for the mundane. It invites us to appreciate everything.

As we gather around the roasted turkey to celebrate our blessings this year, I will remember the message delivered by an unsuspecting frog and raise a humble prayer of thanks. I have much more to appreciate than I realized.

“Always give thanks for everything to our God and Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 5:20).

(Debra Tomaselli lives in Altamonte Springs, Fla. Her column appears in several diocesan newspapers. Her e-mail address is dtomaselli@cfl.rr.com.)

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