It was my mom’s idea to buy the children hermit crabs. At first I thought, “Should I really take on caring for any other living creatures? Maybe when my kids are getting baths on a somewhat regular basis, and not eating a pop tart as one of their three meals a day.”Well, ready or not, the hermit crabs arrived…all four of them.
My initial disapproval soon gave way to pity for these crabs. In fact, I took each one individually and whispered to it, “I’m sorry you live here.” Why, you may ask would I say such a thing? These hermit crabs get played with every single day of their lives. Every day they are removed from their “hermie huts” to be run through an obstacle course of legos, live in a lincoln log cabin, take a bath in a bowl of water, ride (faster than you think) in the back of a little tykes fire truck, and most recently (devised by my daughter), take a spin through twinkle twirl’s dance studio complete with rotating disc, flashing lights, and music.
Don’t get me wrong; these hermit crabs are well protected. My mom told the boys that if the hermit crabs were held upside down, they would die. So now, if someone (usually Maggie) holds one even the slightest bit cock-eyed, no matter where they are in the house, the boys sense it and come running, shouting, “You’re killing it!!!!!!” “It’s dying!” And then there is an inevitable dive in slow motion across the floor to “rescue” the endangered hermit crab.
Speaking of upside-down hermit crabs, the strangest thing happened last week. I went to check on the crabs (they had gone un-played with for two days or so – I figured they were disoriented) so I lifted up the hermie hut to discover Pinkie laying on her back with all of her legs and pinchers laying around her, and Hulk looking guilty beside her. (like some crazy Hermit Crab Silence of the Lambs) I picked her up and looked inside for any possible signs of life. Usually a body plops out of the shell because a dead crab can’t hold the shell on. No sign of a dead body…but surely she was dead. How was I to explain to my daughter that I suspected Hulk had turned Pinkie onto her back and proceeded to pinch all of her legs off. I couldn’t do it, so I left Pinkie in there for a couple of days thinking just maybe she had survived her tragedy. One morning I decided that it was time to get rid of Pinkie. Just to be sure she was dead, I put her in water because all hermit crabs (living ones, that is) will come out in water. Guess what?! She came out with four new white legs. Pinkie was alive!!!! We celebrated with a round in Twinkle Twirls dance studio, followed by a much needed nap in the Little People play house.
Perhaps this is a bit of a stretch, but have there ever been times in your life when you felt like one of our hermit crabs? You know, one day you’re in the comfort of a pet store, being left alone, the next day, you’re whizzing across a hard wood floor in a G.I. Joe jeep. For us it’s more like, one day we are sleeping in until 9 am when we get up to take a hot shower and begin the day; the next day we are breastfeeding a newborn while our half-clad toddler smells suspiciously like Mr. Clean.
There have been a few seasons that felt like I got flipped upside-down in the hermie hut. In those times, particularly in the earlier years of mothering, God taught me the only way to have peace and a proper perspective in the midst of these circumstances: time in His presence, which meant time in His Word. While I would never want to make an already frazzled mommy feel guilt over not having a “quiet time” with the Lord, I would say that if you want to know the key to surviving those hermit crab days, it is truly in making reading God’s word and encountering His presence there a priority. Lifting our eyes to Him, and off of the flashing, twirling circumstances of life is where your soul will find its greatest joy, and satisfaction.
Psalms 63:1-8 (ESV) 1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. 5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.