It had been a strange week in our house. First, we had raccoons. For a few nights they were under our house in the crawl space. I heard them banging the underside of the bathtub and rattling around the pipes. I was really afraid they would ruin the pipes and I would hear free-running water under there.
A couple days later they were in the attic. Sounded like they were doing gymnastics up there. I would love to have a video camera set up to see exactly what a raccoon does in an empty attic. Our cats kept wandering the house staring at the ceiling, because raccoons are not quiet. They don’t seem to have any kind of stealth technology. When they were under the floor, I would find all of our animals sitting in a circle staring straight down, like they were expecting a demon to come up through the floor at any moment.
Meanwhile, we also got a letter that week from the water company. It was addressed to Occupant, and I almost threw it away. Glad I didn’t. They wanted to inform me that they realized water was coming into this house, and since we weren’t water company customers, that water would be shut off soon. We’ve paid a water bill in this house for seventeen years now. We were definitely water customers.
Except we weren’t. The computer said no, they’d never heard of us before. So, my husband paid a small fee for us to become brand new water customers. It was completely surreal.
That week I also started my twenty-first year of homeschooling. I have two years to go before I graduate all four of my kids from home. In years past I had more of a support network than I do this year. I am one of two home school moms in my church–the other is doing pre-school–and it’s very strange. I definitely keep my feelings on education to myself. Teaching at home is a lifestyle that touches everything we do, and it’s hard being alone in that lifestyle. Cultures clash sometimes. But since I’m the minority, I take the silent role. It’s a shift, but it’s not a big deal. Just something to think about as I deal with people in my immediate community.
Life ebbs and flows. Good days, bad days, strange days… It’s always new. Always an adventure. God sets our days up, and we live them out. Sometimes life can be devastating and filled with grief. And then some days the biggest threat is a raccoon punching through the roof. I don’t really mind the raccoon days. They’re the breathing times, when the rhythm of life is slow and lazy. Right now we’re experiencing a lazy time in our lives, and I rather like it.
I wrote a book where a character called these the Fat Caterpillar times, those times when we munch on leaves and don’t worry about much. In the book the character suggested using the lazy times to grow. Spend more time during those days reading the Bible, praying, creating a solid foundation. Because harder days are always on the horizon. My character said every one of us on the spiritual path will eventually become a butterfly, and change is hard. It’s those quiet munching times where we fatten up with everything we’ll need to feed us during the lean times, the shifting, changing times of hardship.
I’m not sad to be experiencing a fat caterpillar time right now. I have to work hard, though, to remember to cling to God during these times, to feed and drink deeply from His Word, to develop habits that will get me through the harder times, because they are inevitable. During the lazy, easy days of life it’s easy to let my growth routines fall into disrepair.
Meanwhile, we got the raccoons out of the attic. I need to keep an eye on the water account in case something strange is going on with our digital identity. I need to focus on this brand new school year with my final child and student, who is about to make big decisions for his future.
And mostly, I need to make sure I develop strong habits now to support me. Eventually I will need them, and times of change are so much easier to handle if this fat caterpillar has a belly filled with truth.