Recently, I had the unfortunate experience of trying to save a dying frog from our swimming pool. I was slightly freaked out about getting close to the desperate, jumpy creature and I probably should have thought through how the rescue would actually unfold. Instead, I just grabbed the shovel, screamed like a child when the creature made contact with it, and with a force beyond my normal capacity – flung that thing as high and far as my scrawny arms could catapult it! That was the part I didn’t think through. I watched, regretfully, as the shocked creature FLEW through the air and made a very HARD landing on the dirt by the tree. The poor little thing didn’t move. It just stayed where it plopped.
I was a frog murderer.
I felt awful! I went over to it to see if it was breathing. I couldn’t tell, so I said a little frog prayer and went back inside with slow, sad steps. While in the house I kept looking out the window at the lifeless shape, hoping for some movement. Nothing. It just laid there with all four appendages flung outstretched just like they were when he was flying. I tried to go about my business, but every few minutes, I couldn’t keep myself from looking out again – hoping for change. Finally, after several hours, I gave up. I knew the frog was dead.
In some hopes of redeeming myself from froggy hell, I told myself I would behave differently the next time a frog needed saving! I would be better! I would be calm and brave. I would be gentle and would think through the entire life-saving event from start to finish. The next time – I would try to save, not kill, Mr. Toad.
That next time happened to be yesterday.
I saw it first thing in the morning as I noticed a ripple in the pool. There he was – a small little junior frog child was desperately clinging onto the vacuum hose in the middle of our pool! His two frantic hands were trying to keep hold of the slippery hose while his exhausted legs alternated between treading water and having to rest, which would pull him down, which, in turn, would cause him to desperately start kicking again. The poor little thing! I ran to go find some courage. Couldn’t find any, but went outside and grabbed the shovel anyway.
I mustered up the half-ounce of courage I did have and calmly aimed the shovel at the bug-eyed varmint. Think April! Be slow! Don’t freak the frog out and don’t freak yourself out! Calm and steady! I hesitantly positioned the shovel well underneath his squirming legs and started to slowly bring it up. As I did so, a very sad thing happened. The disturbance of the water was too much for the little guy and it let go of the hose. It just gave up and sunk! It was so sad to watch! He must have felt he just couldn’t hang on any longer! He couldn’t take one more disturbance, so he just – let go. Those kicking legs had no more kick left in them. They relaxed, splayed out, defeated, and drifted toward the bottom of the pool. I’m sure that frog thought he was going to die. What he didn’t know, however, was he was going to land, very soon, on a shovel.
I brought the shovel up, slowly, to meet his sinking body and he felt the connection. I bet he had a little bit of shock and a touch of completely unexpected hope at that time. Then, maybe that hope started to really take hold when the shovel started to bring him up, out of the depth of the water. I have a feeling that that froggy hope probably turned into pure froggy relief when he was finally out of the pool, could breath again, and was being laid – VERY GENTLY – on the soft green grass! Maybe that relief turned into some sort of unspoken gratitude for the magic metal thing that saved his life.
I felt much better after this amphibious rescue than the last! In fact, about 5 minutes after I laid his tired little body down, I looked back and it was already gone! Hooray! Maybe I’m redeemed from wherever frog killers go.
Who knew an experience with a dying frog could be symbolic for me, my life, and my Savior.
Later that day, while driving in the car, I had a very clear thought come to me. I’m like the frog. I am exactly like that frog! Presently I am somewhat busy. In 12 days our son is getting married. In 13 days we are moving into a new home. This busyness has found me desperately kicking at water that continuously threatens to envelop and drown me. I’m frantically hanging onto a figurative hose, knowing that if I stop figuratively kicking with figurative legs that ran out of energy long ago, I will sink. So, I desperately keep trying to kick – knowing that one more slight disturbance will likely cause me to….just let go.
Then I thought of the shovel. I hesitate to compare the Savior of the world with a shovel, but that’s exactly what I thought of. Sometimes the entrance of The Shovel into my already dark waters seems like a disturbance I cannot withstand, not knowing it is being placed there to save me.
Then, as my feet unexpectedly make a connection with something solid, I begin to see a thread of hope. Soon, as I see that the Shovel is bringing me up out of the depths of the dark abyss, my hope becomes as solid as my footing. I look up toward sunlight and waiting air, and my hope turns into relief! Then, as I find myself being rescued from the murky, life-sucking waters, I notice I’ve been gently placed on soft, prepared ground. My hope and relief are replaced with joy and gratitude – for the One who saves.
I know this comparison may seem like a far stretch to some. There may be some who have not felt themselves sinking and then scooped up, brought out of the water and placed onto soft, solid ground. But I have.
I know the Savior atoned for us for that very purpose – so He could save us. I have experienced His saving power. I am joyful and grateful for the One who….found the courage – to save.