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The undeniable evidence of your senses

Nothing is certain these days, it seems. Or perhaps one might say, nothing is certain except uncertainty.

That feels especially true when I put my trust in things I can see, hear, touch, taste or smell. Yep, the evidence of my own senses seems to betray me these days. Even old familiar things are tempting to disbelieve. Especially when our collective perceptions are so divergent.

But it’s always been so. And actually I find that reassuring. Because in the midst of differing opinions and the drawing of different conclusions, each has its own validity… in a way. And that might, if you go along for the unexamined ride, convince you that there is nothing to trust and no one to believe in.

OR … it might send you searching for understanding by diving deeper. For me, the resource that never disappoints is the human body. I never cease to find something enlightening, explanatory and remarkable, yet so astoundingly simple that it sits me down and shuts me up.

I mean, just consider how you see, hear, touch, taste and smell!

For times when the darkness around you makes it hard to see, God designed a pupillary dilation mechanism to let just the right amount of light in.

For times when the sound of confusion surrounds you, God designed a cochlear hearing system which resonates uniquely to every pitch.

For times when gentle caress feels distant, God designed subdermal pressure receptors so sensitive they leave you giddy at the touch of a ladybug or the tickle of a feather but alert you to a creeping spider.

For times when life’s bitterness threatens to spoil your table fellowship, God designed other tastebuds activated by sweet, sour, salty and savory for balanced seasoning.

For times when the stench of evil and injustice suffocates, God designed olfactory epithelium to compel you to seek refreshment and renewal by the winds of the Spirit of hope.

It’s amazing to think, isn’t it, that the complexity that is each of us could possibly have begun with just two single cells and 26 sets of information. But it’s so. Quite a Designer that must have been… must be…. and is even now as we go through life adapting and responding to what comes.

Who in the world would ever have thought of all that?

Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.

John 10:37-38

The Christmas Caterpillar

On Christmas day, I rescued a caterpillar. He (or she) was crawling slowly across my family room carpet. What in the world? In December? It’s freezing outside! Shouldn’t you be somewhere south where it’s warm? And what do butterflies do in the winter?

I couldn’t bear to put it outside, certain it would meet a very quick and chilly end. So, reminded of the many, many, many caterpillars of my youth that came to live in a coffee can in my room, I encouraged the little orange and black fuzzy creature into a plastic bin using a tissue near at hand.

The Christmas caterpillar in his new winter home.

The Christmas caterpillar in his new winter home.

He – we’ll call him he, not knowing any better – was lethargic and, I was sure, nearly dead. But not yet. I broke off a few sprigs of an indoor plant and set it next to the white Puffs tissue that enclosed him. A yellow juice container became his water bowl. He was not moving.

Later, I found him in (yes, floating, drowned?) the water, so I dumped him back into the tissue, which mopped up the moisture. I was certain that I had killed him. But no. He just moved further inside the tissue. Can’t blame him.

Days go by. I go away to a conference and come home. He is still there. Has moved only slightly. Certainly his end is near, but there is still life.

We go away for a holiday. Return to several inches of snow on the ground and freezing, freezing temperatures. Poor caterpillar, I can’t even offer him a reasonable burial now.

I leave him alone, in peace. One day he has climbed up the side of the plastic bin. Poor guy. A final escape attempt foiled by the lid. He is dried and has lost his color. Some meager strings run across his body as if a spider invader has sealed the deal. (I had to crack the top to let in some air!)

It’s still too cold to bury him outside, but we are expecting a thaw. Then, then I will have a small funeral for my Christmas companion.

This morning this greets me…

He has emerged!

He has emerged!

My first thought. How could such a large flying object have invaded the caterpillar’s plastic bin?! Then I realize, this is Christmas, transformed.

He has made his way up to the top, so I open the lid to the morning. He remains, content to stay a bit longer.  He’ll fly away when he’s ready.

Welcome back!

Welcome back!

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