Yesterday I shared memories of squirming under barbed wire fences to get to a creek. What I didn't share was what we did at the creek. Grubby little creatures that we were, my cousins, sister, and I caught crawdads.
Armed with tin cans and sticks, we waded into the creek and turned over rocks, hoping to unearth the canny crawdads. When one shot out, we urged him backward (that is how crawdads move) with our sticks into the cans. After collecting an impressive number, we made the trek home, once again navigating the barbed wire fence, with our treasures. There, we showed them off to mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, and our grandmother, Mamaw. Bolstered by their praise, we made the return trip when we would set the crawdads free.
Once again, I smile over those sweet memories and wonder how we managed to wash off the murky water and dark mud that covered our hands, legs, and feet. In those days, I lived in flip-flops or thongs (no, not THAT kind of thong). I think of those unsuspecting crawdads and can only imagine their surprise and outrage at being herded into a tin prison, however temporarily.
Like the crawdads, I spend a good deal of my life moving backward. I joke that I take two steps backward for every step forward in my writing and consider myself successful if I sell one story out of every ten submissions. In my personal life, I also seem to move backward. I make the same mistakes over and over, even while promising myself that this time will be different.
Past hurts and old grudges sneak upon me, and I find myself back where I started, or even several steps beyond that. The idea of moving forward, of making true progress, appears hopeless. Why should I try?
And then I remember: the Savior has not given up on me. The reminder gives me the strength to try once more.
And so, for today, I am grateful for lessons from crawdads ... and the Lord's constant care.