I’m not a good hermit crab mother. Yes, you read that right. We’ve been trying to keep hermit crabs alive around here, and it’s not going so well. We’ve been through 3 in one month, making good use of that 30-day return policy at the pet store. I think they even might have recognized us last time we walked in with our limp lifeless shell to return.
(Can you find him?) 🙂
Each time, we wonder what we are doing wrong. I go researching again, asking Siri, “Why did my hermit crab die?”, and finding pages and pages online describing many people’s experiences with these little finicky creatures. I change something else about the care we are giving them. Continually. Fresher food… bigger tank… different water source… humidity thermometer… and the list goes on.
The other night I couldn’t sleep, and I lay in bed scrolling through more Internet sites, feeling as I’ve had about enough of this. Wishing I never would have said “yes” to my daughter’s desire to own these little guys and experience this disappointment. After all, she won’t even give the new one a name any more because she’s convinced it will be dead within the week.
“God, why?” I cry out in my weary sleeplessness. “Why does my precious girl just have to keep having reminders of death? Hasn’t she gone through enough at her young age? Can’t she just have the fun of having a pet for awhile without being reminded of the frailty of life again and again?”
But even in that moment, I knew that I had already found the answer. As I prayed about the act of dying, I was researching how to live. Every single death had forced me to stretch myself… to grow. For the crabs, it’s about growing in knowledge. But in life, it’s about so much more.
Awhile ago, I heard something that has unsettled me since. An acquaintance of mine who follows a different religion decided to visit a local church with Christian beliefs. After the service, she shared how disheartened she was that nothing was said about the future of the Christian… about what is still to come. This was crazy to me. After all, isn’t our future the best part of our faith? The fact that heaven awaits… that Jesus came so that we could be forgiven and our future made secure… that He is in the process of making all things new. It’s the faith to trust what awaits that helps us get through the difficulties of the here and now.
I guess it would be easy, when life is going well, to forget about this. To forget to share this good news with others in need of it, and forget to live for what’s coming, simply enjoying today. But death… but death reminds us in ways that nothing else can. It offers a slap in the face that ultimately wakes us up to the reality that this is not all there is. That life is short and nothing we can really do to change that. It is the constant reminder that this world is not our home that forces us to choose whether or not we will view it as such, or choose to live with a heavenly perspective.
And when we choose to bask in that reality, painful and hard as it is, the reminders of the future make life more beautiful. Because each hard day that we experience is one more day we can check off before we experience our ultimate future with our amazing Savior. Each day that we spend missing our loved ones that have gone on before us is one day closer to being with them again.
“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next… The conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” -C.S. Lewis
So we grow stronger.
We love bigger.
We give greater.
Because death may not seem very beautiful, but the perspective it offers can be. And the life that results can be glorious. Heavenly.
Because that’s what it’s all about all along. It just takes death to wake us up to it sometimes.by