Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bathing with the Frogs

I don't like frogs very much.  Honestly, I really don't like them at all.  My sentiments go back to early years in my life, when having to bathe meant having to walk inside an outhouse.

We had no running water or electricity.  So once the sun went down, my daily routine of a nightly bath became a major task.  At least, that's how I see it now in retrospect.  Back then, it was normal.  It was what we did and what we knew.

And so I remember having to walk out of my little wooden home with a towel in one hand-- PJ's and undies on the other, as I bravely walked down to the back of the house and into what I viewed as a dungeon.  I'd have to count on the light and reflection coming from the beautiful moon and stars to guide the way.  That first part of the routine was not so bad, actually.

And then I'd enter the outhouse, mentally prepping myself for a quick bath.  I'd use one hand to hold a cup with which I would scoop up water from a big laundry pail.  And the other hand served for the soap lathering.  And there I was, in this mostly dark room, surrounded by a modest stench coming from the hole in the ground, the sounds of night insects, the "coqui's" melody surpassing all other sounds.  And while I felt right at home--this was normal--it was all I knew; I could never get used to the frogs staring back at me, while I bathed.  I'd hold very still, maintaining  a good balance--performing my very own balancing act.

The frogs scared me.  I was okay with the darkness of the evening and the tropical forest-like sounds in the background.  I was even okay with the stench in the air, but the frogs freaked me out.  They just sat there.  Staring.  And I always expected a sudden jump.  Sometimes it happened as I expected, but most of the time, they just sat there, as if playing a bad joke on me.  And I'd fall for it each time.  Still, in my little seven year old mind, I'd whisper a prayer to God for protection.  I knew He'd hear me.

Even today I'm still much more scared of frogs than I am of the dark.  And I'm scared of other things too like learning that a loved one is hurt or sick.  I'm scared that each time I say good-bye to them, could be the last time.  I'm scared of other things too like not remembering special moments or forgetting about what really matters.  I'm scared to be forgotten, or having another good friend pass away.  I can go on to form a list, but truly what would be the point of that?  Life is scary.  It's normal.  Life is filled with scary things that can ultimately lead to whispered prayers spoken in the dark connecting us to God.  And what could possibly be better than that?!

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