I recently moved from a tiny village in Alaska to join my husband in Arizona. Changes in retirement now include a total reverse in climate, seeing cowboy boots instead of Alaskan rubber “Xtratufs”, and driving on roads you can actually get out of town on that don’t end at an ocean shore. And an extra bonus has been a grandchild available in only eighty minutes by car, with no planes or boats involved.
This little bonus feature has recently learned to walk and has taken off on adventures of discovery that include the exploration of all nooks and crannies she can squeeze her little self into. And her job, which she takes quite seriously, is to personally peel off all stickers and tags left on any items she can get her hands on. On her last visit she made a point to turn over the kitchen rug she had previously removed a price sticker from to make sure no further infractions were evident.
Of course, we try to child-proof our house when she visits, by putting up gates in front of stairways and putting up our breakable big people “toys”, though our refrigerator magnets have not escaped unharmed. She has learned what shouldn’t go into her mouth, but often teases us with a hand to the mouth and a smile before giving some old crumb or recently-discovered price tag to Mommy. She is learning to help pick up toys and put trash into the waste basket, but is just as good at taking both right back out.
After a recent visit that left our living room floor looking like a toddler attack, complete with the scattered debris of toys, crayons, and Grandpa’s DVD’s, we noticed something down the hallway after she had left. It was a ray of light coming in through the remnants of a pet door constructed by a previous house owner and now bolted shut. But a floor-level peek hole had suddenly emerged in the shape of a perfect circle.
What we suspected was confirmed by the little picker’s dad, who had been to the end of the hallway with her but had forgotten to mention the tape she had picked off the door. I’m sure she must have been pleased with herself and stuck her little hand through the hole. The tape had been hiding something we hadn’t yet ventured to check out, but our little girl was on the job!
We might have suspected any number of things, and some not so good, when that perfect circle of a hole suddenly appeared in our back door that evening — until we remembered the presence of the little “Sticker Picker” among us. And then it a seemed so obvious. A sturdy piece of tape had been picked away to reveal a mystery. And I can only imagine what purpose the hole may have served back when Fido used the door.
Maybe it’s like that sometimes with God’s presence in our lives. We don’t see God’s hand in something until we have come to know His nature. And then it seems obvious. His handprints are on the tape that has been removed to reveal something that might have gone unnoticed. But even then, God’s purpose is not always clear. Sometimes it might be best to celebrate the loving presence of God among us, trust that God’s purpose will be revealed to us in time, and accept the mystery.