Monday, August 31, 2009

The Snake and the Frog - A Reflection on Purpose and Our Impact on the Lives of Others

“Everything happens for a reason. Every action has a reaction. Always remember that what was meant to be will always find a way to come about.” ~ Author unknown

Although we had made all kinds of plans yesterday, the day went by in the haze of laziness only a Sunday can inspire – at six last night, we were all still wearing pajamas. After dinner, Morgan asked if we could go to the park for a while, so at about seven we hopped in the car and headed out to play.

While Morgan ran around on the playground, Michael and John played tag with the ball we had brought along, and they took turns hiding in different spots. Thinking that his dad had gone down a path which runs around the baseball fields and cuts across a swampy area to get away from him, Michael headed down the path too. I called him back, but he didn’t hear me and kept walking. Since John had since reappeared from the bushes surrounding the playground, I left Morgan with him and walked after Michael, equally surprised that he wasn’t scared to go through the dense wooded area by himself, and a little upset that he would not just think of turning back around once he didn’t see his father.

The sun was setting rapidly, and the thick canopy of trees shadowed the path further, making it hard to see ahead. Suddenly something darted in front of my feet and I looked to see what it was – a little frog was jumping as fast as it could, hoping to cross the path and find shelter in the brush on the other side. My first thought was that the frog was trying to get away from me, but a second glimpse convinced me otherwise. A snake came slithering fast out of where the frog had jumped from, but it turned around and disappeared quickly as soon as it realized I was standing there. In the fading light I could not see what kind of snake it was but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t too happy I had ruined its dinner.

Seconds later I saw Michael walking back toward me – he had finally noticed his dad wasn’t on the path and was on his way back. No harm was done, and after a little pep talk about not venturing off alone we went back to the playground where the rest of the family was. On the way back I couldn’t help thinking how unexpected events we become involved in – even when we are not affected directly – can make a huge difference in the life of someone else completely unrelated to us. My sudden presence was certainly not a blessing for the hungry snake, but for the frog it had been the opportunity of a lifetime.

We are often unaware of why we run into situations, and rarely think that our role at that moment might only be one of support in the unfolding of another’s destiny. Each moment, each event can potentially change someone’s life, even when to us it merely manifests as an annoying occurrence.

Everything happens for a reason – it may not always be apparent why, but in the greater scheme of things we don’t always have to know the details.

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