One teeny one lives in my kitchen, and only comes out a night. One lives in the curtains by my bed. A third one seems to have wanderlust, showing up on other walls, in my closet, or by my back door. (Yes, I am choosing to ignore the possibility that he’s actually three, increasing the gecko to human ratio to 5:1!)
There are also lots of geckos and lizards in El Callejon, so I’ve had ample opportunity to observe them. Their defense mechanism seems to be standing very still until the perceived threat goes away.
In a world filled with green leaves, brown bark, mud, and rocks, this strategy is pretty effective. I often don’t notice the little guys crawling in our Site until I catch them walking across a beam from the corner of my eye.But, in my place, it is, frankly, a pretty useless strategy. My walls are painted white, and my tile floor is also white. When I walk in the door, the gecko by my bed does the same standing-still trick. Sometimes he is halfway behind the curtain, but most of the time, he’s just sitting there, brownish green against the white.
When I’m sitting on my couch, from way across the room, I can see when my kitchen friend comes out for the night. Even though he’s only a few inches long, and he likes to hang out way up near the ceiling, there’s no hiding.
I love moving a couple of steps toward them and watching them run, run, run, along the wall, and then freeze. It cracks me up, because they are still completely exposed and in the open. What works in the world outside these walls, is ineffective here inside. Luckily for them, I have absolutely no interest in turning them into a snack!
I’ve left my known environment and entered into a new one. At times I wonder if I look just as silly to people here as my geckos do to me. Getting annoyed and frustrated when the Claro store ‘runs out’ of phone minutes two days in a row, or when it takes searching two stores to find all the ingredients to make a boxed cake mix, does as much good as ‘hiding’ by standing still against a bright white wall!
I don’t think I’ll ever find a way to convince the geckos they don’t need to keep trying to hide from me. But, unlike my little roommates, God has created me with the ability to learn and change how I cope. No, not everything here ‘works’ from my perspective. It does seem to work for the people who live here. Can I soften my heart and be willing to learn from them?
We are heading toward Christmas, when we celebrate God-with-us. Jesus, who was God, emptied Himself, and became a baby, needing others to supply His basic needs. The Creator of the world entered it, not in power, but in poverty.
It’s frankly humiliating to be treated like a helpless, hapless little kid. Having an eight year old girl correct my pronunciation, or a teen mock me when I accidentally say novia (girlfriend) instead of novio (boyfriend), or store clerk sighing when I have to ask three times how much I owe, doesn’t feel good. But, our Savior endured far, far, far worse!!
In order to share Jesus with others, I need to be willing to be like Him. That means entering into their world humbly, and not in a posture of superiority, full of opinions about how things ‘should be’.
I continue to pray for His strength, and His humility and obedience, as I continue to learn to be His hands and feet here in Jarabacoa. And, for a sense of humor for those times when I am tempted to run, run, run, and freeze, pretending I’m fooling anyone!