My daughter Faye is a lizard whisperer. For as long as I can remember, whenever we have gone camping, Faye has caught lizards. One year, she caught 12 lizards in five days (though technically one of those she caught three times in a row – that one wasn’t very bright). The first time that my daughters visited FCC San Rafael, Faye’s first question was, “Are there lizards around here?!” She and Rosemary fell in love with the natural beauty surrounding the church and were excited to explore the grounds, climb the trees, and hunt for local fauna. Yet in all of their searching since then, they have not found any lizards.
This past Wednesday, I was sitting in the office by myself and something small wiggled across the floor. It startled me, but I took a closer look and discovered a small baby lizard dashing to-and-fro across the carpet. You can imagine the ensuing scene as I tried to chase this small (and very fast!) creature down in my heels with the limited tools at hand. After much lunging and pouncing, I finally captured the skittery critter under a coffee mug that Hilary Spaulding had brought in on Monday. A moment later, David Knopf arrived and escorted it outside while I tried to catch my breath.
When the mug was finally lifted near a tree in the courtyard, the lizard sat petrified just long enough for me to snap a picture of it before it launched itself toward the nearest tree. It ran so fast off the lip of concrete that it managed to flip itself over onto its back as it skidded higgledy-piggledy in the dirt. It lay there, wriggling with its white belly to the sky for a long moment before it was able to roll over and then disappear into the leaves.
When I told this story at the Council meeting that evening and later to friends and family, it brought much laughter and multiple friends commented on how this was confirmation that this church was a great fit for us and vice versa. Faye and Rosemary are now filled with hope that they will be able to find lizards if they look hard enough.
As I think about Faye’s original wish and the chaotic scene that unfolded many weeks later, I can’t help but think about how often God answers prayers in strange unexpected ways, and how that can spread joy and hope to others in our lives.
I have been overwhelmed by the welcome and outpouring of love and warmth from this congregation. It has been a whirlwind first week! It has been a pleasure to get to know you better and to sit in conversation with our Ministry Team, Council, Sunday School teachers, and Music Director, and to bless all of our students as they head back to school this fall. My goals for the next few months are to get to know the congregation and community by continuing these conversations.