I’ve been blessed over the past five years to live in a rather unconventional place in the suburbs of North Texas. A lake cabin first built in the 1950s with the massive size of 300 square feet, this house has grown and evolved over its nearly 60 years if life. It now has a bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen. It didn’t when it was built. Or so I surmise. It also has central A/C. What luxury! Of course, there is no insulation in the walls, so any heat escapes through the ceiling and any cold through the walls. But I digress… one bonus of having a rural cabin on a half acre of wooded property is the wildlife. I have rabbits and armadillos, birds and frogs, and lots of lizards. The raccoons and possums don’t live here but seem to consider my place a vacation home or something (a trashcan villa for two, please!).
I consider the lizards to be friends. Lizards eat bugs (including mosquitoes) and are usually harmless to humans. I have several living somewhere around my house and several more have taken up residence in an arbor I built last summer. Where they live in the arbor is unknown but I see them every day when I go check on my water fountain or sit down to relax (which ain’t happening too much lately). The fountain is a fairly new feature to my yard. I built a four-foot waterfall that drops into a boxy tub filled with big rocks and the water pump. When I created this arrangement a month ago, I hoped that the tub would not only serve as a water reservoir for my waterfall but also provide drinking water for the local wildlife. You see, I believe its our responsibility as humans to care for the creatures of this earth. We do it as part of our created purpose through Adam. Why are we here? In part, it is to care for God’s creation. So I try whenever I can to look after my local creatures.
About a week ago I found a frog camped out in my water-filled basin. I felt instantly happy. A creature found my little haven and was taking advantage. The lizards also have utilized the water. And every day I see evidence that other animals have messed with the basin during the night, likely in search of water. Then again, they may be on the hunt for frog legs or lizard tail. I don’t know.
One thing I do know is that it’s very frustrating to not be able to communicate with the creatures. I talk to the lizards and frog but I doubt if they understand a single utterance coming from my mouth. One day I spotted a male lizard looking a little like this:
The little guy decided to act all big and bad, so he took up an aggressive posture and started blowing his neck pouch (it’s a reddish protrusion lizards use for intimidation) in order to display his big and badness. I felt rejected. Here I was, this kind caretaker, providing shelter, water and, when the lights are on, a nightly bug dinner, and the lizard sees me as a threat! Oh how I longed to be able to communicate with the guy. To tell him of my benevolent intentions and bless him in the name of our Creator. But communication isn’t that way this side of heaven.
I often wonder if our inability to communicate with creation is a result of the fall of man. I wonder if it was something Adam and Eve could do but not their children. And whether or not Jesus, the “Second Adam,” talked directly to animals, birds and lizards. As God, I imagine He could. Especially since He was the Creator. If the communication issue deals with the sin of mankind, then what will the relationship between man and creatures be like in the new heaven and new earth? Will we be able to talk to horses, dogs, cats, etc. with their complete understanding? Will we be able to understand them?
I often dream of this ideal creation… one in which the caretakers are able to interact and fellowship with their charges. Of course I also dream of being able to flip a light switch from across the room or force the car in front of me to fully pull over into the turn lane before slowing down, so I’m not sure if I’m sane. But wouldn’t it be totally cool to have a pure, full relationship with God’s creation?
I want the lizards and frog to know that I care for them as fellow creatures of the King and have their best in mind. But I fear that they don’t. So I have to be a “stealth” caretaker, setting up waterfalls and pools for them to enjoy even though they don’t know it was intentional.
Maybe one day they will.