I looked down at the frog clinging to the top rung of the ladder in my swimming pool. I was used to it periodically showing up, but it usually quickly disappeared over the side bar and into the styrofoam peanuts. You see, my little 9 by 17 foot vinyl swimming pool is not only heated, it is surrounded by a cement wall, creating a space that we fill with insulating materials. During the winter, the pool is also sheltered in a canvas tent.
The defining feature of my pool water, that makes it hospitable to the frog, is that I keep it clean with natural enzymes. No chlorine. I have been doing this for over a year. I love it and, apparently, so does the frog.
Once, when I rolled back the tarp-like cover, the frog jumped unexpectedly out from underneath, but I couldn’t see where it went. It must know all the good places to hide around the pool, because the sunbathing cat also hangs out in there during winter, laying atop the cover to absorb both sunlight from the window and heat from the 80°F water below. I’ve seen the cat with mice and birds, so I know it hunts.
But on this particular day, the frog had stayed in the water near the end of the pool where I get in. As it saw me hover above, it swam expertly from side to side, for the first time not having a direct exit strategy. It stopped on the ladder, like a confused child trying to catch its breath. I could tell it was somewhat panicked, so I held back. Well, there was that and not wanting it to jump under my foot as I stepped down onto the ladder.
Even with the mild winter temperatures in the 50’s, it was getting a little chilly waiting for the frog to make up its mind, so I was glad when it decided to go hang out in the corner. I slipped quickly, but quietly, into the pool and looked it in the eye.
What I was thinking was this: I had no problem sharing the swimming pool with a cute frog. It was very… zen. Or it would be until the frog used me for a lily pad or showed up in front of my face while I was inhaling. However, I wasn’t just being selfish. I also realized the force of the current from my current generator might overwhelm the frog. It might get sucked up against the filter basket or tossed around in the hazard of my kicking legs.
I tested my theory by turning on the current generator and watching the frog. Sure enough, the current pushed the frog away from the side of the pool, up toward the front of the machine. For all I knew, the physics of it all could result in the frog getting smashed up against the machine. I needed to get it to safety.
Have you ever tried to help an unwilling frog? I had the short-handled pool net in my grasp, and was able to gently scoop up the creature, but as soon as I lifted it above the surface, it jumped wildly back into the water. The current was still on, because initially scooping up the frog as it swam seemed like such a simple idea. Soon I realized it didn’t recognize me as a benevolent being, if it recognized me as a life form at all. All it saw was another terrifying event to try to escape.
I managed to scoop it up three times in fairly quick succession, and the third time I set it down on the cement ledge in the same smooth motion. I had put it close to one of its cozy corners, so I assumed it would crawl down into it for a period of reflection. Instead, I was left to gasp as it flung itself off the ledge, out into the bright sunlight and open yard where both the dog and cat were at large.
I don’t know if the frog will make it back to the relative comfort of my swimming pool, but it got me thinking about how people sometimes react to God. Obviously, I am not God and He is not creating events out of ignorance or caprice that we must guard against. Most importantly, His sometimes incomprehensible help is not something to be feared and revolted against. When He tries to lift us above a storm in a way that we don’t understand, we should trust His hand. And then we should rest in the place He provides. We can be wiser than the frog. Don’t be like the frog.