So we’re living in Washington, D.C. this August.
Because we love 100° heat, 100% humidity, and crowds.
My daughter especially loves the crowds. Last week we had to duck out the back entrance of a museum with a giant double stroller because she started wailing. The offense? “Too many orange-shirt people are coming towards us!!!”
On the bright side, we have high-powered air conditioning in our free, furnished apartment. So we spend most of our time there. There, and in the elevator. The elevator has been my children’s favorite part of their educational Capital City tour so far.
But some days I get antsy and just have to leave. So to stay in the air conditioning and escape the crowds, I pay for overpriced 3D IMAX tickets. (So much for the free museums).
My favorite one so far has been The Secret Life of the Ocean. During the 40 minutes of coral reef footage, I imagine my own secret life near the ocean, the life where my husband takes us to tropical islands instead cities-built-on-swamps. (Yes, part of the National Mall used to be swampland, see here. But I digress).
The truth is: I AM happy to be here. Mainly because during the overpriced IMAX, I learned about my new favorite animal: the sea hare.
The sea hare’s proper scientific name – the Anaspidea – comes from the Greek word meaning “without a shield,” because the sea hare lives without a shell. A small, soft-bodied mollusk, she skims the shallow waters without a hiding place and without protection.
She doesn’t dart into a coral reef when a fish swims by. She doesn’t burrow in the sand or change shape to escape predators. She simply swims through the open water without a disguise and without an exit plan.
Well, she’s safe because of what she eats. Sea hares eat algae that makes them distasteful to predators. So basically, other creatures know not to mess with sea hares because they don’t taste good.
So all a little baby sea hare has to learn to do is eat algae. And then she’ll be safe.
Maybe you know where I’m going with this…
After Jesus fed the 5,000, after he walked on water, after he revealed his might through miracles, the disciples still questioned him. They wanted to know if they were safe. They wanted to know if Jesus would provide for them, if he could protect them. So they asked for food. In fact, they asked Jesus to literally feed them the way that Moses had called down manna in the desert.
But instead, Jesus says to them:
Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven…For I am the bread of life.” (John 6:32-34)
Jesus calls himself our bread. Our sustenance. Our protection.
He promises that if we come to Him, if we listen to him, if we feed on him, we will be safe. He will care for us. We will have all that we need.
Maybe it’s the travel, or the inconsistent moments of quiet, or the crowded city that once felt familiar but now feels foreign…but for whatever reason, I’ve felt afraid lately. Afraid of getting lost. Afraid of getting sick. Afraid for my children. Afraid of making the wrong choice, of executing the wrong plan, of being stuck without help.
I’ve been living like a tiny reef fish, ducking into caves, shivering, hiding, worrying, over-thinking.
But I don’t want to live like that anymore.
I want to feed on Jesus. I want to breathe in Jesus. I want to be so filled with Him that nothing on the outside – no worry, no fear, no worst-case-scenario can harm me.
I want to live like a sea hare, floating freely through the waves, knowing that I am infinitely protected from the inside out.