Yesterday morning I woke up to a text from my husband. He had left the house very early and had had to step over a critter on his way to the car. Attached to his message was a photo. I had no idea what it was, but it sure looked like a lizard!
My first reaction was to think, “Michigan sure has changed since I lived here last.” My whole childhood I had chased and captured toads, fled from garter snakes, and been amused by squirrels. Michigan has so many deer that you can’t take a cross-state trip without witnessing some road-kill, but lizards? I’d never seen one in Michigan.
I walked to the door to see if, by chance, the little guy was still hanging around. He sure was! I don’t know anything about lizards, or many animals for that matter. The joke in our house is that it’s pretty amazing that I’ve kept my husband and kids alive, let alone the dog. Even plants are at risk if I am in charge. However, it didn’t take a veterinarian to recognize that this little guy was in need of some help. After all, he hadn’t moved from the threshold in hours. He was tiny; he could have fit in the palm of my hand.
He could have, that is, if I would’ve been willing to pick him up. But that was not going to happen. I closed the door and went back to getting ready for work.
But I couldn’t get the image of that little guy — using the last of his strength to crawl up onto the cement ledge outside my door — out of my head. If I didn’t do something, he was going to be a shriveled up version of himself by the time I got home from work. But what was I supposed to do? I’m no lizard expert!
Since my husband was already on the road a couple of hours away, I texted two members of his team who also live on campus. “Hey, do either of you two want to adopt this little guy? He’s sitting on my doorstep.”
Within minutes, they had both replied. One of them had the genius idea to contact a campus employee who, get this, just happens to love and collect reptiles!! No kidding. So, I found her on Facebook and sent her a message. Her first response was to say that although he was cute, she already had plenty. She sure hoped someone would care for him.
But as she put her phone down and started getting ready for her day, I think she, too, couldn’t get the little guy out of her head. She messaged me a few minutes later — “I think he’s a gecko. He’s not native to Michigan, and he won’t likely survive here.”
Before I knew it, she was promising to come rescue him and assess his situation. By last night, he was sitting safely in an aquarium, being fed, watered, and warmed. I don’t know if he’s gonna fully recover, but I am hopeful.
I’m cheering for this little gecko because, guys, I’ve been there. I have used the last of my strength to crawl to a ledge where someone might notice me and take pity on me. I’ve been in the spot where if someone didn’t intervene, I was going to shrivel up. I’ve been out of my element, wandering around, trying to find something that looked familiar. And each time this has happened, someone has swooped in to the rescue.
Maybe it was a nurse who made a phone call. Maybe it was a friend who delivered a late-night jamocha shake. Maybe it was a husband who sat next to me in the silence. It could’ve even been a coworker who dropped into my classroom at the end of a long day to say, “I’m so glad that you’re here.”
Whoever it was, they gently coaxed me into the warmth, gave me a drink and something to eat, and provided a spot where I could recover from the trauma of life. And, thankfully, I lived to see another day.
So, I’m cheering on this little guy, and all the other little guys who are sitting on the ledge, grasping at hope.
Oh, Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all;
The earth is full of your creatures.