May 24, 2019

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

Grandma’s random prayer illuminates the wonder of God’s creation

Debra Tomaselli “Grandma, grandma! Come look!”

Ellie, 4 and Teddy, 2, raced through the backyard, chasing a yellow butterfly that was gracefully gliding around the thick green shrubbery.

“That’s Yellowy,” Ellie said, watching the movements of the nimble butterfly they called their own.

I sat nearby, sipping lemonade. I didn’t want to get up. A warm spring breeze caressed my face.

Ellie ran through the grass and sprinted halfway across the yard before she suddenly stopped in her tracks.

She paused beside a cluster of tall, thin bamboo trees. The tops of the brown rods, reaching for the blue sky, were bursting with handfuls of skinny emerald leaves.

Ellie looked up and stared. She studied. She squinted. She pointed.

“Grandma, look,” she yelled.

Really? Did I have to move? Can’t I just watch from here? Can’t I simply stay put?

However, compelled by my granddaughter’s shout, I jumped up, abandoning the comfort of my Adirondack chair. I raced across the wooden deck, lurched into the grassy yard and sprinted toward Ellie and Teddy, who found a ball and was playing nearby.

As my feet landed in the soft grass, a prayer unexpectedly surfaced.

“Please God,” I said. “Help me to see things through the eyes of a child.”

I raced to Ellie, who was still staring at a particular brown bamboo shoot.

“Grandma, look!” She pointed to a spot high above her head.

“What do you see?” I asked.

“A little bug,” she answered, still staring upward. “See it?”

I followed her gaze, finally noticing a speck slowly crawling along the branch. The insect was tiny, about the size of a pill bug. Unlike a pill bug, however, it was covered in soft white spindly hair that protruded like a porcupine.

Astounded, I blinked my eyes. I’d never seen anything like it.

Awestruck, I watched as the little creature inched forward, slowly circling the bamboo rod.

“Look at that, Ellie!” I said. “He’s so tiny! Look at his soft white hair!”

Captivated, we watched in silence.

For a moment, I wondered: What if we were as small as this insect? How would our lives change? What if something larger was watching our movements? What if our world isn’t as big and important as we think it is?

Finally, I spoke.

“We must look really big to this bug,” I said. “Imagine!”

Ellie and I, still fascinated by the little creature, watched his every move. It filled me with an unrelenting sense of awe.

And I thought … maybe it was an answer to prayer.

Normally, I pray for the gifts of the Spirit, especially wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge and strength. Rarely do I pray for devotion and a sense of awe.

That backyard prayer, however, delivered just that. Seeing things through the eyes of a child awakened me to the little miracles I often take for granted. It brought joy. It illuminated the wonder of God’s creation, including the tiny bug, including my curious grandchildren. It brought me to my knees in gratitude.

Devotion and awe.

That’s something worth shouting about.

(Debra Tomaselli writes from Altamonte Springs, Florida. She can be reached at

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