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March 20, 2004
"There are lots of drinks in the refrigerator. Help yourself to anything," Sissy said. I was walking around the cottage getting my bearings. Beautiful and comfortable, with a lake free for the looking outside the window and flowering trees everywhere. Spring is already here in Mississippi. Her arrival in the Northeast was marked by one last snowstorm, but here in Mississippi daffodils and redbud trees are in bloom, the flowering pears already past the fullness of their bloom and leafing out, the air soft and warm.

"Well now, there's a tree frog right on the back door," Sissy said, "You don't mind, do you?" I looked to where she pointed: one had glued himself to the glass about halfway up the door, an excellent place to lie in wait for passing bugs. I went closer; the frog and I regarded each other. I liked his yellow eyes, his feet clinging to the glass, his tummy pressed against it. I don't know if he liked me; he gave no sign.

"No, I don't mind."

"They do put up a racket out here at night."

"That's all right."

At two in the morning, my little housemate awakened me with a croak as loud as a German Shepherd's bark. I'm not sure how such a loud sound comes out of such a tiny body, but it's an elegant adaptation for a small animal to have: "I am extremely large and dangerous," it says, "You'd better be very afraid of me and get along out of here while you still can." The tree frog is four inches long on his tiptoes.

Small animals know to look big when danger threatens. Birds fluff out all their feathers and look twice as big as they really are. Tiny lizards open up the big colored gussets at their throats, framing their faces with a ruff much larger than their actual heads. Cats' fur stands on end, their tails double in circumference.

Look scary. Look important. Look bigger than you are. Human beings do it, too, and it spills over into moments when nobody is threatening us with anything. We get so we want to look big all the time. We no longer feel safe at our normal size. You can forget what it's like just to be yourself.

But Jesus didn't do it. He didn't try to seem bigger than He was. Invited to become a king, he declined. Asked if He were one, He demurred. Challenged to fight, He refused. He was not afraid to show His weakness.

Yeah, and look what happened to Him! the world says. You can't do that. The best defense is a good offense.

I suppose that depends on what game you're playing. When light came, the frog was gone.
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