October 9, 2013: The Unsung Hero of Lizards

~by Louis Templeman

As I was returning home from my morning walk I spied a skittering lizard; quick, quick across the sidewalk, leaping on to a weathered, tottering cedar fence, and slipping through a knot hole not unlike Alice. That little fearful reptile reminded me of how often I see them and I began to count. I saw them in azaleas, on fences, in a concrete access to a water meter, in a rose garden. . . . I counted until thirteen before becoming bored with it.

In the past two years I have saved the lives of a handful of lizards. I have rescued them from the windshield of a moving vehicle, from a bucket of exterior latex paint and from the mouths of cats. If lizards used Facebook or other social media I am sure that some of these who ran for their lives would have, instead, been friendlier. As it is, my ministry among lizards has gone completely unnoticed. I could get a complex.

It is in moments like this I rely on my Catholic faith which teaches me the value of unheralded good works. It supports random acts of kindness, not for accolades but for the good of God’s kingdom, his church and the whole world. This is a noble attitude. It is the moral high road.

I remember my Cursillo weekend. Cursillo is a three and a half days retreat where the participant encounters the love and kindness and truth that is the Christian faith. There are five to ten people who give talent, time and money for every candidate who benefits from the retreat. This work, not random but orchestrated, is an overwhelming act of unheralded kindness. One of the rules in Cursillo is there is no room for individual glory and that our thanksgiving should be first of all to God.

Jesus spoke of an “unprofitable” servant in one of his parables. The parable is a paradox. The servant is certainly very valuable to his master. His example is to teach what a believer’s motivation for his work and his life is to be. This bites against the core beliefs of today’s culture of vanity but the servant displayed a humble desire to go unnoticed, no matter how good his work. St. Therese wrote, “We must love our nothingness, and think only of the All which is infinitely lovable.”

What a brain twister that is. St. Therese was a saint. It is not easy to be a saint. I personally have a time of it just being a saint among lizards. Even when I think I should be treated like a hero among lizards it is they who become my teachers. Kindness, seen and unseen, is a beautiful praise of the glory of God.

~Louis Templeman

Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D.

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