By Scot Martin
What is the meaning of a toad? Yes, an ordinary, overlooked-by-most-humans bufo: the American Eastern toad.
Small and squat, thick-browed, warty devourer of worms and crickets. How can you be anything but an icon of humility?
You lack the athletic power of a jumping frog; designed to hop through leaf litter in gardens and forest floors.
Perhaps you have something to teach us?
Abbot Vorobiev proclaimed humility as the secret to great spiritual growth. For it is not solely in feats of prayer and fasting, or even swimming in the Word, but in plain quotidian humility that metamorphosis occurs.
Your white belly that never sees the sun, but continually kisses the humus. Your unassuming clandestineness among the sticks and stones declares that the small, overlooked, and the weak matter.
You belong not in the thrall of witches, of the domain of the creepy-crawly, but in the Kingdom of Heaven; Jesus created you and your kin, after all.
So trill in the moist, spring air. Let your song rise as an Ave to “toad love” and the Glory shining within everything.
Scot F. Martin lives with his family and teaches high school English in the Rouge River watershed in southeast Michigan. He has been published in Jesus the Imagination, Front Porch Republic, Stand, Ignatian Solidarity Network, Flourish and other analog and digital publications.