My son recently had two dental visits. One was his first dental exam, and the second involved a tooth extraction. Since he loves books so much, a trip to the bookstore has become the standard post-dentist treat. He seems to have already made an association since he now mentions a trip to the bookstore any time the word “dentist” is mentioned.
On our last trip to the bookstore, we came across The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle. The book really struck a chord in me. It was something I needed to read. Eric Carle could not have better portrayed the human struggle with envy and desire, using the most simplest of words and illustrations. Envy starts in childhood and continues to grow in adulthood. It may begin with a simple desire for little sister’s toy and a friend’s snack. Then it tags along for the rest of life and develops into a nagging discontent for more success, more money, more luxuries that are justified as needs, more of whatever another person has. Envy consumes and transforms a person, not necessarily for the better.
This poor little mixed-up chameleon would be a perfect illustration of myself if I were to truly voice and manifest all the things I wished and desired, either for myself or for my life. More organized. More intelligent. More artistic. More rich. More pretty. More stylish. More athletic. More culinary. More vacations. It really has no end because “more” is intrinsically never enough. “More” will always be a craving without relief.
God has made me as I am, for His good purposes that are often its own mystery to me. The same goes for my husband and each of my children. I love this book’s message because it emphasizes the simple concept of being true to yourself. The chameleon loves to catch flies. That was what he was made for. Maybe it doesn’t scream cool or trendy. Maybe it doesn’t get him attention. Maybe it is awfully dull. But as he learns to put aside his envy of other animals, he rediscovers that catching flies is just right for him. He discovers that it’s great to be himself.
There is no need to be more than who you are. There is no need to embellish or prove your worth. I hope this is a message that resonates in our family life, both in words and action.