Over the years, I’ve read several books by Bill Peet to my boys–such as Huge Harold and The Caboose Who Got Loose. Recently, I read to them the Bill Peet book Kermit the Hermit.
This is the story of a crab (not a hermit crab but an actual hermit) who spends his lonely life hoarding junk in his underwater cave–a rusty padlock, a ball of kite string, an old pair of shoes–yet these things he can never truly use. He won’t share them, and he takes this flotsam and jetsam from other animals.
Until one day, he fears for his life. A young boy rescues our crabby protagonist, and then Kermit sets about trying to thank the boy for his help. After discovering sunken treasure, Kermit risks his life to shuttle the loot to his cave; then he enlists the assistance of a cheerful pelican to deliver piece after piece of gold to the boy and his family. The family is overjoyed, and Kermit’s mission is complete.
When Kermit lived for self, he couldn’t find enough to fill his emptiness, no matter how much he squirreled away. When he lived to double his joy by expanding it into the lives of others (as John Piper describes love in Desiring God), Kermit’s emptiness filled and his heart expanded.
In his fight for survival as a little crab, Kermit kept everything for himself. In finding a life, he gave his best.
“After stacking the gold into one gleaming pile/His crusty face cracked in a satisfied smile./He was thinking of all the great pleasure and fun/Such a treasure would bring to a certain someone.”
What treasure could you share with a certain someone? Treasure that would bring that person great pleasure–and would crack your face into a wide smile? Right now, I’m cracking a book to read aloud to my boys–it’s my treasure shared with them. And it gives us all great pleasure. Happy reading, gentle reader.