Monday, October 29, 2007


“He spoke, and there came swarms of flies, and gnats…”
Psalm 105:31

Ah, nature! While I’m partial to furry, fuzzy, cuddly critters, occasionally my attention is taken captive outside the woolly realm of mammalian warmth:

During the heat of summer, I relish the opportunity to light the Tiki torches on the mossy-bricked patio, where our domestic domicile meets the wooded cliff, and curl up on my swing to read in the pleasant coolness of the evening. As my eyes scan the pages illuminated by my tiny book light, my mind absorbed in images and ideas, the pungency of citronella stinging my nostrils, my senses are double-tasking, on the alert for a snap of a twig or a wiggle of leaves in the absence of a breeze, signs that a four-footed visitor may be cautiously approaching. An eerie “whoo-o-o-o-o” mingles with a whispered whistle of an approaching train, the drone of a single-engine sand-piper taking flight from the nearby airstrip, and the chorus of cheers from the parent-infested bleachers surrounding a ball diamond on the far side of the river.

Despite the citronella oil, and its renowned reputation for warding off insects, bugs are beckoned by the irresistible gravitational pull of my battery-powered high intensity light rays. The literary leaves now function as a landing strip for all sorts of bugs wooed and enamored by the light. My longing for enlightenment is compromised by my winged friends’ hunger for light. Who’s to say that my needs are more important than those of the bugs! Granted, books are created to impart knowledge and provide entertainment, but I delight in the creativity and ingenuity of the tiny critters sunbathing on the beaches of wisdom. My environmentalist within relishes and welcomes the opportunity for my light to serve a dual purpose.

Absorbed in a book about grace, nothing was further from my mind than investigating bugs. Nevertheless, after brushing away a truly amazing array of “pests,” my focus begrudgingly shifted to this tinker-bell ballet—a command performance staged under the floodlights of Grace—for this hand-picked audience of one. In spite of my irritation with this seeming interruption, I had to laugh. Was God trying to get my attention? What was I missing?

Always intrigued and amazed by God’s infinite and outrageous creativity, in this particular moment of grace, I marveled in the sampling of bugs sharing my light. I was especially captured by how tiny some of the bugs were and wished that I had a magnifying glass at my ready to get a closer look. And where do all these bugs come from? Do they live here in my yard, right under my nose, yet invisible, undetected? (Or is it I who is crashing the party in their yard?)

Why on earth does God need so many different kinds of bugs? It must be that God has the insatiable desire of a curious child, hungry for more, and more, and more!!! Are bugs to God like toys are to children—you can never have enough? Is God a compulsive, bells-and-whistles-out-of-control creator, never knowing when “enough is enough, already!”?

I am awed and tickled that a parallel universe populated by a myriad of tiny creatures flits and flutters around me, and—intelligent though I be—I am obtusely oblivious to its intricate, bustling existence. I have been reading about bees[1]—another universe I have been blind to, except for when a bee buzzes too close for my comfort—which undoubtedly has sensitized my mind to the winged world at this moment in time. What parallels might I see between my life and the life of the night creatures buzzing my reading light?

Spiritually, I am drawn to the Light and the warmth of God’s love. Intellectually, I revel in bathing myself in new ideas and perspectives, basking in energizing enlightenment. Emotionally, I occasionally find myself enveloped by the darkness of depression or loneliness and seek out people and experiences that lighten my heart. Relationally, I like to gather with others of my species to cheer on the Little Leaguers or absorb divine Light amid the buzz of fellowship. Light is essential to my existence on many levels, and like my light-crazed companions on this sultry eve, I am bewitched and bedazzled by Light wherever I may find It.

I wonder, in these moments when I am drawn to the spotlight of Grace, am I, also, a tiny creature crashing unceremoniously into another being’s universe, inviting them to shift focus and experience God's grace in a new way? Do they marvel over my intricacy and chuckle over my pesky presence? Am I the light of another being’s world, as Christ has called me to be? Am I most like a beetle, well protected by a shiny, iridescent, impermeable shell, or am I like the teeny-tiny, delicate bug whose wings and body are vulnerable and transparent? Am I satisfied to rest in the Light or do I flutter about, seeking who knows what? Where do I go when the source of my light is snuffed out?

Gracious God, may I always have the good sense to rest in your Light
and may I be a reflection of your Light, to those around me.
[1] The Secret Lives of Bees, a delightful novel by Sue Monk Kidd, led me to The Queen Must Die and Other Affairs of Bees and Men (be honest now, who could resist such a title!), by beekeeper, William Longgood.

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