I’ve never been a fan of bugs.
Aside from the usual reasons to dislike insects, there is the matter of my limited vision. Coordination not being my greatest gift, I’m sure my attempts to squash or scoop up those masters of evasion are a great source of amusement to them. It’s rare that I can even tell what kind of creepy crawly has invaded my world. Imagine suddenly spotting this dark, shapeless blob moving…by itself…across a surface that shouldn’t have things moving by themselves on it.
Questions shiver through my mind: Does it have a stinger? Can it bite? Will it fly at me if I try to get rid of it?
One night, several years ago, I had more reason than usual to ask those questions and a few others.
I’d gone into my kitchen sometime after dinner. I happened to glance down, and my heart kicked against my ribs. Near the cabinets beneath my sink, a long, skinny, something was crawling across my cream linoleum. It seemed to have a stringlike tail that curved at the end — Or was a stinger? My first thought was, scorpion. But, this creature was probably too thin to be a scorpion.
I immediately reached for the nearest flattish object I could find (don’t remember what it was) and began swatting. Naturally, the creature scooted out of danger each time my weapon got near it.
What was it? Did it have tissue-thin wings folded against that paper’s-edge of a body? Was it poisonous? Why, oh why, didn’t I have a roommate who could get rid of it?
We danced in perfect harmony for a several minutes, that creature and I. Me: swat. It: scoot. Me: flinch, then swat again.
The thing suddenly moved away from the shadow of the cabinets. I tiptoed slightly to one side — hoping to catch it off guard by coming at it from another angle — and froze.
The skinny, scary, shadow of a creature had gained color and definition.
In the pool of light bathing the middle of my kitchen, sat the curled, sawtooth-edged strip of a cardboard box top.
My ribs vibrating with laughter rather than fear, I realized what had happened. The cardboard strip I’d peeled off a package before dinner had ended up on the floor, probably tucked under the cabinet where I didn’t notice it. The puffs of air from my overhead vents had brought it to life, scurrying it in bursts across the floor. My swats had pushed it along even faster.
I’d wasted all that time, energy, and fear over a harmless strip of paper!
But the light makes all things easy to see, and everything that is made easy to see can become light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper! Rise from death, and Christ will shine on you.” So be very careful how you live. Do not live like those who are not wise, but live wisely. Ephesians 5:13 (NCV)
Yep, even my dark, scary, buggy enemy became light — a source of laughter.
How many times a week do we need reminding of this truth? Swept along in the gloom of busy routines and the everyday dramas that surround us, we expend our efforts chasing cardboard foes and beating at box tops.
May God’s Light flood our lives and reveal the sham behind the shadows that so often steal our peace and sap our strength.