Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Lesson From a Spider

It seems as if this year has been a banner year for spiders. I don't know if it's the rain, the heat, the late spring, or the war in Iraq. But every time I walk my dogs I end up walking through enough cobwebs to make Dracula's castle look like a Coldwell Banker open house. I end up picking the sticky stuff out of my hair, scraping it off my face and clothes, wiping it from my shoes. They're not only outside. I've worn out a feather duster keeping them at bay around doors, windows, under desks, in lampshades, bookcases, and appliances.

The other night as I came home from work, I was driving up the long tree lined driveway to the house and encountered miles of webbing, spread from one side of the driveway to the other. It looked a little like a scene from a bad Halloween movie as my Explorer ripped through whole villages of busy little arachnids. Yesterday I was on the way to town, and as I opened the car door something dropped from underneath the door handle and fell at my feet. I had just enough time to recognize a fairly good-sized spider before it quickly recovered and climbed back up its thread to hide beneath the door handle again.

I hate killing things. I do my best to avoid turtles, squirrels, birds, snakes, and any other hapless creature that happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Flies, mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks and ants are another matter. But for the most part, I'd rather relocate than exterminate. In the case of this particular creature, I talked Cec out of relocating it with the bottom of his shoe, wrapped it in a piece of Kleenex and deposited it in some tall weeds at the edge of the woods. As I left the area it was clinging to a leaf.

About five hours later the dogs and I walked past the weeds where I'd left the spider. There, spread among the greenery, was a huge cobweb, and my friend busily putting the finishing touches on its abode. Several things ran through my head. The first was that it hadn't wasted any time. It couldn't have. The amount of work that had gotten done in those few hours by this creature in proportion to its size was mind boggling. The second thought was that it didn't look any the worse for wear for having been ripped from its home, transported to another part of the planet, and rudely dumped in the weeds. Its God given instinct was sustaining it and survival was apparent. There had been no time taken for "Woe is me."

What a bunch of whiners we are! The wandering Israelites spent all their free time bellyaching to Moses. Every time things started going well they went back to their idol worship. Jesus preached about our hangups with worldly things. Even when He was gathering his disciples some of them wanted to stay behind and continue fishing. Or collecting taxes. Or whatever they happened to be doing. So much time is spent on the "yeah, but I gotta do this." Whatever "this" happens to be can be yanked out from under us at any moment. Remember Katrina.

Back to my spider. The night she (I think of her as a she, because it's the female who builds the web and catches lunch and kills her husband—another issue for another time.) was swept away from her home in the woods, she managed to pull herself to safety beneath the door handle. By the time I disrupted her again she had gotten a good start on building her nest in that confined space between the pull-up handle and the door of the Explorer. She made do. Then I came along and destroyed it all again. Bummer!

This morning, less than eighteen hours after being transported from car to woods, her web is a good two feet, stretching from low hanging branches of an oak tree to the tops of some unidentifiable weeds, which happen to have produced pretty yellow flowers this year. She is perched in the center, awaiting either lunch or unsuspecting husband. No time for poor-me or I've-lost-my-home or how-can-I-cope-in-this-new-place. Life goes on and, on this particular day, life is good. She is one of God's creatures, doing what God's creatures do, until the intellect and the "ME" enter the equation. I don't believe that, save for a very close walk with God, clinging to the Rod of Iron, and the certain knowledge that something better waits for me—for us all—I could do half of what that spider does—routinely

My prayer is that I can use the gifts which God has bestowed, to make do with what is before me, trusting Him for not only the little things but for the major catastrophes as well. Can I do this with a minimum of whining and complaining? God help me, I don't know.

In His Love


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