Thursday, May 29, 2014


Little feet thump through the grass. The small jacket brushes with the weeds, gathering raindrops. A little voice chatters on. And then, there is silence, as little fingers reach out in wonder to touch.

What so captivates a child that those tiny fingers are compelled to reach out from itself and touch?

It is a flower.
A leaf.
A cat.
A friendly hand.

It could be anything.

But it doesn't always stay like that. Those little fingers reach for bad things sometimes. And, as the child grows up, they begin to learn that some things will hurt if they touch them. Hot things, sharp things, biting things. Things that bring tears.

And so we cease to touch for fear of pain.

My own hands have touched a great deal of painful things. For years, the child locked inside had ceased to reach forward, for fear of the pain. I've reached forward and trembled as I've done so, fearing.

But this I have learned.

Whenever I stretch out my hands to touch something or someone else in pain, I am never sorry.
When I take hold of a promise, I never regret it.
And, when I reach out to touch things merely in wonder, like a little child, I find a beauty in life unbegotten in any other way.

You never know what a simple touch can do.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Never give up

Sabbath afternoon, I sat curled up on our king-size reclining chair near the big window in the living room. I had my quilt on top of me: the one my Grandma made me when I was 6 or 7: and I felt drowsy. In fact, I dozed for a little bit, whilst thinking of life and the Lord.

Aroused from listlessness, I happened to look up and out the window... and that's when I saw the spider web.

Okay, I take it back. I didn't see the web. The fine strands hung transparent in front of the glass (the inside of the glass, mind you). But I did see the little bug struggling in the effective snare.

He twisted and turned, tried to spread his wings. To no avail. The sticky threads of death had glued him to their silken embrace.

The misfortune of the little bug wasn't the only thing that caught my attention. The fat, ugly spider that had just appeared from within the window frame, silhouetted against the glass, also had a fair portion of it.

I don't like spiders. Never have, and I'm not sure why. So, some may call me biased, but there was something extra sinister about watching the little bug struggle, and the big spider motionless on the trap he had created, waiting for who knows what.

After a few painful moments, the spider inched forward, a few jerky steps at a time. Closing in on the victim. Was the little beetle aware he was being preyed on? Was his heart (do beetles have hearts?) racing with the pulse of fear, the adrenaline of the pursued?

Perhaps I identify a little too much with beetles. Oh well.

Now the spider hung right beneath the little bug. And it lunged.

I watched with some amount of sorrow, the spider sit and enjoy its feast. Appearing to take deep drafts of a sickly liquid, it grasped the little beetle in two "hands" for a time, and then left it and crawled away. The little beetle, once full of life, hung suspended in the web that had been its undoing. I looked away.

Don't ask me why I happened to glance back at the window a few minutes later. I had to squint when I did. With these glasses on my face, sometimes my eyes play tricks on me: and I was certain that was the case now, because it looked for all the world like that little beetle was moving. I looked away again.

Another few minutes, another glance at the window... And there struggled the beetle again, legs contending with the sticky mass of web, trying to free itself. How is this possible? "What do you think you're doing?" I asked the little survivor. "You're supposed to be dead!"

He struggled and struggled... and then came the spider again. The same, agonizing advance; the same attack; the same scene all over again. The assailant left the little victim suspended on the threads again, motionless.

And, to my utter amazement, the little bug once again moved, struggled, yearned to be free. He kept fighting.

In a simple story of hunger, of the struggle for life, I see so much. Most tellingly, myself.

How often am I trapped?
Sucked dry, or so it seems?
Left for dead?

It happens over and over and I cry. I want the ordeal over. I want to be free.

But I get tired. The battle goes on. The struggle increases with the passing of time. And I weaken.

Is it even possible to continue to fight?

If a tiny little beetle can.

So can I.

And so can you.

(Sympathy aroused, I got a spoon and rescued the little beetle from the web. He went to live happily ever after in the great out of doors. Think of an object lesson for that, if you can....)