Inspiration came to me in the strangest of ways. At the time I had no idea something incredibly insignificant would trigger such a response in me. It was a Friday (the best day of the work-week) and I had a scheduled meeting and needed to arrive early. It was one of those mornings where I was rushing. My mind was racing with what I needed to say during my meeting and the long and ever-rotating To-Do List (2 items get done and 3 more are added on). As I bailed up stairs with three bags balancing between my fingers and shoulders, I noticed this bug. Now, it’s not at all uncommon to see bugs in my building, but I had never seen this type of bug before. It was about an inch long and stood almost as tall from the ground. It had a hard shell and antennae. Nonetheless, I wasn’t about to kill it or classify it – I didn’t have time for that! The poor thing was moving very slow and appeared to be lost. I remember thinking, “Oh boy this little lost bug is going to be trampled in 45 minutes time when the herd of people arrive. Good bye little bug!” and off I went to prepare for my meeting.
The day went on. It was busy and full of ups and, let’s say, ‘stresses!’ At around 2pm I was walking through the herd of people and noticed ‘the bug’ again. I couldn’t believe it was alive. It made its course all the way to the end of the hallway and somehow never got trampled. Its head was facing the wall and it looked like it was desperately trying to find its way home (wherever ‘home’ was?). The way the bug was positioned it appeared as if it was trying to ignore the herd of people and go unnoticed, waiting for just the right moment to turn around and find an escape out of the chaos. Poor thing!
Why did I take notice of a bug that day? First, rarely does a bug go unnoticed. We tend to have the same innate, jerk-response to all bugs: AHHH! Kill it! On this occasion there was no jerk-response, and frankly I have no idea why that little ugly-looking hard-shelled bug grabbed my attention. I know God sometimes speaks in weird and fantastic ways and can use the oddest things to speak to us. For some strange reason I had compassion on this little bug. It was lost and really lacked the ability to scurry like those gross centipedes do to find a quick escape. The poor thing had only travelled 100 feet in about 5 hours. Looking at the bug face-first against the wall I couldn’t help but relate to it: trying to go unnoticed and feeling very vulnerable in a herd of potential bug-crushers.
Is it weird for God to draw my attention to one of His tiny (and somewhat less-preferred) creatures? No, not at all! Jesus told His disciples to look at the birds as they are a reminder that we are valuable and God takes care of us; and to look at the flowers as they are a reminder to not worry about our appearance (Matthew 6:26-28). If Jesus directs His disciples’ attention to birds and flowers, then I’m sure that poor little bug became my object lesson for the day.
But why did I need to notice that little helpless bug? Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear” (Mark 4:9). When we open ourselves up to hearing God speak to us, He will speak. God speaks to us all the time. Sometimes it’s a small quiet voice, so we have to allow ourselves to see the things that go unnoticed. He may use the bright colours of our screens and the flashy messages in media, but sometimes it’s the tiniest things that speak the loudest.
Second, (I know this may sound odd) empathizing with that bug made me reflect on parts of my life – feeling of trapped, looking for my home, trying to get somewhere but unable to, all the while not wanting to get trampled by others.
One little insignificant bug caught my attention in the midst of a very busy Friday and held a mirror up to my face making me realize that I too feel trapped, wandering and unable to find home and simply wanting to be ignored by the ‘bug crushers.’ An epiphany, nothing more! It came with no answers, just a straightforward identification of underlying emotions – a first step to the process. Caution: life is full of many unnecessary attention-grabbers and awfully slim on soul-searching reflection. So look a little closer!
Sometimes God wants us to see beauty, other times he wants us to empathize, and He occasionally wants us to address our current situations and emotions by allowing us to see ourselves in something insignificant like a poor little bug.