It seems that every place I’ve lived has come with its own unique bug, critter or rodent type creature. Warm weather in Nashville meant the arrival of chiggers – nasty little critters who dug beneath your skin and set up residence. My friend Tommy and I used to count our chigger bites as though they were a status symbol of our outdoorsiness.
When I was a seminary student in Richmond, Virginia, I had to deal with roaches for the first time. (I realize that roaches are not unique to Richmond, but you have no idea how big these suckers were!) I saw quite a few live ones. In fact my broom and I put a large dent in a small utility cart I owned trying to send one back to its maker. The school maintenance guys sprayed but that only turned my little apartment into a cockroach hospice. They’d crawl under my door during the night, gasp their last breath and die, leaving their disgusting carcasses for me to find the next morning...too often with my bare feet.
In New York State, especially the further north you went into the Adirondacks, you had to watch out for the black flies. They had the potential to carry away small animals.
I never actually resided in Minnesota, but my parents did, and there you would either be attacked by mosquitos or deer flies, both species being unusually large in size. How many times did I try to go for a walk when I would visit my folks, only to turn back after being repeatedly swarmed by deer flies on kamikaze suicide missions?
Let’s not forget Iowa. As the farmland around us kicked into high growing gear, the flies and the Asian beetles would ramp up their activity as well. When they tired of the choice feeding around the farms, they would stop by my neighborhood for a visit. Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!
And Oklahoma? Well in the last week we’ve been infested by these large gnat-mosquito hybrids. Apparently they don’t bite or sting but they are everywhere. Quite frankly they are grossing me out! You open the door and they swarm. I shake out laundry and a few fly out. There are usually at least three hanging around the kitchen sink in the morning, like some insect water cooler. Again I say, yuck!
|Trust me, this is one creepy bug!|
I guess this is the inevitability of spring. The grass greens, buds pop, flowers bloom, allergies blossom and the bugs swarm. This is nature’s new life in all of its glory. It occurs to me that maybe there is a connection between this new life and the new life we talk about in the church.
Whenever I preach or teach on the resurrection and the new life that is ours in Christ, I tend to think of new life in idyllic terms. It will be perfection, utopia, without flaw or failing. But is that real? Haven’t I, in claiming my faith, experienced a little of that new life already? If so, then there are still bugs. And snakes. And rodents. All sorts of creepy crawly, slinking, slithering things that elicit involuntary screams from me when I encounter them.
If there was a literal Garden of Eden, or the garden was just what the world was like before humans came along and started exploiting creation, then I imagine it was full of all sorts of creatures. Genesis describes God creating them, every creature that crawls, flies, swims, buzzes, and swarms.
So it makes me wonder if we have the wrong idea of what new life is supposed to be. Is it supposed to be perfect, at least in our terms, or is it supposed to be abundant? If the answer is the latter, and I’m not claiming to know, then it seems to me bugs and gnats and creepy crawly things are part of that equation. Either way, spring has sprung in Oklahoma and elsewhere. New life is all around me. I wonder if I should make my peace with the mutant gnats or merely hope they don’t band together and fly away with the dog.
|Belinda seems unaware of a potential threat to her well-being|