The Delightful En-Lightening Bug

Earlier this evening, was very warm and muggy as I took my dog out for our twilight stroll.  The dog does not much care to walk when it is hot and humid, and he was going at a very slow pace, sticking his nose into a spot and enjoying the smell.  (And I will say that the dog and I have a basic disagreement about these walks a lot of which is centered in the weather – rain, snow, heat, cold.  For me these are pure “business” trips – I want him to do his business, so I can get out of the inclement weather.  He though is completely a tourist, and meanders all over the place, always taking time to smell the roses, and sightseeing to his heart’s content). 

As the walk was getting slower and the humidity thicker, my mind was slowing down as well.  Somewhere in the corner of my vision a tiny light flashed without registering in my mind.

“I just saw a lightening bug!”  Squealed a 6 year old neighbor with sheer joy.  “MOM!  I just saw the first lightening bug of the summer.”  She was triumphant and ecstatic.

And her sheer joy awakened my dulling consciousness as her words took shape in my brain and I realized I had seen the same lightening bug as she.  Our eyes had caught the same tiny flash, but it had registered in her mind instantly.  I only became aware as she trumpeted proof that summer is here and my brain connected the dots between the disappeared flash and her gleeful pronouncement.

 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it”   (Mark 10:15).  

Childlike – gleeful, awed, appreciative, wonderment, joy, wanting to share the good news, watchful, expectant, enjoying mystery, thankful, allowing the flash of a firefly to fill her vision and heart as if it were the greatest flash of lightening in a summer thunderstorm

I really don’t have any idea what role the lightening bug plays in the ecosystem or in the food chain.  But it is one of the few bugs that can cause delight (excuse the pun).   Truth be told it is a beetle, and most people, including most kids that I know won’t touch beetles and are not at all pleased to find a beetle in the house, especially not in one’s bedroom, or on one’s bed.  Yuck! 

The lightening bug, gets a break though because of its bioluminescence.  It is one of those oddities of nature – an evolutionary turn which God brought about purely for the delight of it all.   Delight is a real experience that we have – best felt by kids, but enjoyed by all.  And the lightening bug exists also to give us delight, which is a somewhat anti-evolutionary statement, for it suggests this particular bug does exist for us and our pleasure.  It’s that rare beetle that kids actually hope to see more of, and they are willing to collect.

A child really can experience the wonder of the universe, and receives it with the greatest of joy, and announces it as a momentous discovery, the greatest news of all.  Joy. Beauty. Firefly.  Creator.  Kingdom of God.  All experienced in the tiniest flash of light which lasts for a second but opens us to eternity.

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