Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ants, badgers, locusts, and lizards

I’ve been a little confused about something lately. I guess confused is not really the right word. Unsettled or maybe just uninformed. It’s not really a major life issue, but it’s been nagging me a little. Well, OK, a lot. I needed wisdom in making a decision about something where the choices weren’t really clear.

I went to the scriptures. I didn’t really know where to start because it’s not like any of the biblical characters I knew had ever faced the specific problem that has been bugging me. So, I started by looking up references for “wisdom.” Do you know what God calls the wisest of the wise?

Ants, badgers, locusts, and lizards. Eeeeeeuuuuuuu. Just eeeuuu. Nothing warm and cuddly about that, is there? And, yet, in Proverbs 30 they’re named the wisest of the wise.

In the landscaping just outside my office there are huge mounds of ants. Mostly likely they’re fire ants. My husband calls me a home wrecker because I like to lightly press my footprint in the dirt mounds and then watch the little creatures as they immediately scurry to protect and rebuild. I absolutely hate, however, to get bitten by one. It itches fiercely for about a week.

God says ants are wise because, even as frail as they are, they are able to store up enough food for the winter.

I haven’t really had any personal experience with badgers or marmots. The closest I’ve come is Punxsatawney Phil on Groundhog Day. He’s known for coming out from his cozy home and for heading back into it if it looks like winter is not yet over. Back in the early 90s there was a movie made about that whole event, also titled Groundhog Day. The theme of the movie was about being stuck in a rut until you learn that real change begins within.

God says badgers are wise because they build rock-solid homes even though they’re vulnerable animals.

We once drove through a swarm of locusts at night. Actually, they were cicadas. Cicadas are similar to locusts, kind of like flying grasshoppers. We were driving down a swampy road at night and the cicadas were everywhere. By the time we got home the windshield and front end of our car was covered in brown dusty bug guts. Covered. I mean, covered. In the next day’s daylight it was very apparent that we had been under attack.

God says locusts are wise because they can strip a field like an army regiment even though there is no leader in the swarm.

My cat, Marbles, loves to play with lizards. She loves how they run and wiggle. When she discovers one, she’ll chase it until runs into the little cracks under the columns on my front porch. I also have a bristly boot cleaner just outside the front door that the lizards like to weave themselves under. It makes Marbles crazy when the lizards get away from her like that. She’ll paw at the cracks - - she knows it's under there somewhere. She will sit and stare waiting for it to resurface.

God says lizards are wise because even though they’re easy to catch, they can sneak past vigilant palace guards.

I got so distracted by all the ants, badgers, locusts, and lizards that I forgot what my problem was in the first place. I suddenly became concerned about having enough food for the winter, securing a rock solid home, being able to work with everyone in the group to achieve a common purpose, and striving to avoid the people with spears and guns. If ants, badgers, locusts, and lizards can do it, I guess I can too. Whatever it is.

There are four small creatures, wisest of the wise... Proverbs 30

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