Can Spiders Teach Us Something?

You’ve got to be kidding! A spider teach us something? No way! Patience, persistence, or the concept of a good work ethic are probably not the first words we think of when describing a spider. My apologies to all those with arachnophobia (fear of spiders).

I must admit that spiders are not my favorite bug. In fact, they are frequently quite annoying, particularly when they show up in unexpected places–like dangling from my rearview mirror on the way home from Mass. While I didn’t get into an accident (thank goodness), let’s just say that spider didn’t do that anymore!

I read an article, though, that described how spiders are very patient. It pointed out that whenever a spider’s web is destroyed, it patiently and persistently builds a new one. I thought about that for a bit and decided it certainly made a lot of sense. Now, if we are trying to get rid of spider webs, we don’t tend to appreciate their persistence very much!  But, spiders are patient, perhaps more patient than I would be if I had to constantly rebuild a web that someone was always trying to get rid of. Their webs do look pretty when the dew glistens on them in the sunshine, and I have to admit some of the intricate patterns are pretty fascinating to contemplate, unless of course I run right into one!

Another thing spiders can teach us is the value of a good work ethic. When they get their webs destroyed, they build again–out of necessity, of course–but without a good work ethic they starve. Laziness doesn’t build a web. The spiders have to believe for their next meal and hope that their web won’t get torn down, yet again. Like the spider, we also must have a good work ethic, believe for our next meal, and not be lazy. We must have hope that our dreams and aspirations won’t be shattered, again. A spider building a web is a lot like us sending a resume out on the worldwide web (pun intended) looking for a job. We put it out there and pray for a fruitful harvest, just as the spider builds his web and hopes for its next catch. Just as we must be persistent and patient if we are to get a job, so too a spider must be persistent and patient in their quest for a meal.

So, how does all this change our perception of patience? While having the patience of Job is all well and good, maybe we could all contemplate the patience of a spider. You see, God can use even bugs to teach us life’s lessons.

Copyright © 2017 by Theresa M. Williams

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Only A Shadow of Your Joy

I’m not really a major-league baseball fan. I like baseball; I just don’t watch it, not even the World Series. Last night, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series! (For those of you not aware, the World Series is to major league baseball what the Super Bowl is to professional football.) So what, you say. The Cubs haven’t won the championship since 1908, more than 100 years ago! Perhaps because I don’t have a favorite pro baseball team, along with the fact that I like to root for the underdog (at least sometimes), I can share a small portion of the Chicago Cubs’ joy at finally winning the World Series. To be a Cubs fan must be very special, right now especially. To be a fan through the ‘drought’ of those many years, now to rejoice in their victory, must be a high joy indeed. One fan, a woman, said she cried after it happened, no doubt tears of joy. You’ve heard of people being on ‘cloud 9’ or in ‘7th heaven,’ this must be ‘off the charts’ for the team and their loyal fans.

Imagine for a moment you’re God. The Cleveland Indians are ahead three games to one. You know the Cubs are going to come back and win it. What a special surprise is in store for Cubs fans. It reminds me of the words to a song: “The joy I have today my Lord is only a shadow of Your joy for me…’ Wow! I don’t know what else to say except I can be a real emotional softie at times. My heart rejoices with them. Congratulations Cubs team and fans. It’s been a long-time coming. Your faithfulness and patience have been rewarded. By the way, the words after the … are ‘if I but follow You.’ If we follow you Lord, our faithfulness (to you) will be rewarded too.

Copyright © 2016 by Theresa M. Williams

Patience?! What patience?!

Back in the day, I worked at a company with a gift shop on the bottom floor. I saw a poster that, at times, pretty much summed up my feelings about patience. It showed a gorilla with a stern look on its face with the caption: “Patience my (expletive). I’m going to kill something!” I had to chuckle. It was kind of embarrassing that I felt that way some days, but I was honest in acknowledging that impatience is an issue I’ve had for some time.

St. Paul talks about a thorn in the flesh. Impatience is my thorn. In 2 Corinthians 12:7, he states: ‘A thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated.’ For Lent, I have tried to work on my impatience, specifically with my fellow motorists. I am reminded of another word that describes the suffering that comes with impatience: Longsuffering is defined as ‘having or showing patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people.’ And don’t some people cause us to suffer? They can be a downright pain in the, well, you know.

We all have our thorn in the flesh, whether it’s impatience with things or other people, having to always be right about everything, judging others unjustly or (place your thorn here). Jesus was a pretty patient person. He only got angry a few times in the Bible, when it was justified (like driving out the moneychangers from the temple or calling the Pharisees on their attitudes).

As far as my Lenten practice (patience with my fellow motorists), I have my successful days and not so successful days. Sometimes, I even let the people in who think they always have to be first. You know, the ones who are in such a hurry all the time. They speed to the front of the line, even on the shoulder of the road, and then expect to be let in because they think they shouldn’t have to wait. “Hey buster! I was here first! Who do you think you are trying to speed ahead of everyone else?! Wait your stinking turn!” Now, I have a confession to make. During this time of Lenten ‘longsuffering,’ I think I understand why some of them go to the front of the line: Maybe because no one pays attention that they are trying to get in or simply won’t let them in. ”Hey buster, I want to get there just like you do! Let me in!” (Wow. It’s pretty interesting seeing both sides of that situation!) That said, it’s hard (sometimes) to know who is trying to just take advantage and who really is just frustrated about not being able to get in line like everyone else. Something to think about next time we are on the road. Have a safe day!

Copyright © 2016 by Theresa M. Williams