I sat in silence in my living room, a cup of coffee in my hand and a cat on my lap, a typical morning. Pitch black outside; no lights on from the apartments across the street. I’m up early. No cars passing by yet. It’s Sunday.
A little movement. A tiny spider crawling on the window.
Should I smush it?
Not yet, no. How often do we impulsively ruin a moment? Silence. No Internet, no television, no music. Just the humming of the refrigerator. Remember that sound?
If I jumped up to kill the spider, the cat would leave and not come back. She’s warm on my lap, dozing. She doesn’t see the spider.
It crawls off the window, over the frame, onto the wall. Its shadow from the table lamp exaggerates its size. I lose the spider behind a chair near the wall. A minute later, it turns around and crawls on the wall under the window.
Just a little spider. It’s not hurting anything.
Eventually, it returns to the window. Does it want to get outside? It’s cold out there. It snowed a couple of days ago. The snow has since melted, but it’s still chilly. Too cold for a spider, I imagine.
What does the spider see in the blackness outside? Or is it focused only in the here and now, only on the window and the warmth inside where it crawls?
I nurse the cup of coffee and watch the spider for close to half an hour, the cat cozy on my bathrobe. The spider doesn’t go far. Just around the window.
Eventually, the cat leaves my lap. I find a tissue and smush the spider. I knew from the outset that the spider would not face a happy ending.
Why rush the scene, though?
I start every morning this way, seven days a week. A cat in my lap, a cup of coffee in one hand, a Bible in the other.
I see stories every so often that say the busier we are, the more quiet time we need to get through it. Many of us live at a breakneck pace, and feel like we are wasting our time if every moment is not planned out, if we aren’t doing something every minute.
A long-ago illness has proved a lifelong blessing for me in this regard. When I was 20, I got pneumonia. I lost 15 pounds in 10 days because even the sight of food made me nauseous. (I don’t recommend that as a diet plan, by the way.)
As a result, I get tired easily. Still do. I cannot work 12-hour days, go out in the evening, get four hours of sleep and repeat. Just can’t do that. I’ll get sick. Don’t have that stamina.
When God ordered us to take a Sabbath, He wasn’t kidding. A day of rest recharges us. All of us need down time, whether we’re susceptible to pneumonia or not.
Perhaps I need more down time than you do, but I’ll bet you’d benefit from a little chill time as well.
Spend some time with God. He likes that. You will too.
If more of us did that, I’ll bet fewer of us would run red lights and cut others off in traffic in a big hurry to get who knows where. Perhaps we’d actually show up to church on time. Perhaps we’d be friendlier to everyone – everyone – at work. Even that one person who’s hard to get along with.
We might smile more. We might not need so much coffee (or something stronger) to get us through the day.
Sunrises are beautiful. So are sunsets. When’s the last time you saw one or the other, and stopped to admire it – without taking a picture to post on Facebook? Can you admire beauty just for what it is?
Spiders are good to have around. They capture insects in their webs, often flies and other creatures we’d rather not have in or around our house. Why are we so quick to kill them?
I looked up “spiders” on Wikipedia, which I almost never quote in this blog. The very first line is this: Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom.
Even Wikipedia hates spiders. Fangs and venom? When you see an eensy weensy spider crawling across your living room window, do you see fangs and venom? Do spiders attack you? Kill you? Make you sick, even?
We do so much more damage to them than they do to us.
Spiders don’t make a sound. If you don’t see it, you won’t know it’s there, unless it has spun a web to catch those annoying buzzing insects flying around your house. What has a spider ever done to you?
I shared a few moments this morning with a spider, in addition to my cat. Two living things.
I did kill the spider, because that’s what humans do. We don’t like creepy crawly things taking over our abodes. But for a few minutes, we shared space.
And it was good.