Look at the variety of creatures on earth. That demonstrates the wonderful imagination of their creator.
– Hildegard of Bingen.
Just look at the baboon’s butt and the spindly-legged spider and the iridescent humming bird and the waterfall and the mosquito – the mosquito? Hmmm. Why would that buzz through my mind? What wonder is there in the mosquito?
In parts of creation, I can almost hear mischievous laughter or thunderous majesty or an amazingly peaceful complexity . . . but how about annoyance? Buzz, bite, slap . . . what does the mosquito reveal? Can a mosquito really be from your hand?
Yet, here it is. . that buzzing annoyance, reminding me that my pretty pictures don’t always fit. My inspiring meditation is distracted by the buzzing past my ear. I can’t swat it away. It moves on and then returns, mocking me, mocking my deep thoughts and holy silence . . . reducing me to impotence against a tiny pest. It lights and I swat it and I rescue myself from annoyance by its death.
This is too messy for my theology. It disturbs my grand schemes and holy constructions of truth. But reality is also persistent like that – buzzing me, pestering me, making me uncomfortable and revealing my misalignment with the full truth of creation.
It is the pretty parts of life that I find spiritual, not the forest fires, or traffic accidents, or diseases … or mosquitoes. Yet, those things are also a part of life. I can hide my eyes, close my ears, shut my mind from that scene and that will not make them go away. Instead, I just close off – or try to close off – a part of what is here.
Oh Lord, what do you do with traffic accidents? What do you do with mosquitoes? What do you do with my failures? What do you do with sin? (Which is not to presume, of course, that mosquitoes are sin . . .)
Auugh! Another mosquito-thought. Another pestering buzz. Where is the peaceful meadow of my imagination? There are no mosquitoes there (I hope)!
I sit beneath the oak in that meadow … and wave away a fly. You sit beside me and chuckle. I am annoyed but you see my annoyance as part of the process and not a distraction. Once more you are chuckling me on. To where?
To where I will show you . . . but beyond where you have been comfortable . . . can’t sit here forever . . . the buzzing won’t let you.
You smile. I swat at the fly and grimace . . . but my grimace turns into a bit of a grin. I get up with you, and walk down the hill toward the woods. The movement keeps the fly away and, once up, the movement itself feels good. I had not realized how stiff I had become. Or how much I needed to move on.
You are humming. The melody is infectious. I hum, too.
It’s better than the buzz. Much better.
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[photo by Sanofi Pasteur per cc 2.0}