I found a cricket this morning, dead on my living room floor. I was having my morning coffee, walking my daily route around the living room, dining room, kitchen, trying to wake up, talking to God. It was in the shadows so I couldn’t make it out at first, just a dark spot on the carpet. I thought it was a spider, so I flipped on the lights to get a better look. The splayed, long jointed legs gave its identity away immediately. It was just laying there, still, upside-down, immobile. Between thoughts of how it got there and its odd drained-looking color, I walked to the kitchen to get a paper towel to dispose of its body. Just to be sure, when I got back I flipped it upright. Suddenly the legs started moving. It didn’t jump away quickly like I thought it would; it was sluggish as though waking from a stupor. “Sorry, lil’ buddy, but I can’t have you creeping around my house,” I apologized to it as I crushed it in the paper towel and disposed of the mess in the trash. (Given another moment or two, I might have carried it out to the patio and freed it, but I wasn’t quite awake yet and grabbed it up too tightly.)
But there was something evocative about the image of that cricket laying there that stirred my thoughts. Usually these little creatures are full of life, hopping around, chirping at the night sky. But inside my house on its back, it was not only defenseless, it was useless. I imagined it probably had become exhausted trying to right itself, and just gave in to its fate. In surrender, it was vulnerable and ineffective. And the parallel of how we live our lives worked its way to the surface of my mind. That’s just like us when we’re out of our element, when we get distracted, flipped upside-down from our purpose and mission. We become sluggish and immobilized, paralyzed and useless. And easy to squash.
The scene emphasized to me the importance of finding our purpose, finding our place and function — the things God created us to be and to do. And that we should be doing those things, not straying into areas we weren’t designed for, outside our natural element. Otherwise we end up like this poor cricket, exhausted, stuck in an awkward position — and ultimately crushed and thrown out with the trash.
——– Lord, open our eyes to see how all the gifts and talents and desires you’ve given us fit together into the great puzzle of the life you’ve designed for us. And give us the strength and courage to live that life boldy.