I swear my next assignment from the heavens must be as "Bug Whisperer." It seems so many lessons have been coming from bugs these days.
I did want to be an entomologist when I was little, so perhaps this is a bit of my own dream come true. I used to save bugs from our swimming pool, nurse them back to health, and release them. And, when I was older, I told a huge nest of black widow spiders to please leave my yard and go to the field across the street, or I would kill them. And, they left (webs and all) within 30 minutes.
Today, ever since the street was dug up in front of my apartment building to fix the sewer, and construction started on the lot next door, my neighbors and I have had some major cockroach issues. We spot more than a few here and there in our garages and apartments on almost a daily basis. Thankfully, it's getting to be less and less each day. Sadly, there must be residual poison that the landlady had sprayed, because the cockroaches are usually in process of dying when we find them.
This morning as I was waiting for my coffee to brew, I went into the bathroom, turned on the light, and sure enough there was another dying cockroach. I’ve been using my Critter Catcher to take them outside every day (it works, and no, I don't get paid for my endorsement), but my neighbor said that wasn’t a good idea since they’ve been exposed to poison and could hurt other creatures who might eat them.
I looked down at the cockroach, which was on its back, and it rolled over and tried to walk. The next thing that happened absolutely shocked me. It lifted its head and looked back over its shoulder at me. I kid you not. I felt so sad for it. “I’m so sorry, buddy. There’s nothing I can do for you. You’ve been poisoned. I’ll let you stay inside until you pass.” I seriously wanted to pick it up and comfort it. I thought about how people would respond to me if I told this story:
Aw, c’mon Summer. You gotta be kidding. It’s just a cockroach.
And, that’s when I realized, it’s not just a cockroach. It has a life, a purpose. In fact, it has a pretty massive job, cleaning up the garbage that we dispose of, and tilling the soil for the plants to grow.
It’s not just a cockroach, anymore that you are just a person. As I have gotten more and more sensitized to life, nothing is "just a [fill in the blank]." The cashier didn't give me just an extra quarter in change by accident. It might be 25 cents, but the significance of the moment is invaluable. Do I keep it, or take the time to return it? I always take the time to return it.
The cockroach looked at me again, imploringly. (Frankly, until that moment, I didn't even realize that cockroaches have eyes.) I could feel that it wanted to be in water. Then I heard, "Please, flush me down the toilet." I hesitated, but knew that cockroaches can swim and survive long distances in water. So, I finally said, "Okay." It stopped struggling and collapsed in relief. I got my Critter Catcher and gently placed it into the toilet where it started to swim. I flushed the toilet, and suddenly realized it was going home to the sewer where it came from. I felt the water was cleansing its body of the poison. It still had a chance to live, and it had value and purpose.
After all, it was not just a cockroach.