Do you ever sit in your car with the windows open? I do this sometimes when I want a break from work, or when I go to the park to write. Sitting in my car creates a pleasant little pocket of solitude. And it works out nicely.
Until the bugs arrive.
There I am, trying to have my peaceful alone time when all of a sudden, I’m molested by wildlife. I don’t mean the cute animals, like happy bouncing bunnies or bashful deer. No, I am accosted by the most annoying of creatures—the common fly.
What is it about flies anyway? I mean, what’s with the incessant buzzing? And the annoying way they hover around my face? And the…well, the flying? What’s up with that? Can’t they learn to relax? It’s like they need a yoga class, or a little practice in Zen meditation or something. I don’t know. That’s what I’d do, if I were a fly. I’d get a fly massage and chill out.
To be honest, I have no problems with flies when they bother someone else, but I have a big problem when they bother me, particularly when I’m trying to relax and read or write in my car. Mainly the problem is this: once the flies get in the car, they don’t get out.
I’m not talking roach motel, where the flies can’t get out. I’m not talking “Hotel California,” where they check in anytime they want, but they can never leave. I’m talking Dumb and Dumber. I’m talking Homer Simpson. The flies can get out, but they don’t, because they’re too stupid. D’oh.
Oh, sure, these insects have the potential to leave my car whenever they want to. They can fly through the window where they came in. The window that is still open. The window that they keep buzzing right up next to. They come very, very close to getting out.
But they can’t quite manage it. Whenever they near an escape route, something odd happens. They bounce against a part of the doorframe, which stops their forward motion. Instead of looking for another way to move forward, they return to where they came from…inside the car where they have been trapped. With me.
In other words, they can’t get out because they don’t keep going in the right direction.
We humans do that too. A lot. We try to make progress. But then we hit a bump, an obstacle, a wall that slaps us in the face and propels us backward. We think, “I guess I can’t go that way.” So we pull back to where we’ve been. Yet we can’t grow and move ahead in life if we insist on going back to where we used to be.
The Bible talks about the futility and danger of going backward instead of forward. Jesus said, A person who puts a hand to the plow but keeps looking back is ineffective for God’s kingdom. Why? Because when you plow, you prepare the soil for planting by making orderly rows for the seeds to grow. If you look backward while you plow, the rows wander. They cross over one another. They don’t actually become rows. They become a churned-up mess of soil where the seeds will not grow as easily, and you’ll have a harder time tending the plants that do grow. You get fewer plants and less fruit. That’s no way to prepare for the harvest you want down the road.
To have the best, you must keep moving forward. It does you no good to return to a place where you’ve been trapped, where your season is up, where there is no more life for you. Don’t be like the fly that hits an obstacle and moves backward, giving up. No wall goes on forever. Eventually, the bricks fade away and there is open sky and free air. You just have to keep hunting for the way forward until you find it.
And you will. The windows of your life are open, especially if you allow God to lead you. He’s not the kind of guy who gets stuck, and His kids don’t have to get stuck either. So, ask the Big Guy for a little help finding your way forward. He knows exactly how to get you around the wall. And He’ll tell you, if you really want to know.
If only the flies in my car could learn this lesson. I’d be willing to help them out. In fact, I’d be delighted. Anything to shoo them on their way and get them to stop buzzing all up in my eyelashes.
And if that’s how I feel about a mere fly, how much more does God, who loves you, want to help you, who are worth much more than a buzzing insect too stupid to figure out how to get out an open window? Trust me, He cares a whole lot. And He has no plans to swat you. So keep moving forward with His help.
Me, on the other hand… I guess I need to buy a flyswatter. Or keep my windows closed.
Copyright (c) 2011 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.