I have a general rule, and that general rule is this: If you want to be a bug, then be a bug. Outside.
And I will actually firmly state this rule, out loud, while squishing a spider in the bathroom with the empty toilet paper roll I just pulled out of the trashcan because it was handy to do so for the sole purpose of killing said spider.
Bugs are actually pretty neat. They are diligent and clever. They are interesting to watch, to see how they are made, to see how they move and work and weave into the world. And they do some spectacular things. In their element.
Inside, they're just icky. They are creepy. There's something completely unnatural about an indoor bug; I can't imagine it would be good for them, either.
They might get comfortable and become couch potato bugs. (See what I did there?)
So I try not to kill them in their natural element and indeed, while working my way through the rock pile a few weeks ago, I came across more spiders, worms, and millipedes than I care for a lifetime. But they were outside; they were as they were supposed to be. Thus, I scooted them gingerly, ickily away from my work area with the little garden claw, then transplanted them with the rockless dirt to the yarded area where they could go about their bug business.
Inside, though? Inside, they are fair game.
You can almost see the sadness in the bug who is trapped inside. Sure, the temperature is a little steadier, but there isn't the life supply they were built for. The spider builds a web that catches dog dander and dust mites, but he was made for flies and other insects. You can see it when he's climbing the wall next to the toilet and you spot him looking at you like "I don't get it. What are you doing?" Then the answer is, of course, "putting you out of your misery. *squish*"
Or the cricket that pops up and likes the nice wet residue of the shower but is missing the dark and the dirt he was created for. *squish*
Or the fly that has plenty to eat near the trash can but is missing the feast of decomposing life matter that he was created for, just on the other side of the screen. *squish*
I'm pretty sure they don't know the squish is coming. I'm fairly certain that in their adventures, they don't think indoors poses a threat of a squish. They have no consciousness of it; it's not a "risk they are willing to take." It's just how it is. They get outside of their element, away from what they were created for, and being a bug turns from this marvelous, miraculous, intricate piece of a delicate ecosystem into an eek, ick, ook moment that ends tragically.
You've heard of waiting for the other shoe to drop? I'm pretty sure that's what a lot of us are doing. (*squish*) We're living outside of our element, afraid or unable to be as God created us to be, living something less than we were created for and missing the fullness of all God has to offer. Many of us are not consciously aware of the risk we're taking; it's just how it is.
We're just doing what we've found ourselves winding up doing. We took a little journey and weren't really sure where we were going or what we were doing, but somehow we ended up here, and we're doing what we can, as best we can, to make something happen from it. It's just not working out for us.
So instead of being part of this marvelous, miraculous, intricate tapestry that God is weaving in His world, in our hearts, in our communities, in our lives...we're just kind of caught in the ick. We're caught in this place where people look at us and don't see something wonderful, something purposed, something playing its part in this living...they just look at us like an accident on the highway, with a pained expression wanting simultaneously to turn away but also gawk a little longer. Eek. Ick.
More often than not, this ends tragically. It's all a waste. The world scrapes us off the bottom of its shoe, another pest that fell short of thriving and settled for less only to be crushed by the other shoe dropping. All a consequence of living outside of its element.
Life doesn't have to be a tragedy. Even if you don't know what your element is, you can recognize when you're not in it. Though many of us are not aware of the risk we're taking living as we are, there are many also who are achingly aware of how much less this life is. There are many clinging to the screen, seeing another world out there and knowing they belong there but unsure how to open the door.
That's why God says to knock. He's not just waiting to let you in; He's waiting to let you out.
Which brings me back to my general rule, lest you think I must be heartless: If you want to be a bug, be a bug. Outside. But if you're clinging to the window trying to find your way back out, I'm likely just to open that door for you and let you fly free.
Because I recognize, and I know: There's no better place for you to be (even to be a bee) than in your element.