Snow, ladybugs, and Lifesavers

Snowy day

This is what my yard looked like when I left for work this morning. I wanted to get a picture of the redbuds covered in snow, because they were really beautiful, but I was in a hurry to get to work and didn’t have time to stop and shoot anything. It was so warm that none of the snow stuck to the streets, and by mid-morning, all the snow had melted. If you slept in, you missed it, but if you were out and about this morning in Tulsa, you were witness to some moments of striking beauty.

Speaking of moments of striking beauty, I have to share a cute story with you about how a friend of mine restored my faith in humanity without even realizing it last night.

In the middle of one of the hymns at church last night, my friend Brad went dashing up to a pew a couple of rows in front of him, swept something off the back of the pew and into his hand, and took off with it, much to the amusement of the people around him.

I couldn’t tell exactly what he was up to, but when I asked him about it after church, he explained that he’d seen a stray ladybug crawling along the pew and was afraid it wouldn’t find anything to eat inside, so he rescued it and went running out into the cold to put it in a flowerpot.

His simple gesture of kindness was so beautiful that it almost made me cry. I’ve been sort of fussing over the sorry state of affairs in the world lately — every day, we’re surrounded by images of wars, violence, hatred and injustice of all kinds — and wondering if humanity will ever manage to get over its hangups long enough to figure out that its only purpose for existence is to express love and beauty.

I decided that if there are people out there who will stop what they are doing and go running out into a cold night to protect a wayward ladybug, then yes, there is hope that we’ll get it together one of these days.

As I was standing in front of the mirror with another mouthful of wintergreen Lifesavers this evening (yeah, I know — I am waaaay too fascinated with this phenomenon), I had to laugh at myself. “You dork,” I thought. “You’re 30 years old, and you’re standing here amazed at a junior-high party trick you’ve probably done a thousand times in the past without realizing it. You just didn’t know those tiny flashes of light were there, because you weren’t looking for them, you didn’t believe in them, and you weren’t standing where you could see them.”

It struck me that Brad’s effort to rescue the ladybug last night in church was the metaphysical equivalent of a spark in the dark: a fleeting expression of love that probably happens more often than we realize, goes unseen by most of the world, and doesn’t appear, at first glance, to be terribly significant … but if you’re standing in the right place and watching for it, it will appear for you, a pretty little flash of light in a world that can sometimes seem dark.

May we all learn to see — and to make — sparks in the dark.