Okay, it’s no big secret that I hate spiders. Hate them. I hate the way they move, hate all those legs and eyeballs, hate the fangs. Really, spiders creep me out on so many levels.
Even the Horrible Bits
But. This morning was the first sunny morning in two weeks. I took my morning diet Mountain Dew out onto the back deck to read Psalms and enjoy the sunlight. Today’s psalm was 33, and verse five says, and I quote: “The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.”
Okay, that’s easy to believe on a sunny morning when the only sounds are birds and a distant lawnmower. Then I looked up and saw the spider. It was one of our local jumping spiders, phidippus audax, hairy and horrible, walking around the umbrella over my head.
I hate jumping spiders, and our deck is infested with them. The problem is, well, they jump. They don’t build webs, which one can see and avoid; they hunt by stalking stuff, and they are very, very good at it. If you startle one, there’s a 50-50 chance it will jump AT you, rather than away from you, and while they’re less than an inch long, I don’t care. They’re still spiders, they’ve still got me four-to-one on legs and eyeballs, and the surprise factor doesn’t make them more lovable, either.
So here I am trying to be all spiritual and commune with God out in nature, and nature insists on being covered in legs, hair, and fangs. It occurred to me, as I watched the spider scuttle around the canopy looking for breakfast, that perhaps the problem is not with the spider, but with me. Perhaps God looks at phidippus audax and smiles. Perhaps God’s unfailing love doesn’t just apply to me, but applies, as the psalmist goes on in Psalm 33 to suggest, to God’s creation.
If this were possibly anybody else’s blog, it would end with some nonsense about tolerance and unexpected beauty and all that stuff. I, on the other hand, was looking for God’s Flamethrower when the spider nabbed a fly and went off to be alone with it. Just as well; it’s a new umbrella.
What did I learn from this morning’s encounter? There’s a lot I don’t know about spiders, myself, and God. I don’t know how the world works, or where the fangs fit in. On the whole, I believe it is better to find the sacred in the mundane than it is to find the mundane in the sacred. Provided it doesn’t jump at me unexpectedly.