The Bug that Wouldn't Die
My seventh grade life science teacher, Mr. Edwards, announced that we had to do a bug collection for a major part of our fourth quarter grade. After class, I walked up to him and said, “I’m not doing a bug collection.”
He said, “Yes, you are. Because if you don’t, you’re going to fail my class.”
I wasn’t so rude as to argue with the man, but I knew that the threat of an “F” wasn’t enough to motivate me to deal with some bugs.
One day, Mr. Edwards took the class to the woods near the school for a bug catching excursion. My classmates brought their butterfly nets, jars and other bug catching paraphernalia. I arrived empty-handed because I was not doing a bug collection.
Mr. Edwards pulled me to the side and somehow talked to me about "at least trying to collect one bug".
I finally agreed. However, I did not realize that every creepy, crawly thing and all buzzing, flying vermin would take that opportunity to introduce themselves to me.
At any rate, I ended up in tears, and I never did that bug collection. (I didn’t fail the class, either. I’m guessing Mr. Edwards felt bad because I ended up crying after he talked me into trying to catch a stupid bug.)
Fast forward twenty (or so) years, and I still don’t like bugs. In fact, I’m still afraid of them. If I so much as think a bug is crawling on me, I’m swatting away. I nearly lost control of my car a while back because a bug flew in, buzzed around my head, and wouldn’t leave me alone.
One summer day a few years ago, I went to visit my friend, Nia, at her office. While we chatted, her phone rang. As soon as she picked up the receiver, I noticed a long, black bug slowly crawling across the carpet headed straight for me. I’m not sure where it came from or why it was so intent on getting over to me, but I couldn’t help but think back to the woods in seventh grade.
I calmly said, “Nia, there’s a bug in your office.”
She must have not heard me because she simply continued her conversation.
This time, I was a little more urgent. “Nia, there’s a bug, and it’s coming toward me.”
Now, I know that I was at least a hundred times larger than that thing, but I was still intimidated…nobody ever said that fear is rational.
I slowly got up and backed toward the corner. I didn’t want to make any sudden movements that would cause that thing to jump. I know it sounds completely unreasonably, but when you’re afraid of bugs, you’re afraid of bugs. And as I have already stated, fear is not rational.
“Hang on,” Nia said. She set the phone down and walked around to the front of her desk. “Oh, we get these all the time in the summer.”
I was impressed with her calmness. “What is it?” (I'd never seen anything like it. It looked like a cross between a beetle and a centipede. I know what you're thinking: if she'd had done that bug collection way back when, she wouldn't have had to ask.)
Nia shrugged. “Not exactly sure.” (Guess she didn't do a bug collection, either.) She got some tissue and used it to place her hand on the creature.
I was appalled and disgusted. “You’re touching it!”
Then she stepped on the thing and all we heard was, “CCRUNCHH!!”
“EWWWW!” we screamed in unison, and I followed up with, “You CRUNCHED it!”
After the deed was done, Nia returned to her chair and resumed her phone conversation.
Since I felt safe again, I headed back to my original spot, which was extremely closed to the deceased insect.
Next thing I know, the tissue flies off and bug starts heading for me again. (Not even kidding.)
At that point, both Nia and I screamed at the top of our lungs. The “dead” bug was dead no longer.
RELATING IT TO LIFE
That bug was on my mind for a couple of days after the incident. I didn’t have nightmares or anything like that, but I kept thinking about how it refused to die.
I hate having to admit this, but I actually started to admire the thing. I found myself wishing I could be a little more like that bug. In fact – at the risk of sounding offensive – I think all of us should pattern our lives after that bug.
Humans are amazing – no matter the age, social status, ethnic background or upbringing. They are full of hope, dreams, goals and ambitions. They get ideas in their heads and nothing can stop them…until someone comes along to kill their hopes, squash their dreams, destroy their goals and eradicate their ambitions. Even the strongest, most confident person begins to live in fear and doubt if that individual is assaulted by naysayers and others who are prone to point out the negative.
In a room full of 100 people, there’s a chance that a vast number of those folks aren’t living out their full potential. They aren’t being everything they imagined they could be or doing all that they set out to do. Why? Because someone else came along and killed their dream.
Maybe that dream killer thought they had their friend’s best interest at heart, but they were really operating out of fear. Just as fear led Nia to kill the bug on my behalf (or at least try to), fear causes others to kill the dreams in their loved ones’ lives.
That’s why people should be more like the bug. That bug simply refused to die. It was crunched and left for dead. There were no signs life and perfect harmony had been restored to me – or at least to Nia’s office. Maybe when we thought it was dead, the bug was catching a second wind and somehow healing itself.
The point I’m trying to make is this: no matter what assaults us and no matter who is trying to shatter our dreams, we should be like that bug and come back with a vengeance. We might need to take a little time to recuperate after being bruised a bit, but once we've gotten it all together again, we should be like that bug and refuse to let our dreams die.
Resources for following you dream:
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