Kernels of Wisdom: The little lady who taught me a huge lesson
Perseverance is the secret of all triumphs
- VICTOR HUGO -
I was driving out the parking lot of the local shopping mall recently when I noticed her, there she was on the passenger side of the front window, a tiny miniscule ladybird. I wanted to say what the 18th century poet recited in the oft-quoted nursery rhyme, “Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home,” for I was about to head down the Petawawa Boulevard, but the six-legged, red, black-dotted insect looked as if she wanted to come along for the ride, or else, have a love affair with a Honda!
So there we were clipping down the boulevard at 70 kilometres, and there she was, clinging on, all one-third of an inch of her. I say ‘she’ but she might have been a he, for in the world of beetles even the male gender get labelled ‘ladybugs’. Well anyway, there we were, her and I, and a Honda. Being a bit of an amateur entomologist, (those who study the behaviour of insects) I thought I would try and test this tiny creature’s power of endurance, so I decided just for the fun of it to drive up to Highway 17 Highway and take the circular route home. When I hit the highway I stepped on the gas, 70, 80, 100, 110 kilometres per hour, then I cranked it up to 160 kph. No I’m just kidding! Being the good law-abiding citizen that I am I kept within the speed limit. But there she was, in the face of a 110 kilometre wind still hanging on, imagine, to the surface of a window of all things! All I could see from the driving seat was her undercarriage, but what I couldn’t see was her almost invisible six micro legs, believe you me, this little lady truly amazed me.
Now I don’t know about you but there are moments in life when some of the most profound lessons I need to learn are being taught to me by God, and deep within I knew instinctively that this was surely one of them. In my spirit I could hear God saying to me, “Eric, you will face times of great adversity in your life, be assured of that. Do you see this little bug? I have uniquely designed her for moments like this.” Sure enough, God gave her a six-pack, half a dozen spider-like legs, and at the bottom of each leg, a tiny little suction cup, like a micro-mini bathroom plunger! That’s what gives her this unique ability to hold on. I could hear that tiny voice in my spirit speaking once more, “You can hold on too Eric when adversity strikes if you’ll stick close to me.”
I then noticed something very interesting about my little friend. She had moved her tiny frame and had re-positioned herself by turning her face towards the wind! It was such a tiny imperceptible move that one could easily have missed, she stuck her head into the wind with steely resolve. The move reminded me of the iconic '60s hit by Gerry and the Pacemakers, When You Walk Through A Storm Hold Your Head Up High. Again I heard that still small voice within, “Eric don’t run away from the trials and challenges of life, confront them with perseverance, in my strength.” There are always the options aren’t there? You can face the challenges life throws at you, or you can flee from them, it’s fight or flight as they say! God was saying, “Don’t back down, fight them!”
I also had noticed that when my little friend turned her face into the wind, simultaneously she tucked in those thin gossamer-like wings. Wow! What a lesson I was about to learn. If she had kept those tiny wings spread out that 110-kilometre wind would have blown her ‘Spplaat’ right onto the radiator of that oncoming tractor-trailer speeding down the highway. I could hear God saying to me, “In those days when the winds of adversity are blowing, minimize your vulnerabilities, tuck in your wings.” “What do you mean?” I quietly responded in my spirit. “Get rid of anything and everything in your life that will cause you to fall. There are things in many peoples's lives that will not stand the winds of adversity that are about to come.”
As we headed further down the highway I was absolutely amazed at my little friend’s ability to hang on. In 1999, Space Commander and NASA astronaut Eileen Collins, took four ladybirds with her to the moon to test how they would respond to a zero gravity situation, well here on planet earth, Renfrew County to be exact, my little friend on the other side of the window was literally defying gravity by sticking to a window in the face of a 110-kilometre wind. Not bad, eh? I drove off the highway and headed home and as I turned into my driveway and brought the car to a standstill, I glanced across to the passenger window. There she was, just beginning to open up her wings. The last few minutes on the highway must have been the ride of her life. For her maiden voyage she passed with considerably more than flying colours. Her wings now open, she sat there for one brief second, then she took off, and was gone.
It was the ride of a lifetime for her, the lesson of a lifetime for me. As I got out the car I heard that inner voice once again signing off with a timely postscript, “Eric, remember this, just like that ladybird, I have uniquely designed you for adversity, when the winds blow, and they will, stick close to me, turn your face to the wind, tuck in your wings, and together…we’ll ride out the storm!