Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: birthday (05/23/05)
TITLE: What I learned From a Fly
By Margaret Woolington
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It was early Saturday morning and everyone was sleeping after my husband’s Birthday party the evening before. I took my mug of hot coffee out to the porch and settled down in my favorite chair to enjoy the cool, spring air of a Seattle morning. All I wanted was some quiet time after a very hectic week, but just as I was about to take a sip of my special blend coffee, a fly perched on the edge of my cup.
I shooed him away but soon he was back, this fellow was determined to take the catbird seat on the edge of my mug. I waved him away again and again but he came right back, jumping around the rim of my mug with a “catch me if you can,”attitude. After about fifteen minutes I was getting annoyed and irritable.
“Go away,“ I commanded.
When I sipped my coffee again, he made a leap to the tip of my nose.
In vain I swatted at him but he kept buzzing around my head. That is the last straw I decided and went in to get the fly swatter. I came back out and waved my lethal weapon around the porch, covering the coffee mug with my free hand so the pesky fly wouldn’t fall in when I smacked him. The fly then perched on my hand, I thought now I got you and I gave myself a good hard slap with the fly swatter.
Well, the coffee mug jumped out of my hand, throwing coffee all over the porch as the cup bounced down the stairs and broke on the flagstone patio below. It had been my favorite coffee mug. The one that said, “This is the day the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad.”
It was then I saw the fly on the porch railing washing my special blend coffee off his face. Aha! I thought, now comes my revenge for spoiling my perfect morning. I raised my fly swatter but as I wartched him, so unaware of what was about to happen to him, I couldn't do it.
I had killed flies before and never thought about it. What was different this time? True, he had irritated me into this moment and he had utterly destroyed my blissful morning but I could no longer take my revenge. I lowered the fly swatter and leaned against the railing watching as he finished his bath and flew off. When I looked around at the mess on my porch, I began to review my past week.
I had rushed home from my job every night to frantically clean house and plan the Friday night birthday party for my husband. I hadn’t taken time for my morning devotions with the Lord all week because I was too busy. By the day of the party I was jumping from chore to chore at a frantic pace, complaining about everything. I sent my children to school in a frenzy over lost socks, and insisted that my husband go to the store for more pasta before work. By party time last night it was a wonder any of us were smiling. Slowly I began to perceive a parallel between my week and my pesky little fly. Lately, I had been a pest myself. I made shouting demands, annoying those around me. I’m sure I challenged your patience daily, Lord with my shifting priorities, yet you are the God of second chances when I miss the mark. In your wisdom you sent a pesky fly to speak your heart lesson to me.
So now, in spite of coffee all over my porch I notice that the morning air is still cool and fresh. The birds are singing, they know how to start the day with praise to their creator. I hear my family stirring in the kitchen and I want to rush in so they won’t make a mess in my neat kitchen but just as I reach for the door, a fly lands on my hand. I can’t help but smile at your little reminder, Lord.
No, I decide, if my family makes a mess, I’ll clean it up later. Right now I need to pick up the pieces of my own mess at the bottom of the stairs.
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