Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BUG (04/06/17)
- TITLE: Marching Lesson
By Dannie Hawley
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Still softly singing This Is the Day that the Lord Has Made, I opened the wooden door of our mud-brick home. The smoke from our neighbors’ breakfast fires joined the cool air as I stretched my leg through the opening. Stop! Back up!
I withdrew my leg, grateful my inner warning system overrode the chorus. Slamming the door, I rushed to the screen-covered hole we called a window. “Driver ants!” I shouted over my shoulder to my colleague on her way to the other door.
Thousands of moving black dots covered the ground. For some reason, they skirted the cement well platform, but the space between the door and well resembled a sea of undulating black. No way I’d be drawing water to fill kitchen basins anytime soon. “Please, God, keep them outside.”
Behind me, Anne answered the question I’d not voiced. “They’re all over the front yard, too.”
“How long’s it gonna take them to form the ranks and pass by?” The familiar process played like a video in my mind.
“Hard to say. There’s too many to differentiate the larger guard ants with their extended pincer arms from the rest.”
Several moments later, the formations took shape. Each line had slower marching guards flanking the fast-flowing black stream of tiny ants.
“If only they’d straighten out those crisscrossing lines,” Anne said. “We could straddle the parallel streams.” I shook my head, but she continued the options. “If the spaces widen, we might be able to tip-toe through without stepping on a column of ants.”
“Definitely not worth the risk,” I said, chewing my lower lip. “Remember Wilma?”
“Poor lady. Stepping out of the shower and onto a column of Driver ants.”
Shuttering, I recalled the story. Wilma failed to notice the Driver ants in the dimly-lit room--until she slipped and fell to the floor. The instant her foot hit the single column, the army broke ranks, completely covering her wet body.
Her husband raced to the screams. When the ordeal ended, the terrified Wilma had red spots all over her pale pink skin. Fortunately, Grant had been home, not on one of his frequent journeys to another village.
I started to laugh as my mind combined our present concern with another ant story.
My colleague frowned. “What’s so funny? We could be trapped here for hours.”
By now, tears ran down both cheeks. “Remember when we saw the ants carrying off a small piece of tortilla chip that fell from the table?”
“The small piece seemed to be levitating until I spotted the thin line of black underneath the edge of the chip. It took the ants hours to get the thing outside, but they stayed with it.”
“Now, I’m picturing us being carried off by that vast army of ants. Think they’d stay with the job so we could see where their headquarters is located?”
“Not me, funny lady. I’m asking their Creator to keep their rolling march outside.”
Throughout the morning and afternoon, we worked inside the building, frequently checking on the ants’ progress. I thought of the passage in Proverbs Chapter Six that said the ant has no commander, no overseer, or ruler, yet stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
I didn’t know if the gazillion tiny critters imprisoning us that Saturday were in the process of storing or gathering. No burly king-ant stood on the well platform, barking orders for his minions to surface and fall in. If the ants truly had no leader, why did their behavior always follow the same pattern?
What caused the sandy ground to spit out black ants until covered with moving spots? How did that first division know all had ascended and commenced forming ranks? How did the guard ants know which tiny beasts to line up alongside? Who led the impressive fast-moving hoards whose formation looked like intricate black lace in motion?
Might we have the same Ruler as the Driver ants, the Lord God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth? If we, His Church, surrendered to the Creator’s will for our lives with the same committed precision as the ants, might we also share their unity and success?
Nearly twelve hours passed before the last rank of the rear guard advanced into the jungle foliage. Now twilight, I drew water, pondering how I might better join with other Christians to reach our Commander’s goals. “Help me, God, to do my part faithfully.”
A true story
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