Sunday, December 20, 2015


Last month, I was sitting outside enjoying the warm weather, when a spot of color on the grey rocks caught my eye.

Most of my friends consider wasps to be generally evil and best dead or non-existent. To a point, I understand them. The stings are painful and being allergic would make the matter even worse. As for me, wasps have never bothered me. I respect them and leave them alone, and they return the favor. One journal entry from my junior high years details a class period in which I did my best to dissuade a wasp from flying through an open window, lest he be slain by my excitable comrades (I had named him Charles), and in some ways I am quite the same as I was then.

This wasp in particular was rather calm, choosing to walk rather than fly, which allowed me some interaction. I sat down and placed my hand beside him. He slowly crawled onto one of my fingers, crossed to the next, and then disembarked, a quiet and peaceful greeting. I pulled my camera out of my bag and took a few pictures of him as he roamed the rocky expanse. He was not threatening to me, physically or mentally, so I lay down on the ground watching him walk, the movement of his feet, the tilt of his wings, and his restful pauses. When I was forced to leave and continue my day, he was still there, and I cannot help but wonder what he might have told me if I could have understood.

Nearly a week later, I was lost in a train station of thought, not quite ready to board any train in particular. Contemplations, ideas, and dreams bustled about me, pushing, ambling, or simply standing in place as I was. A pondering waved as it passed and, not seeing where it was going, crashed into a rushing thought. The two of them fell over on top of memories of the wasp, which had been sitting cross-legged staring at the ceiling. My love of watercolor stopped to help them up, and there I was able to focus on the four of them, follow, and board the same train. The destination was an image and the desire to paint it.

I worked on it on and off for about a month, not because it was overly difficult or large, but because I was occupied with other activities as well. When I finally finished, I was excited. Yes, I messed up several times in several places. I almost gave up when I was working on the fire. But my wasp is so close to the image I had in my head that I don’t mind the smudges, smears, and regretted decisions as much as I might otherwise.

A flaming wasp in the rain to “cool,” but "cool" is not my intent.

A wasp is more than an annoying or even threatening bug to be slain on a whim. Sometimes, such actions must be taken, but not always. What is it like inside one's head? I imagine that sometimes a wasp must be awfully afraid. They live in a world so much larger in comparison to them than we do. How can such a small creature hope to survive in an existence teaming with giants and ogres? But wasps continue anyway, even striking fear into the hearts of their enemies. They are natural warriors with armor and weapons that they are never physically able to set down.

Humans really are small too. On some scales, we make about as much difference as wasps do. So why bother? Many people don't, but there are a few who are born warriors, much like wasps. They put their hearts on the line every moment of every day to push back the Darkness, everything from their own rage to the all too real nightmares of others, and they burn; they burn with a stunning light. The light and fire they carry within them has immense potential for destruction, their own as well as others', but they choose instead to protect. However, burning and fighting with such intensity wears on them, and often they long to stop their flight, to land, but the armor is part of their DNA, an exoskeleton. Even when they land, feet on solid ground, they can never take that armor off. So they fly, they fly through the darkness, inner light burning brilliantly, even when the sky lets loose torrents of rain, even when they feel infinitely small.

These are the Christians who pull us back on our feet when we fall, look us in the eye, and tell us it’s not the end of the world. They’ve been where we’ve been, and they’ve helped so many people before us. They remind us that sometimes we do have to fight.

I am not a wasp as much as I am a bee: fluffier and less likely to attack. Not everyone was designed to be a wasp after all, but we can still make a difference in our terrifyingly large world, even if that difference is only to a single flower.

Merry Christmas.
I’m so grateful for all of you, warriors or not.

1 comment:

  1. Love this. Your photos and artwork are always striking and clear, and your writing is lovely. I've never considered wasps as born warriors in a positive way, but I'll be pondering the thought now. Thank you.