lessons learned: what ladybugs can teach us about hope

Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.  ~William James

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.  ~Anne Frank

I realized last night that I’ve been giving a lot of press to the Japanese beetles lately, both literally and figuratively. They have distracted me from some of the good parts of my garden and overwhelmed me with their destructive ways.  I walk out on the farm each night and start looking for them on the grape vines the work my way down to the apricot trees.  My eyes form small slits as I glare at at the creatures, and I start flicking them off the leaves.

Last night, however,while my gaze traveled the top bar of the grape trellis, a small glimmer of red caught my eye.  A lady

hope for the grape leaves

bug!  She perched there amidst the tattered and shredded leaves like a small gift.  Methodically, she worked her way across one leaf, no doubt eating whatever miniscule creatures she could find and potentially saving 2 square inches of yards and yards of grape vine.

No matter.  In that small space, she accomplished her task, not caring if the beetles had ravaged leaf after leaf or worrying that darkness would fall soon and her task wouldn’t be done.

I sit here this morning and reflect on that ladybug.  She continues to go about her business, taking care of what is around her.  Her size and solitude not stopping her from making a difference for that one leaf in that moment in time.  But square inch after square inch and plant after plant, she and others like her save parts of my garden.

Sometimes, when the darkness comes or the Japanese beetles descend, we  feel small and alone in what we do in this world, and we wonder if we are making a difference.  We look around in our 2 square inches and question, is this enough?

Well, if you look around the garden, you’ll see other ladybugs tending to their two square inches–some may be down in the squash patch, others may be up on the lilies.  And what seems like worlds away from each other, they are giving a vegetable or a leaf a little hope for protection and life–making a difference for one being in that two square inches.

So, this morning as I pray for for a world that often seems filled with issues bigger than than one me can address–poverty, violence, hunger, isolation–I keep that ladybug tucked in my spirit, remembering that when I walk out my door this morning, I step into my two square inches of life’s garden, and what I do will make a difference.

One thought on “lessons learned: what ladybugs can teach us about hope

  1. I agree.. there are a lot of things we humans can learn from mere insects life the lady bug.. I personally love observing the ants. I’ve sometimes spent hours gazing at them while they form neat lines around curves and corners to get their way around.. how much teamwork and compassion they show when one of them is hurt! truly amazing!

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    See you later!

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