FIREFLIES IN A JAR
Updated: Dec 31, 2021
A lesson from a childhood memory
If you've ever lived in the mid-west you've probably caught fireflies or watched as they danced in the summer night sky. Maybe you are of the new generation who has learned to crush the wee bugs and rub their butt juice on your face because it glows. Nice picture huh? My sisters and I preferred to catch them in a mayonnaise jar and fall asleep to their soft glow. I can still remember those nights. There were so many fireflies that they were easy to catch. I can remember the feel of the humidity and the sound the tall weeds as we ran through them all grubby from the day's play.
I was thinking about this tonight as I contemplated the years passing. There were no fireflies out, in fact I didn't see any this year. I don't even know if Houston has fireflies. I'm not sure if it was the temperature or the feel of the evening air that brought back this memory. It might have even been the smell of the end of summer. That scent just before the fall leaves start turning and dropping off the trees. There was a stillness as I sat and watched Wagsley play with his park buddies.
Whatever it was, I felt transported back in time 50 years. Yep, I am that old. The 8 year old me would have been in the third grade. That was the year I chipped my tooth, and got a black eye during a spelling bee. Today is the 8th month anniversary of my 58th birthday. Yes, It is odd to remember those dates. But it struck me as I sat there that in 4 months I will begin my 60th year of life. Those times in that field behind our home seem like they happened only a few weeks ago, yet it was a long time ago by human measurement. Those years, and those bugs we imprisoned in that jar are long gone. I will see neither of them again.
I remember writing a short story about fireflies in a jar. It wasn't much of a story. But here it is:
Love is like the hunt for fireflies. You chase after these glowing lights flying all around you. They disappear and reappear. They mesmerize you and pull you into their spell.
Are they fairies?
Are they angels?
What makes them glow?
Are they magical?
The feelings you get as you chase them are exhilarating and exhausting. When your jar is full of these tiny lights you feel victoriously joyful. You place the glowing jar on your dresser, and then crawl into bed warn out, but happy. Then the morning comes. You wake up, stretch and look at your jar of fairy bugs. But something is wrong. The jar isn't glowing. The bugs are all laying on the bottom, dead. The happiness of the night before has turned to disappointment. The jar goes in the trash, and you do it all over again the next evening.
Love is similar. When you are young you chase after it. It flies past you a time or two, and disappears. You still run after it. You reach for it and it slips through your fingers. Is this feeling magical? Is it supernatural? Just what makes us all chase after love? When we finally catch it, we glow. Then something happens. Somewhere when you weren't watching the glow went out. The magic disappeared. You no longer wanted it, because it was nothing more than a jar of dead bugs.
I wrote that after I got divorced. Oddly enough I didn't learn my lesson. I still chased after love, though it took me a bit to find someone I was willing to risk love for. I don't regret the relationships that died. I do regret not being able to keep them alive. I have great respect for those who can. Our world is not a kind place. It is hard at times to keep your glow about you when the struggle pulls you into a jar where there is no escape. Those who manage to keep that love glowing year after year deserve an award.
Imagine Jesus watching with wonder as we chase after love. We must look silly to him. Imagine Jesus walking with us through these times of fascination knowing what the morning will bring for each of us. My parents never warned me that the bugs would be dead in the morning. They knew that I needed to find out for myself. Jesus doesn't stop us from following our hearts. He knows we have to find out for ourselves, no matter how painful that may be.
Love is something we all need. We were created for love. I believe this is because God created us in His image. God is love. Where there is love, there is peace. The entire Bible is the message of God's love. Love is the basis of life. God loved us and created us. Men and women when they are in love create life by having children. Love is the most powerful human emotion. We chase it because it fills us like nothing else can. Just like the Spirit of God fills us when we accept Jesus. There is nothing like being born again. You can't explain it to someone. They must experience it. When it happens it is life-changing. That is love.
Imagine Jesus there by your side when it all falls apart. He knows the heartache of love. Jesus loves the whole world and is rejected every day by those He died to save. We have a God who knows our pain. He knows that the jar has a lot of dead bugs, but He still chases us because He loves us and wants us to be with Him and glow with His light forever.
In Revelation it says that there will be no sun because God will give them light. Imagine Jesus lighting up the entire world with His Love. Fireflies couldn't even light up the bedroom!
Revelation 22:1-5 "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever."
John 9:5 "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Psalm 51:12 "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."