Floating Fire Ants

fireants630x275

 

I know this may sound like a silly story, but please bear with me. Recently a friend shared with me that while he was hiking in one of our southern states he unknowingly walked into a colony of fire ants and was bitten – a lot.  As in bitten so many times he couldn’t count how many hurting itchy sores he had on his legs. Apparently getting bitten by fire ants hurts like a you-know-what! OUCH! Being the good friend that I am, I checked online for information about fire ants and, with all due respect to my hurting friend, I came across some information about these little creatures which is also quite fascinating!  (BTW, my friend got the medication he needed to survive the ant bites and he is in the process of slowly healing, thank goodness.)

True, fire ants bite; and they sting, as the case may be.  They hurt like a you-know-what. But one really cool feature about fire ants is that they can float. In fact they float so well that when a colony is in some sort of danger from drowning, they not only float, but cling together so well they create an impenetrable raft which can float on the open water sometimes for months on end!  Truly amazing!  Rather than drown alone they instinctively cling together only to discover that there is power in numbers. There is strength in numbers.

Which got me to thinking about us as human beings – you and me together.  We’re a fiercely independent lot we are.  We love our independence, our individual freedoms, our freedom to think what we want and speak what we want.  Freedom to do what we want, as long as it isn’t illegal.  Studies tell us that we’re becoming so independent as a culture we’re in danger of becoming so isolated we no longer give a darn about one another. I’ve lived in some northern Virginia communities where neighbors don’t need to see or speak to each other ever.  As in never.  We could drive into our beautifully manicured neighborhoods and wave at our neighbors, pull into our garages with automatic garage door openers, hit the close button on the garage door and never actually have to interact with the other human beings who live inches from us.  We’re free to be completely alone if we so choose.

There are a ton of examples of this isolationist curse which is sweeping the country so I won’t belabor it; but instead say this, we don’t have to live like that.  We don’t have to be alone.  Not if we don’t want to.  If we’ve learned anything over the past few decades it is that human beings are not the strongest species in the world.  Natural disasters can wipe us out in seconds: earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes.  We’re not the fastest species, or even maybe the smartest; but one advantage we have is our ability to cooperate, to help each other out.  We can recognize ourselves in each other, and we can have compassion for one another. Cooperation and compassion are what make us stronger, faster, and smarter. It’s how we’ve survived.  And, it’s what God asks us to do.  We can recognize Christ in one another, and live the verses of Matthew 25: ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Personally I love being a part of a community.  For as much as I too love my individual freedoms, I love being in relationship with others more.  I don’t mind sacrificing a little bit for the greater good if it means that, even though I may not get my own way every time, I get to be a part of a community which values cooperation, compassion and the contributions of others, even if they are a little different than I am.

So, if you are feeling alone or like you are being swept away by rushing water, reach out and grab on to another person.  You don’t have to go through this life trying to dog-paddle your way gasping for air, barely surviving one crisis after another.  Reach out and take hold of another person’s hand.  See if two heads are better than one to help you find your way through your present challenge.

If you see that another person is going down – then please reach out, please don’t let them drown; there’s no reason for that to have to happen to anyone.  Call them.  Email them.  Text them.  Go next door or down the street or across town or into the next pew and reach out.  You’ll be so glad you did.

Praying for us all.

Peace friends,

Chuck

 

 

5 Comments

  • Pam says:

    We just watched the movie Titanic…if only all of those people had been like the fire ants!

  • THERESE says:

    P.S. Plus we lived in Dallas Texas where they have LOTS of FIRE ANTS …
    Their bites are terrible … but I thought it was amazing the story of how they cling together.

    Thanks for sharing !!

  • Jane says:

    Living in such a community that you mentioned, sadly I am one of those drive by neighbors. Your message has inspired me to “stop, look and listen” to those neighbors I do not know. Thanks, Chuck

  • THERESE says:

    LOVED READING THIS CHUCK … WE DO NEED TO SEE CHRIST IN ONE ANOTHER. WE BOTH STARTED OUT IN LARGE FAMILY COMMUNITIES (smile) AND HAD TO DO A LOT OF COOPERATING, SHOWING COMPASSION AND CONTRIBUTING TO THE WHOLE. GOOD TRAINING FOR life …

    GREAT MESSAGE …

  • Rose says:

    Love this Chuck – what a great and true analogy.

Leave a Comment