Lessons from the Bug

The other day I was getting ready for work when I heard a persistent flapping noise from the next room and finally went to investigate.

A giant flying bug with long graceful legs was beating frantically against the windowpane, trying to find a way out. (One of the advantages of living in the Bay area of California is that you can sleep with the windows open at night, hence the occasional bug the next day.)

On and on he went, as if his tiny insect head could batter through the glass if he just kept at it long enough. Not that I’m a great lover of bugs, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for his predicament. I watched for a moment, trying to decide what to do, and finally tiptoed over to the lever at the windowsill which would crack the window open a few inches. Pleased with the result of my rescue effort, I stood back to watch. Freedom was now only inches away from my flying friend. Surely he would feel the breeze and be on his way.

Instead, he froze.

I stood and watched for several minutes, thinking that any second now he would get going. All he had to do was detach himself from the glass: just let go and fly away. How hard could that be? I even told him so. I know, I know, who talks to bugs? But by then I was really invested in his freedom.

Nothing doing. He wasn’t going anywhere.

Finally, after a few more minutes, I realized I had to get going, myself. I left, hoping he’d figure it out. Sure enough, when I checked back on my way out the door, he was gone. Somehow he had summoned the courage to surrender long enough—to detach himself from the seeming safety of the windowpane—to let go and find his way back outside where he belonged.

Surrendering. Being brave enough to let go, to just loosen our hold and strike out for the unknown, when something—anything!—isn’t serving us well. Sometimes it’s the best answer, even when it may not feel like the easy one.