May 18, 2015: Mexican Jumping Bean

~by Paula Veloso Babadi

Wikipedia describes Mexican jumping beans as seed pods inhabited by the larva of a small moth which, when heated, “jumps” as the larva spasms trying to roll the seed to a cooler environment to avoid dehydration and death.

Years ago, someone I dearly love grew weary of the intensity and heat in his life and environment. I watched as he nearly despaired, and all I could do was reassure him that everything would work out. Twenty five years later, he is just fine – his fire emanates from within and the only jumping he does is self-imposed and with purpose.

When the larva in the bean is ready to transform, to emerge as a moth, it doesn’t know it will live for only a few days. It goes on to deposit its eggs on the flower which will later become a pod and the cycle of nature continues. I’ve had periods of intense fire and have come to understand that, unlike the Mexican jumping bean, my response to the cycles in life can be a choice based on the knowledge that God has created an eternity for me. The burn is temporary and like my loved one did years ago, I can withstand the heat for a time, grow in the Spirit, and emerge the better for it.


Hop high
Jump high
Big fire
that tough little
makes it
hop and jump
Been in
this man’s pocket
far too long
Tired of trying
to hop and jump
this closed space
Fire’s dying.
On the table
everyone watches
(Microwave popcorn
is done
when there are
3-5 seconds
between pops)
Ain’t no telling
Mexican jumping beans.

Paula Veloso Babadi has worked in the health care industry for over thirty five years, but her true passion is poetry. She is a member of the St. John’s Chapter of the national Catholic Writers Guild and a regular contributor to the St. Joseph’sReflections Newspaper. Growing up in England and Pensacola with her Filipino and British parents and marrying into her Iranian family, she now lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband, daughter and nearby three grown sons and grandchildren.

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