April 17, 2013: A Mayfly in Winter

~by Louis Templeman

A Mayfly is no bigger than a minute and weighs little more than a breath. The one I saved was paralyzed in the cold on the frigid brick wall of a house I was painting. Whether she could see me with those motionless bug eyes as I reached for her I do not know. If she did I must have appeared a fearsome and incomprehensible giant. Had it been warm enough her fear and survival instinct would have sent her fleeing from the likes of me.

However, she had no choice. I reached out to her. My fingers were covered in soft cloth gloves. I squeezed her wings, which were closed together like stiffened, sun-catcher sails over her frail body, and pulled her away from the wall. I walked out of the shady, chilly terrace and onto the sunny driveway where pruned roses held their thorny stumps aloft in the sunshine.

I placed her on the highest scar of one of the rose stumps. Immediately, the sun loosened the tiny legs of the insect and she began to move in small circles on the tip of the stem. She soon was able to fly away, only because some powerful giant had pity on her.

I began to think about this Mayfly as my work day progressed. I remember in my youth and occasionally in later years times when I felt helpless and frozen in indecision. I am so grateful that in my most desperate situations, I received help when I was virtually helpless. In hindsight I am now so grateful to God and thankful to many good-hearted people.

In my youth I rarely admitted to any helplessness on my part. It is remarkable that I was so proud. At times, I may have been no more cognizant of my benefactors as my hapless insect. Even after I returned to my Christian faith as a young adult I used my understanding of theology and the Bible to devise a spin on my personal journey that put me in the best possible light. My life was me-centered.

The aging process has encouraged me to be more humble and more insightful. Many, many times God and good people have pulled my acorns out of the fire. I no longer need to spin my past to make me look good. I am less in need of complex ideas to define myself or my world. I am probably not that much like my Mayfly, but more like a blind child. A blind child who cannot tell you the color of her father’s hair or the beauty of his eyes, but who knows well the sound of his voice, his powerful and gentle touch and his assuring presence. God is love and love abounds in the hearts and actions of so very many good people.

I think from now on I will imitate less the Mayfly in winter and emulate rather, the blind child at joyous rest in her father’s care.

~Louis Templeman


Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D.

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