Why I Step Over Ants ….

I was probably 6 or 7 when I first rescued a living thing. It was a fly. My brother John and I were walking to school and as we passed by the small grass lot at the bottom of our street, there on the ground was a fly, wobbling, falling and struggling to fly (no pun intended.) One of its wings was missing. I remember the feeling of sadness that washed over me and the strong urge to help and to save. I could make it better and I could save it, I just knew I could. Out on the road was a matchbox. I picked it up and looked inside to find several used matches. I threw all but one of them on the ground so I could use it to poke holes in the matchbox which would allow the fly to breathe. I gathered some grass, half-filling the matchbox and gently picked the fly up from the pavement and placed him in the matchbox. I placed the matchbox up under some grass wanting to keep it safely hidden until I could check on him when we got out of school later that afternoon. For now the fly was safe and he was warm and he could breathe. When the home time bell rang at school I couldn’t wait to get to our street. I ran all the way down St. George’s Road, my heart happy, the sun beating down on my face, my hair falling about my shoulders, the joy of knowing I had saved the little fly, but I didn’t … when I opened the matchbox he was dead, and I cried. I held him in my hand and cried, telling him I was sorry that he died. I don’t know what I thought would happen to him in that matchbox, maybe a new wing would grow, maybe Jesus could heal him, maybe love could have saved him … but it didn’t and Jesus didn’t and I didn’t. What did happen though was that I became aware of all creatures great and small , I became aware that everything that lives has a place in my heart, that all living things are equal and they are subject to suffering and struggling, just like the fly without its wing. It’s why I don’t eat animals, it’s why I don’t kill insects and it’s why I step over ants …

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