Monday, June 18, 2012

Be Prepared

While working (and meditating) in my garden just now,  I uncovered a spider protecting her egg sack.

Now, I won't say that I "hate" spiders, as they do a very important job in keeping other crawlies at bay.  Lets just say I'm not their biggest fan, generally keep a distance whenever possible... and that my husband still laughs about the nightmares when I would leap from our bed in the middle of the night, beating the bedding and screeching "Spiders! Kill them! Kill them!!!........"...

... ahem.

So I'm not crazy about spiders.  But when I saw the one in my garden, protecting her unborn young, I had to stop a moment and appreciate her if for no other reason than admiration of her maternal instinct.  When I unwittingly disturbed her nest, she didn't just run for the hills, but picked up that egg sack and took it with her.  No small feat, considering it was as big as she.

Something made me want to get a photo, and so I retrieved my camera, focused... and nothing.  I'd forgotten the memory card in the computer, in the house.  And so, the moment and the shot were gone.

Not such a big deal, missing a shot of a spider... though I then felt the need to scroll through hundreds of spider photos in order to add one to this post and will now pray to avoid spider dreams tonight.

What is a big deal, however, is the reminder I took away from the little episode, and that is to "be prepared".

For me, being prepared is part of my job.  It means keeping the camera handy, its battery charged and memory card in place, in order to capture some of the myriad beautiful and wondrous sights I see on any given day.  Obviously, I've fallen short in that regard... and must accept the fact I'm a work in progress.

Being prepared means having my home in somewhat respectable shape and some goodies stashed in the freezer in case we receive unexpected visitors.  Its no fun to be so embarrassed over clumps of mud on the floor and a pile of dishes in the sink that visitors can't be enjoyed for the blessing of their company.  Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.  Housekeeping is not a natural talent of mine, and so it is something I've had to work on (and still must).  FlyLady Marla Cilley's work has been a huge blessing to me in that regard.  One of her mantras is "Progress, not perfection", and thank goodness for that as I will never be perfect, but CAN (and do) make progress.

Prepared, in my world, means having not just a first aid kid for people... but one for animals as well.  I have antibiotics, vaccinations and medications in my refrigerator (right next to the leeches and night crawlers, because I'm also prepared to go fishing at a moment's notice!).  It means having tools... everything from hammers and wire cutters to computers and rifles... where I can find them and the knowledge to use them.

Most important for me, however, is being prepared to be flexible.  Kids get sick, sheep get loose, inspiration strikes or the opportunity to go fishing presents itself.  If I am not flexible with my time and thinking, it is too easy to miss fantastic opportunities.  Some of the most special moments with my girls happened when they were ill and I set my work aside to just sit with them.  My best photographs and articles are never planned, but inspired.... rarely when its convenient.  Loose sheep are always inconvenient... but a chance and a reminder to drop all else and saddle up a horse.

And fishing.... well, fishing is important.  It just is. If one isn't prepared and flexible enough to go fishing (or riding or reading a good book or making art or visiting a friend or watching baby kittens play) when the opportunity presents itself, we risk missing out entirely on why we were put on this planet to begin with.  I wonder how many times in the course of a day, we breeze right past beautiful opportunities to fill up our souls or connect with others, in the interest of being "productive"?

A chance meeting with a little spider was a good reminder to "be prepared" for those opportunities.

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." ~Hebrews 13:2

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