— PATRICK GAROUTTE
Sioux City, Iowa
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you…” Ephesians 1:18
My wife and I live in a midsized, mid-western city. Like many, it has a busy boulevard running through a small business area where mostly young people spend summer evenings cruising up and down. At sunset one mid-August evening I went walking along that street soaking up the scene and as I began to meditate my vision expanded and deepened....
I saw cars and SUVs rudely jostling for an extra few inches of roadway; rocket type motorcycles with teenage girls, so vulnerable in their tee shirts and sandals, perched precariously high on up-tilted seats, fannies in the air, shorts slumped, clinging desperately to equally immodest young boys, yelling and racing through traffic or stopped in fast-food parking lots slouching on their machines and each other. Large, older men on huge deafening motorcycles slowly roaring along so proud of their glittering machines; a young mother power walking, eyes glazed forward, with a little one following who wanted little more than to dawdle and look around as he alternately paused and dashed to keep up. And everywhere cracked, hard cement. Trees uprooted and gone. Grass paved over. Cement and noise and the senseless, hopeless, chaos of so many people running, racing, wasting…And I began to despair for them and for me knowing that I too was part of the darkening scene, out of shape and sweating along, remembering that I too owned a motorcycle. Despair and sorrow.
Then the Spirit opened my eyes further. I saw a little patch of God’s green, dewy grass between the sidewalk and street where, as if on a single down beat, fireflies began rising to perform their miraculous evening ballet. The world around me quieted and slowed as yellowgreen lights twinkled and shined like muted, brilliant fire. As they flew and danced I stretched out my arm and a firefly, fearlessly innocent, landed on my upturned palm inviting me to join in. And we danced there as the lights glowed around us. When we reached the edge of the grass he raised his wings to rejoin the others, let his light shine and flew off. I walked on uplifted and renewed knowing that in the deepest darkness the light from just one of those little creatures could lead the way. I felt the hope that Jesus, the light of the world, brings to us in our darkness and I knew how His precious light can shine through each of us reaching others in the dark, if only to let them see us dance with a joy that only comes from knowing how deeply God loves us all.
As the rush and confusion slowly returned I said a small prayer—“Thank you Lord, for letting me dance with your fireflies.”