The Gross National Debt

Monday, August 5, 2013

Of parastic wasps, text messages, sweat, pictures and sadness

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This is not about religion, but discusses religion.

I was awake, but just laying there, when I got a text message Sunday morning. Joseph Neese, pastor at Christ Foundation Assembly of God, sent me a message saying he hoped to see me at church Sunday morning.

First time that's ever happened.

I recently stay out from one service cause I was exhausted. Had I gone to church, I'd have fallen asleep. As I sit on the front row, that's bad form - sleeping during church.  That afternoon, I got a message from Joseph saying he missed seeing me.

That is the second time anyone has ever contacted me about missing church on the same day I wasn't there.

This Sunday after church, I hauled out to a church out in the county. I had a 1:30 p.m. appointment to take a group picture of the congregation for a 100th year anniversary celebration. As happens from time to time in a charismatic church, services went long.

I stood in the lobby for quite a while, not willing to open the door and interrupt services.

One man came out, shook my hand, and asked whom I needed to see. I explained I was there for the picture. He nodded, attended his business and went back inside.

A short while later a lady came in from the outside. She asked if services were "about over." I replied I did not know and I was there to take pictures. She walked in.

Tired of sweating inside, no AC in the lobby, I stepped outside to sweat. I checked the time, intending to give the folks inside until a certain time and I was gone. I had a 2 p.m. meeting to get to.

Then, movement on the ground caught my eye. A 1-inch parasitic wasp was carrying a caterpillar. Bear with me, I have a point.
Not my picture. You get the idea though.

I was immediately entranced. I've seen these critters before and seen them carry caterpillars. Never seen what happened. I decided I'd stay until I saw what the wasp would do. I watched the insect leave her booty, fly around, test dig a couple of spots, come back, leave again and etc. I recalled from a documentary I once saw, the wasp memorized the terrain so it could find it's place. Really.

The wasp zoomed away, landing next to the church. It walked around and came back to the caterpillar. It carried the caterpillar, which probably weighed several times more than the wasp, to the edge of the church entrance ramp. There, it carefully uncovered a hole and hauled the hapless 'pillar down the hole. It backed out and dropped pebbles down the hole. It covered the remainder of the hole with dirt. Brilliant. Amazing. Awesome. Etc. What happens to the caterpillar?

Me, standing there with a macro focus zoom lens on a camera, did I get pictures of all this?

Nooooooooooooooooooooo!

Wotta idiot. I was just too fascinated with the byplay of nature taking place in front of me.

I walked away. As I was getting in my ride to leave, someone came out of the church and called my name. Services were over. Could I take the picture?

"I'm already late, but I can be a bit more late," I replied.

As the congregation filed out, I shook hands with the pastor and a gent known to my community as Coach or Chief. No one else offered. As none of these people were lawyers or politicians, I did not force myself on them.

A few minutes later the picture was taken. I left for my other meeting.

Had I not seen the wasp, I would have left, church picture untaken. You can call this serendipity if you wish.

Here's the sadness. Three people shook my hand. No one invited me in to the church. As I stood in the lobby, I immediate thought about the apocryphal story of the pastor who dressed as a bum and sat outside his own church. As I write this, I am reminded of an actual instance of the same thing.

The hell of it is, I'm guilty of the same exact thing.

1 comment:

  1. My brother only you could turn a story about a wasp burying a worm that it had just laid dozens of eggs in that would one day hatch and eat the poor creature alive into a parable. I am very impressed

    ReplyDelete