CONSIDERING Alternative Perspectives

I was greeted this morning in my shower by a most unwelcome guest.  You might think something so little, so inconsequential, so harmless shouldn’t generate such a reaction, but it did.  Spiders and I are NOT friends – even small, inconspicuous house spiders.

As a girl growing up, my bedroom was in the basement of our home.  Most every morning one or two spiders – large, ugly, disgusting spiders – waited for me, waiting I was sure, to pounce and attack.  Thankfully my dad would faithfully come to my rescue with a single swat of a shoe, and I was safe for one more day.

Now that I’m a mature adult who no longer lives at home, I must independently battle against the spring infiltration of spiders (unless my husband John happens to be home).  Unlike my dad, I cannot attack a spider with a shoe.  I can only fearfully imagine the spider quickly getting the upper hand and crawling on my hand holding the shoe before I can smack it.  So, I deluge the spider with water.  Yes, I drown him, and truth be told, I do so with glee.

With cupped hands holding as much as possible, I dump water upon the unsuspecting spider.  This is precisely what happened to my shower guest this morning.

As I thankfully watched the spider spin down the drain, a thought came to mind.  I wondered what that little spider was thinking when he was surprisingly deluged with water, spelling his certain death.

Had he survived the torrential downpour, what would he have reported back to his family?  What headlines would have made the daily Arachnid Almanac?  A freak spring storm?  A tsunami from the heavens?  An unexpected cloudburst?

As strange as it may sound, I tried to imagine myself as the spider.  Life that morning was normal and predictable.  Cool weather, sunny skies, successfully sneak in through the cracks of the house to run errands.  And suddenly everything that is normal and predictable wasn’t.  Destruction, despair, death.  I pictured the little spider family waiting for their father’s return, wondering what was keeping him so long.

And suddenly, I realized that the spider’s predicament wasn’t too unlike our own lives.  Life happens day-in-day-out normally, predictably.  And then, out of nowhere, catastrophe strikes.  Destruction, despair, death.  Perhaps the actual death of an individual.  Perhaps the death of a dream.  To us, caught up in the torrential downpour and deluge of destruction, the turn of circumstances is unwelcome and inexplicable.  It seems random and purposeless.  And we’re left hurting and at a loss as to how to proceed and continue forward.

And yet, there is One who is greater, One who sees the scenes of our lives differently than we see them.  Just as my alternative perspective of the spider’s death provided answers and meaning to what struck the spider as meaningless, I think God’s perspective does the same in our own lives.

Clearly, random, awful disasters strike that are not intended, planned or purposeful.  After all, my killing the spider in my shower this morning did not have a bigger meaning.  I just don’t like spiders.

But sometimes I think we must try to step back and consider alternative perspectives when we find ourselves in the midst of trials and tribulations.  As we prepare our hearts and reflect on our faith and Jesus’ sacrifice this Holy Week, we realize that what appeared to be the greatest tragedy ended up bringing the greatest hope.  Might that be the case for our own lives?

Holy Week, ending with glorious, redemptive victory,  is all about considering alternative perspectives.  That’s the message of Jesus.  That’s the beauty of hope.