Tonight I took my oldest son to the Ash Wednesday service at our church. It has been nearly a decade since I attended an Ash Wednesday service. The last one I went to was before I had children. Since I am consciously doing something to observe Lent this year, I felt it was important to go tonight. And my oldest son was interested in learning more about Lent too so he went along.
During the service my son was cuddling against me and noticed a little asian beetle crawling on the seat in front of us. I helped him scoop it up so he could hold it in his hand and watch it crawl around. He watched it quietly for a while, then decided to let it crawl on my hand. Which it did. THEN........it started crawling up my arm and under the sleeve of my denim jacket. It continued to make its way up my arm, crawling on my bare skin, and TICKLING me during the service. My son, of course, was greatly intrigued by this. To his credit, he was very quiet, but whispered to me frequently about "where the bug is" and kept looking at my neckline and up my sleeve to see if it had reappeared. The worst part was that it was the most tickly during the time that our pastor's wife was singing a particularly beautiful and poignant song called "Feel the Nails". I was trying SO hard not to make strange faces and, honestly, just to keep a straight face in general as she sang. I glanced over at my mom (who was sitting on the other side of my son) and she was shaking with silent laughter because she knew exactly what was going on. It took me a moment to compose myself as six little legs explored the uncharted territory of my delicate inner arm. However, I really wanted to be in the moment, listening to the music. The song did, in fact, bring tears to my eyes once I was able to focus. I am writing about the experience here tonight because my little distracting experience seemed destined to teach me something about faith. What I kept thinking was that the little beetle on my arm was representative of all the "little" things that distract us from our focus on God on a daily basis. I have many "beetles" (figurative, not literal) that cause me to be so distracted that I lose focus on the ONE who is most important. My little insect friend was a good reminder to me to be more focused on God, something that I am striving to make a habit of over the next 40 days. Do you have beetles up YOUR sleeve?