Peeing on Spiders

A few days ago I had a very personal encounter with a spider web.  I went into the porta potty on a construction site at work to take care of business.  As I approached the urinal I discovered that an enterprising spider had deemed it an ideal location for his web.   The opening of the latrine was the perfect size for him (or her – who can really tell) to build his snare, and there was certainly no shortage of flies to capture.  Location, location, location!  I was actually a little annoyed at the inconvenience his creation presented to my task at hand (I’ll not get into specifics), but carefully did my business and left the web as undisturbed as was possible under the circumstances.

As I left the little shack relieved (in more ways than one), a thought crossed my mind that struck me kind of funny.  (I must have looked a little strange snickering as I exited the loo.)  Here I was annoyed that I had to cope with peeing on a spider’s web… but how do you think the spider felt?  Here he had set up what was probably one of his finest accomplishments only to find out that his masterpiece was going to be continuously treated with the utmost of disrespect.  Not to mention the repairs that would be required in less than desirable conditions.

I guarantee that some of you are pretty sure you know how that spider feels (if spiders were able to experience emotion), but what I found strangely challenging involved MY attitude in the situation.  How many times am I so focused on my own suffering that I am oblivious to the struggles of those around me?  It’s not that my (or your) struggles are unimportant or insignificant, but my tendency is to be self-absorbed when it comes to coping with difficulty.

Jesus showed us an alternative.  Hanging on the cross in absolute agony, he took time to hold out hope to the thief beside him.  He paused to strengthen the bond between his mother and his friend John.  Against all odds (and human tendency) he extended forgiveness to the very people that hung him out to die.

The challenge is this:  The next time I am faced with difficulty, instead of retreating into a (perhaps well-deserved) pity party, can I instead look around me to see if there is someone that needs MY help?  Out of my place of pain, can I bring healing to another?

Of course, I’m not planning on assisting any urine-covered spiders.  But if that spider were you, I hope I would be willing to put my own comfort aside to try and make a difference in your life.

That’s what friends are for.



Posted On
Jun 11, 2011
Posted By
Ryan McKenzie

What a great reminder Tim – thanks for posting. I pity the little fella removing the chocolate logs from his silky web though… 😉

Posted On
Jun 11, 2011
Posted By
Tim Knapp

Haha. No chocolate involved Ryan. It was a urinal. Apple juice only! But you can still pity the poor little guy!

Posted On
Jun 12, 2011
Posted By
Isobel Telford

Thanks for your post Tim. What struck me was your sentence “Here he had set up what was probably one of his finest accomplishments only to find out that his masterpiece was going to be continuously treated with the utmost of disrespect.” I immediately thought of God creating His masterpiece (the world) and how He must feel when He looks and sees how human beings treat it, often with the utmost of disrespect :(.
Enjoying your posts 🙂

Posted On
Jul 12, 2011
Posted By
Cindy Calvert

Thanks for this post Tim. I came to your blog in a round-about way through your church. This post really spoke to me, especially the challenge you set out near the end. Last week, I thought back to this blog when I was asked provide a short message to introduce one of our praise songs in church (I play guitar in Bethany United Church’s praise band, Kindred Spirits, in Ramsayville (Ottawa)). I was introducing “Come to the Cross” by Michael W. Smith, and I chose to speak about the “other” message of the cross – Jesus reaching out in agony to ease the pain of others. I read from those last few paragraphs of your blog because you captured my impression so clearly (I hope you don’t mind), and several people mentioned that the challenge really reasonated with them too. Thanks for your message and your words.

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