Often, those things we love most, have to be destroyed.
As with auditions for a play, we don't always get the part in life we think we want. Flute begged his director to not make him play a woman, while Bottom desired to play all the parts at once. Jo March wanted to be a boy. Lucy Pevensie wanted to be her older, beautiful sister Susan. Mark Studdock craved inclusion in the inner circles of his work, and his wife Jane despised any ideas of roles in their marriage. Moses begged God to send someone else, and then that someone else, Aaron, turned around years later and asked Moses why he had to be the one in charge. Peter asked Jesus what he planned to do with John. James and John wanted to have the right-hand position in God's kingdom. I want to be Gandalf.
(In the final entry of this three part series, I'll apply the qualities and experiences of Whitman's noiseless, patient spider to my own search for joy.) I never thought I’d identify with a spider, but I do believe, along with many other interpreters, that Whitman captured the sentiments and tendencies of many artists and thinkers (of which I’d at least like to become when I grow up) through his little eight-legged friend. Although I’m not so sure Whitman would say the spider derived its purpose from the Lord—in fact, his poem can sound quite existential—Whitman’s spider has served, for me, as another great image of pursuing God.
(In this second entry in this three-part series, I will introduce both Mrs. Sir Isaac Newton and Mr. Walt Whitman to our conversation on spiders and longing.) She appeared in the doorway of our deck about five years ago this upcoming September. I never appreciated the arachnids who decided it was their responsibility to decorate the front porch or deck every night and hang there, front legs extended, staring into the house, but I first noticed this speckled and bulbous-bodied spider early in the morning while eating a bowl of cereal.