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Tag Archives: circumstance

For some reason ants seem to get into the kettle.  Perhaps they are in search of moisture?  It has been unusually hot here over the last while so perhaps it makes sense.

As with many households in the western world every morning our kettle is switched on for morning tea and of late I have begun to notice that there are more often than not a few small, dead ants that get poured into the pot or tea cup along with the boiled water from the kettle.  Our electric kettle is mostly black and in reality it is difficult to see them inside and mostly I usually don’t even think that they will have crawled in overnight in search of water… why would I think that?

This morning I removed four little ants from my cup who had suffered a terrible fate.  I suddenly thought what must it have been like to unexpectedly feel the temperature rise rapidly around them and then, before anything could be done to avoid disaster a searing heat overcomes everything?  It was probably totally confusing for the poor ant and clearly any attempt to get out of the trouble had at least 50% chance of getting the ant into more hot water.

The ants were neither good nor bad.  They meant no harm.  They were just being ants and were, I can only presume, doing what they needed to do.  Doing what ants do.

The only wrong they committed was that they never seemed to know of or understand the context they were in.  They clearly had no knowledge that the place they were seeking moisture and relief from was an electrical appliance that was used to boil water and an impending threat of death to them… and yet at the same time a comforting convenience for humans upon waking each morning.

My mind suddenly meandered to the historical account of the devastation of Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius erupted and less than a decade ago to the boxing day Tsunami in Indonesia which caused so much loss of life.  I also thought of the trouble as a result of the recent earthquakes in Japan.

The earth wasn’t being evil.  It was just being itself.  It was doing what it had been doing since the very beginning.

And then I also thought about all of those people who happened to be born to Iraqi or Afghan parents and suddenly seeing American bombs raining down on them from the sky.  I thought of the two World Wars and all the ethnic violence that has filled our senses through the media over recent decades.  I also thought of those in many nations simply who happen to have been born to parents who were well below the breadline with little chance of ever changing their status because of the circumstances they were in economically, politically, culturally, geographically.

All these people, neither good nor bad.  The only wrong they committed was that they never seemed to know of or understand the context they were in.  They too were just being human, doing what humans do.

I suddenly felt strangely like God in my kitchen and the power both destructive and constructive I could unleash by simply flicking a switch.

I became alarmed at that which I was potentially a part of even without my knowledge or intent this way or that.   I was not being evil was I?  I was just making some tea.

And then I thought about my thoughts regarding all of this and the feelings that cascaded through my mind when I saw these four ants floating lifelessly in my boiling water.

I then began to wonder what God feels like in his kitchen?

 

 

The sole survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, virtually barren, uninhabited island.  He prayed desperately for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.  Exhausted and disillusioned he eventually managed to build a little hut out of the last remaining shreds of driftwood he could gather from the beach to try protect himself from the elements.  But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived back at his lean-to hut to find his only source of protection in flames with smoke rolling up into the sky.

This was far too much for him to bear.  The worst possible thing had now happened.  He was a totally broken man.  Everything appeared lost.  He was stunned with grief and despair, even anger.  At last, after a lonely, bitter, aching spell of  tearing grief and disbelief he broke his anguished silence, “God, how could you do this to me!” he screamed into the night sky.

Early the next day, after a long,  dark, cold and unforgiving night, he was awakened by the sight and sound of a ship that was slowly approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.

“How on earth did you know I was here?” asked the exhausted man of his rescuers after they had lifted him off his island of doom.

“We never even knew there was an island here …  we saw your smoke signal,” they replied.