Spider Webs and Pearls
I do. I would like to have more original thought (even just one original thought!). I would like to speak better and write better and preach better. I would like to have written a best selling novel, or be a columnist in a national newspaper. I would like the day by day demands of normal life not to squeeze the space for creativity to what often feels like vanishing point.
Maybe it was a spark of creativity, but I was thinking about this the other day, and the contrast between spider webs and pearls came to mind.
Have you ever looked at a spider web – really looked? They are fantastic things, supremely engineered. Spider silk is meant to be stronger than high tensile steel, and it is one of the miracles of the natural world to see a spider weaving a web. It is genius. There is much to appreciate about arachnid habits from a technological perspective, but there is an obvious aesthetic element also. To my mind there are few things that can compete with the aesthetic quality of a spiders web coated with dew, catching the light of the early morning sun. A crisp autumn day in an English meadow when the cobwebs are shining against the hedgerows is pretty magical; and I have fond memories of a walking safari in a South African game park when as we set out early in the day the spiders webs glimmering among the brown grass were, if anything, even more compelling than the rhino that were meant to be the stars of the show.
Of course, there is a downside to the spiders web – to cobwebs. There are few things less pleasant than getting a face full of cobweb, and in the home a cobweb soon becomes an ugly dust-trap.
And all of the above is to assume that you don’t simply have a problem with spiders!
By way of contrast, consider the pearl. Unlike a spiders web, a pearl is not obvious to the eye, but hidden within the rather unprepossessing oyster. Peals are beautiful though. In their own way they are as extraordinary a creation as spider silk, and would generally be considered more beautiful – certainly more valuable.
The spider spins her web seemingly out of thin air – a superb construction with a clear purpose. The oyster produces a pearl as a response to irritation. Without that grain of grit, no pearl would appear.
When it comes to my personal creativity I feel I am more oyster than spider. It is the spiders I admire. It is they who write the books and the newspaper columns, who preach the brilliant sermons. Spiders are able to come up with ideas. For me, pretty much all the time, my ideas (whether it be for a blog post, a sermon, or whatever) are only born when I feel a piece of grit.
But you know what? I think that’s probably how it is meant to be.
Part of what we are doing here at WYTM is to stir up the grit. In reading the posts the other guys put up I often find a bit of grit gets into my system and a pearl begins to form. It might not be the biggest or best pearl, but often it is enough to help add something that was missing to the sermon I was preparing, or the wisdom that was lacking in a counselling situation. I’d love to be a spider, but being a gritty old oyster isn’t always so bad!
So, if what you need today is some inspiration and it feels like the creative juices are simply failing to flow, maybe what you should be seeking is not a dew-bedazzled web, but a speck of grit.