It’s quiet. Very quiet. Considering we live in the middle of nowhere, the quietness shouldn’t seem out of place. But for June and into July, our woods have been home to the emergence of the 17-year Cicadas. Millions of them. For a few weeks we were forced indoors. We couldn’t hear each other speak. Their incessant hum even drowned out the roar of the mower. I could deal with the noise coming from the trees, but then the buggers started leaving the trees. They were not expert flyers. It was like they just stumbled out of the trees and hoped to land on any flat surface. That flat surface was often our heads, arms, legs, whatever they could grab onto with their little spikey feet, scaring the bejeebies out of me.
But now, that has all changed. There are still a few broken-hearted stragglers humming away. But I am afraid they have missed out on love. It’s sad, really. This was their only chance, after 17 years of waiting and preparing. Their red, bulgy eyes must be filled with tears, as their calls for love go unanswered. Their carcasses are lying in the driveway, the patio, the pool, the deck. Their time on earth is very brief—at least the time they spend in sunshine. I suppose, technically, for an insect, 17 years is a long lifespan. But they only live above the ground for a few weeks, just long enough to find a mate and start the process over for the next brood, which will emerge in another 17 years.
Our lives on this earth are so much longer and fuller. I mean, we do more than just procreate, as great as that one aspect of life is. But in view of eternity, our lives here are likewise very short, no more than a speck in time. It’s what we do with this life that matters. By all means, procreate. But maybe try a different tactic than hanging out in a tree, making a lot of noise.
Concentrating on the eternal just so happens to make our short time here even better. It’s a blessing to love our neighbors, care for one another, help those in need, rejoice always, weep with those who weep, share the Gospel, pray for others, give generously, and love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength. These are things that will last long after our mortal bodies give out and turn to dust, like the last few cicada carcasses littering my patio. Their life is over, their job done, but ours is just beginning.
You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14 NIV)