One year in high school we had to make an insect collection, so I worked diligently finding all kinds of bugs. We lived on a dirt road with a pond and woods nearby, and I had a wide-open place ideal for finding and catching them.
I had a bunch of different beetles, crickets, butterflies and moths (I even found a huge green Luna moth dead but intact). I mounted them with straight pins on a sheet of Styrofoam covered in cloth and placed it in a large gift box lid (about 12” X 24”). It was spectacular, if I say so myself, and I knew I was on my way to at least an A, probably an A+.
We had part of Summer and most of the Fall to complete it, so I placed bugs on the Styrofoam along and along and when there was no space left for more, I left it on a shelf in our basement to turn in when it was due.
About a week before the Christmas break due date, I went to the basement to get it ready. That’s when I discovered that something living in our basement liked to feast on dead bugs. The Styrofoam and cloth covering were still there, and a little forest of straight pins was sticking up. But everywhere else there were only small bits and pieces of bug crumbs left of the spectacular collection.
I panicked. In that colder time of year there weren’t many insects out flying or crawling around. I searched every place I could think of that might have intact bugs. I checked the windowsills, took down light fixtures and emptied their contents. I examined spider webs in the basement and outside the house. Turned over every board and brick in the piles out by the garage….and
I ended up with a very non-spectacular collection. The small group of small bugs was mounted, some with straight pins, tiny ones with tape, on a much thinner sheet of cloth-covered Styrofoam placed in the lid of a box of stationery. (No, not even 8-1/2 x 11 sheet size, just the small letter writing kind.)
My teacher wasn’t impressed but, thankfully, was a bit sympathetic with the story. Instead of my spectacular A+, I got a C (and was thankful for that.)
How did I let that happen? One thing was I was smug about how spectacular I thought it was and was ready for the A+ and didn’t think of the details needed to make that happen. Another was I just left it alone and didn’t check on it anytime before I needed it. Also, I don’t remember for sure, but I can imagine my Momma and/or Daddy (with their longer time to experience life and learn from it) telling me I better cover it up just in case. I can then imagine me being lazy and smug about that, too – “what could happen to a bunch of bugs? I’m heading down to the pond.”
All that brings to mind what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:12 – “Therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands, take heed lest he fall.” A slight paraphrase of that—”Be careful when you close your eyes and envision a big A+ on your efforts because that’s when something will come along and eat the bugs in the basement!”