The other day, while I was taking my morning walk, I realized that my sandaled foot was about to come crashing down on an unsuspecting ant. I tried to soften the blow midway (and I’ll admit I kept on walking), but I have a feeling the ant was toast.
Now, I’m not a bug lover. In fact, I’m the opposite; I’m absolutely terrified of insects. But I try not to kill them, anyway. And I’m not like the monks who will sit and be eaten up by fire ants. If a bug is out to sting or bite me, I will definitely read him his last rites.
However…neither am I a person who consciously goes out of my way to harm a spider, ant, fly, or other crawly creature. And there’s the key word: “consciously.” When I was taking my morning walk that day, I wasn’t really being conscious. Otherwise, I would have realized immediately that I was about to step on an ant. Instead, my thoughts were in the clouds.
And I guess that’s okay. But thinking about the ant got me thinking about other things, and before I knew it I was wondering how many people I’ve inadvertently “stepped on” in my life. How many times have I said something sarcastic or hurtful to my husband or one of my kids? How many times have I said something unkind or unthinking to a friend or a stranger? How many feelings have I “stepped on” without even knowing it? Have my words, or thoughts, or actions ever made anyone wither or cry? I bet they have.
I’m not here to beat myself (or you) up, but it does make you wonder, as we’re going through our busy days, if there are some moments when we could be more conscious, more aware, more purposefully kind? Or are we in such a rush and such a frenzy to get to where we need to go (or even not in a rush but just in a spaced-out state of not paying attention), that we forget to even notice how our actions and words are affecting others?
Like I said, I’m not overly fond of ants or anything else that is small (or large), has wings, or too many legs, or just looks plain yucky. But on the other hand, I’m really not on a mission to harm them. And I’m not on a mission to harm anyone else, either.
It’s just that it’s easier to walk through life with your head in the clouds than it is to concentrate on where your foot is going to land. This is something I need to work on: Maybe you do, too?