One of my favorite illustrations about life comes from the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. In it, Frances, the main character, is talking to her new friend about how she can't find the love that she is looking for. Her friend tells her a story about how when she was little she wanted to catch ladybugs. (And I know what you are thinking, "Ladybugs, really? What does this have to do with anything?" But hear me out...) Katherine tells Frances that she had tried to catch ladybugs but failed, and that she took a nap in defeat. When she woke up, there were ladybugs all over her. We find what we are looking for when we stop trying so hard, in other words.
Lately, I have had ladybugs in the literal and figurative sense. There has been an infestation of Japanese beetle (who look like ladybugs) here in the So. IL the last week or so. But there have been other ladybugs too. In two separate conversations in the last two days, God has revealed to me that acts that I might consider small can have great meaning to others, that sometimes people just want a chance to tell their stories. Let me explain. Yesterday, as I was getting groceries, there was a lady trying to untangle a produce bag. I unhooked the bag, and she started a conversation with me. Come to find out, she was as excited as I was about the first decent oranges of the season, and showed me a trick for determining which oranges were the best because she used to work in a factory that dealt with fruit. (Look for the ones with the smoothest skin because orange skin pits as it gets older.) It was a short interaction that didn't exactly revolutionize my day, but it was obvious that she just wanted to share what she knew. And for the record, the tip totally works and the oranges I picked were really yummy.
Then a few minutes ago, as I was warming up lunch, I spoke to a sales rep who was sitting in the lounge. She commented on how nice the lounge looked (it's decorated in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness), and I told her that two people on our staff are currently fighting breast cancer. She said she was a two-time survivor and had undergone a double masectomy a couple years ago. She then went on to share a funny story about how she had scehduled a mamogram recently only to remember that she didn't need one. Again, it wasn't a long exchange, but she just wanted to share with someone.
In short, we are all looking for someone to connect with. It doesn't have to be someone we know. There's a certain bond that we have as people living on planet Earth. While close friends are great, we don't have to know someone to brighten their day or change their point of view. We all have stories. We all have things of value to share. We are all ladybugs, looking for a still place to land.