The Beautiful Ugly

If you've read, well, pretty much anything I've written, you probably know that I like bugs. I maintain a pretty tight wardrobe, but I still have multiple shirts that are covered in creepy-crawlies. They're fascinating creatures, and while most people are utterly repelled by them, I think they can be a great place to see God's creative spirit at work, and to remember that our idea of beauty isn't God's - and that's a good thing!

I have a pet leopard gecko (named Nithogg) who I feed live cockroaches. He can eat a variety of foods such as meal worms, frozen pinky mice, and specialized little lizard sausages, but I like the roaches best for several reasons, but ranking highly among them is that cockroaches are so interesting. Have you ever inspected one up close? From a distance, they just look like a squirming oval, but when you get up close you can see the evolution of them: the grasshoppery head, the segmented body hidden under the shield-like shell, the delicate sensory hairs on their underside. Beyond the obvious, there's the intricate social structure, the ability of some species to produce antifreeze and survive subzero temperatures, and their notorious resistance to radiation.

Many of you are probably cringing or quickly closing your browser at the description of these bugs that have been widely maligned in popular culture, but its important to remember that no matter how gross we think they are, they're a purposeful part of God's creation. In the beginning, when God was making all the plants and animals and the creatures of the air and the creatures of the sea and the creatures of the dry land, God looked upon the created cockroach and was well pleased. Regardless of human revulsion, roaches and every other gross and frightening species was created for a reason and is fulfilling that purpose.

I find it helpful to exercise the "God-eyes" I use to investigate things like bugs. If you can overcome your initial reaction, there's a real piece of truth in everything God created, and you can learn to find it - and in doing so draw closer to God, and learn to better practice God's grace. And if you can get good at finding God's intent, God's creative spirit, and the artistry of God in things so alien from us, things with extra legs that can still breathe with no head and that lay eggs in bizarre ridged structures, well, it gets a lot easier to see it in other people, and even yourself, too.


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