It’s SUMMER! In TEXAS! We’ve already used up two cans of sunscreen and three bottles of bug spray! The days are long, the nights are warm and the cicadas sing night-songs to their Creator. One of my favorite things that we have been doing as a family is taking bike rides at dusk. We have seen the most amazing sights while riding the paths near our home. You see, I grew up in the DFW Metroplex. Dallas, to be exact. When I was young, my brothers and I would play outside until we absolutely had to come in. Way past dusk. One of our favorite things to do was catch fireflies. We let them go. Sometimes. But we gloried in the way they lit up the evening and provided light beyond the sun. What a mystery.
And then they were gone. I don’t remember when it happened, but at some point, probably in my early teen years, the fireflies disappeared. And they remained gone. I would hear mythic tales of them – like Sasquatch – off in the deep woods somewhere, but never within certain visual range. Oh sure – they lived in far-away, exotic places like ‘Florida’ or ‘Indiana,’ but as far as I was concerned, the native Texan firefly had become extinct. Probably the victim of too many glass jars. Or pesticides.
It was May when I first noticed one. As in, this past May. We were over at my mom’s house for dinner, and when we left, ONE firefly lit up the front yard. We chased it. All of us. You should have seen us. None of us had seen one in years. Like 30 years. Or more.
That one firefly was a sign. As we drove back to the lands west of I-35E, we stared off into the woody areas, searching for more lights.
And then, about two and a half weeks ago, at dusk, we were in the front yard, enjoying some fresh fruit with our neighbors. And there, in our yard, five fireflies lit up the night. We didn’t see any others in anyone else’s yard. Just in ours. Hmmm.
The night after that, our family took to the running path. On our bikes. We sped past the creek and through woods, delighting in God’s glorious creation. Hundreds of tiny sparks giggled and betrayed their veiled positions in the dim light. We stopped in a shaded clearing, the sun well beyond the horizon. Glory! Glory! Glory! Tears of joy welled up from somewhere deep within me as I watched my children chase and catch the fireflies – and let them go. I laughed out loud as our daughter noticed – and was amazed – at the upright manner in which the fireflies flew. They all flew vertically. Heads up, butts down, wings buzzing, toward the heavens. Glorious!
As I pray and ask Father about these amazing little creatures and their return to our region, I am dumbfounded by a few things. The single firefly in my mom’s yard, the five in our yard, and the hundreds – the multiplication – on the path. Several Scriptures and images come to mind. The fish and loaves. God is Light in 1 John. Numerically speaking, ‘one’ is the number for Father. ‘Five’ is grace, and the hundreds – well, that’s His miraculous multiplication. One Light of the World, Jesus, through whom the Grace of our Good Father is poured, measures a multitude – an abundance – a great, great harvest. I love You, God. You are so beautiful. I want to be a carrier of more of Your Light. I want to see Your abundance. I want to see Your Great, Great Harvest.