Summertime means bugs (particularly, stink bugs in Eastern US). Bugs bug us. We don’t like to be bugged so we kill bugs. We are playing gods, taking it upon ourselves to decide matters of life and death. No big deal, right? After all, it’s just a bug, right? Right, it is just a bug.
Where am I going with this? Right here, to this thought: you are missing an opportunity for compassion-training. Get yourself a $30 dollar BugZooka (which is a battery-free, catch-and-release, pump action hand-vac) and spend this summer practicing compassion.
Let me clarify a couple of things. First, I am not advocating for bugs. I am advocating for myself. I live in the world that is more of a jungle than it theoretically has to be, in a world that plays mindless god left and right, in a world that could certainly benefit from a bit of compassion-training. This kind of world is unsafe, for me, for you, for anyone. So, my interest in compassion-training is entirely self-serving. Sure, I care about the bugs too.
Case in point, one recent morning as I got up to wash my face there was a moth in the sink on its back, flapping its wings. It was stuck. Its wings were “glued” to the walls of the sink by the moisture. I opened the trashcan and rummaged for something thin yet hard to help the moth peel off away from the surface of the sink. I found the cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper and tried to use this. It didn’t work: as I tried to scoop up the moth, I kept damaging its wings and it would flap wiggle its body in desperate agony. I felt like Saddam Hussein in a torture chamber with a captive audience.
I knew the BugZooka wouldn’t work in this situation because the wet moth would be stuck inside the capture chamber and I’d have to scrape it out somehow. So, I opened the faucet, hoping that as the water fills up the moth might be able to flip over on its stomach at which point I could try to scoop it out once again. It didn’t work. It got sucked into the drain to its death. I felt bummed out for a moment: as primitive of a life as it was, it ended. There was no lingering guilt (after all, I did the best I could) just a moment of regret, a moment of identification, a moment of compassion, a moment of humanity.