The Parable of the Spider on the Car Window

When I hopped in my car this morning to head to a book club, I noticed a tiny spider on my driver-side windowsill. I assumed he would blow off when I started driving, as most spiders usually do. Every so often, I looked to see if he was still there, which he was. When I stopped at a stoplight, he started to move for the first time since I hopped in my car. The stoplight turned green, and as I took off, he stopped moving. The more I stopped for red lights, the more I noticed this pattern: when the car moved, the spider braced himself so he could remain on the windowsill as the air rushed by; when the car stopped, he took the opportunity to roam—only to brace himself when the car began to move again.

I am inspired by the courage of this spider. Rather than letting the winds of life blow him away, he held fast when his circumstances grew difficult. As life eased up momentarily, he moved forward and explored. He never let the winds get to him. (Well, perhaps he was complaining in his thoughts, but I pictured this hero holding on and thinking, “I can do this.”)

I became even more inspired by the spider as my drive progressed. After numerous times of simply holding on when the car moved, he developed additional courage, willpower, and knowledge. He slowly started to move even when the car moved. After each stoplight, he moved a little more on the next segment of my drive. And when he started to move toward the top of my window (which I didn’t want him near in case he found a way inside), I rolled my window down slightly. Each time I did, he moved back toward the windowsill, where I think he knew was the safest spot to be when the car moved. I love that he returned to his place of safety when his terrain began to shift.

I learned a lot from this little spider. He reminded me that when life becomes difficult, we don’t always have to plow forward at the same speed we’d been moving during more comfortable times. If we are tempted to lose hope, we can instead brace ourselves or return to our places of safe foundation (be they spiritual, emotional, etc.), grounding ourselves so we can at least hold on even if we don’t feel like doing so. (I was going to write “even when we don’t feel like we can,” but then I realized this spider must have believed he could hold on; otherwise, he wouldn’t have tried. Faith in ourselves, he showed, is part of developing courage to move forward during adversity.) Once we learn how to hold fast in the spot we’re in, we can start moving forward through our adversity a little bit at a time, just as this spider did. Eventually, we’ll see how we can move forward even when the metaphorical car we’re riding on may be moving faster than we’d like.

When our life experiences seem to be too much to handle, we can remember the example of this spider:
1. Take courage to not let tough winds blow us away.
2. Fortify or brace ourselves in principles and places of safety.
3. Learn to move forward one small step at a time.
As we develop courage one step at a time, we’ll be better strengthened to handle even fiercer winds ahead. The top speed on my drive this morning was only around 40 mph, but I have a feeling that had I traveled to the freeway, this little spider would have found a way to hold on.

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