This evening I stood along the road and watched fireflies dance under a beautiful sky. The sun was setting and the clouds were pink. Birds glided to and fro through the air. There was no breeze. Piano and cello music played in my headphones. What a perfect moment. What perfect peace.
I walked along the side of the pond and watched the fountain spray droplets into the air. I observed the ripples in the water as they floated away from this great disturbance. In the midst of all this beauty, I felt a distant pain in my heart. It was as if I was homesick for a place I’d never been. I wanted to cry, but I was held back by two feelings: one that I had already cried all my tears and the other that I had so sealed my emotions that none could possibly get through. It was a moment where I found myself hungry and thirsty for something that I could not put my finger on. The heaviness weighed greatly on my heart.
I find myself afraid to become anything but paralyzed by the fear that I will not amount to anything at the same time. These dueling emotions leave me stuck somewhere in the middle. I wonder what I have been afraid of all my life. I wonder why my heart endlessly resists this peace. Why can’t I dance like the fireflies under the great tree? There is something magical that happens when God’s glitter fills the night air with small flashes of light. You can’t see them coming and you can’t see where they went. Just a small glimpse and they’re gone. If their lights stayed on any longer, perhaps the moment wouldn’t be quite so filled with magic.
Maybe it’s the child-like wonder that I still have from time to time that keeps me here in this moment. As I sit down to describe to God the deep longings of my heart and the ways I desire to know that He believes in me, He stops me and says, “What if you are like one of those fireflies? What if you never did anything for me but scatter my glitter through the night air? Would I love you any less?” I dismiss the statement as irrelevant and continue with my ramblings as He once again whispers, “What about the fireflies?”
People must have thought I was a little nuts standing still on the side of the road staring at what seemed to be nothing. After all, moving cars wouldn’t notice the little flashes of light. They slowed down as they passed me to try to figure out what it was I was looking at before they continued on their way. I was mesmerized. Most of me didn’t want to waste time staring at fireflies. Even though I had nowhere to go, it was against everything inside of me to stop what I could be doing and just enjoy. Surely I should be reading my Bible or something. There, that must be more productive.
“What if you are like one of those fireflies?” What if I have no other purpose? What if my life is just that meaningless? Could I be at peace simply dancing through the night for the few short days I have? Is it possible that my life could have more meaning as the firefly than as a popular activist, or a world-renowned humanitarian, or even as a missionary? How could that be? Well, if I were any of these things outside of my Creator’s design, it wouldn’t matter what I accomplished in all my pet projects or all that I sacrificed in my years of service. For if God wanted me to be a firefly, then what does anything else matter?
Does the firefly ever wonder if he isn’t everything he was created to be? Does he ever sit on the ground too afraid to flash his beautiful light? I don’t know. I used to think that I cared too much about things that didn’t matter. Sometimes I wonder what really does matter. If God is perfectly happy to let the firefly be the firefly He brilliantly designed her to be, then maybe I need to reevaluate what I think is important. As I watched the lights dance through the air, it was like I was closer to God’s heart than I have been in a while. I could feel Him delighting in all that He saw. He had everything in the world to be concerned about, yet He stood next to me to watch the fireflies dance. If I had not been sick today, I probably would have missed this simple wonder.
What if I never accomplished anything in my life? Would that make me a failure? I guess that depends. And what if God asks one person to be a world-renowned humanitarian, such as Mother Teresa or Amy Carmichael and asks another person to be a firefly? What if both become exactly what they are meant to be? One person changes the world; the other flashes her light under a simple tree that no one sees. Which one is greater to God? Which one fulfilled her purpose more? Could I believe that it is neither?
Could I be content to be the firefly? Would I dream of one day doing great things and be disappointed when my life amounted to a brief flash of light? What if no one saw it? What if for my entire life I faithfully flickered my light for God alone? Was it all a waste?
Perhaps it is the sparkle in the Creator’s eye that makes it worth it. As He stands along the roadside mesmerized like a child by His creation, His heart delights in what He sees. Surely it is not the endless striving of a weary and wandering heart that brings Him joy, but rather a shameless dance in the night. Like a little girl jumps on the coffee table to twirl for her daddy, I want to drop my pride to the ground and let my heart dance before Him. I want for Him to delight in me. I doubt that anything else matters. I’d like to believe that so many other things do, but what about the fireflies?
I’m tired of trying harder every day only to discover that I am not enough. I’m tired of falling at God’s feet in tears, begging for His strength to carry on. I’m tired of trying to change the world only to fail. I’m tired of trying to prove my worth to my Creator in an effort to earn a love that He has already given me. I’m tired of believing that His love for me is proportional to the usefulness that I can offer Him. My heart knows the truth. The problem is that I don’t stop long enough to hear His whispers along the roadside. I don’t notice God’s glitter filling the night air. I can’t get past myself. I glance at the girl in the hoodie staring at a tree and think to myself, “What a waste of time.”
What if I am wasting my time trying to become something that I was never meant to be? What if I am not ready to become who God created me to be until I learn to accept my pure uselessness to Him? What if from God’s perspective, we are all just fireflies dancing in the night? One thing I have come to understand: there is no greater nor is there a lesser in the Kingdom of God. There is only love, grace, and obedience. More than anything else, I want to be my Creator’s delight. I want to look into His eyes and see that sparkle as He looks at me. And I will dance for Him all my days.