It’s 2016 which is a marked year. Yes, sadly it has been marked by the loss of some tremendous creatives, artists and others, but other things mark it. Stranger things. Red eyed, noisy things.
Maybe you don’t know what I’m talking about. Cicadas are bugs that emerge every 17 years. They crawl out from hibernation and live a very short life span of a few weeks in which their existence is to get out of their shell, get busy, lay some eggs, and die. Wait 17 years. Rinse. Repeat.
People here in the northeast kind of freak out about these critters. I find them intriguing. It’s one of those oddities of nature. How in the world, WHY in the world? I found some really interesting information about them. For instance there is actually some debate about the number 17 being unique. It’s a prime number. Another type of cicada emerges every 13 years. Another prime number. Bug science people hypothesize that could be to maximize their ability to essentially not be eaten as it lands in the gaps of lifespans of other creatures who would be the cicadas predators. They also affect other things in nature apparently, like birds. Normal birds you might see around your area, they might not show up until after the cicadas are gone as if they know the cicadas are coming too and just avoid it. It’s like a Kenny Chesney concert or a tunnel closing in pittsburgh- you know what’s going to happen, so you just don’t go there. They hypothesize that perhaps the sheer noise of the cicadas (a single male cicada’s chirp can hit 120 decibels. That’s a freaking rock concert, people) create issues for some birds. In this environment the birds can’t actually hunt the food they normally would because the cicadas are so loud. They are the annoying kid listening to his heavy metal without ear buds on the bus while you’re trying to read. Some of the science folk can’t even really say how the birds know the cicadas are coming, because often the draw down of birds in an area happens before the cicadas even emerge, and it can’t be because the birds remember the last time, because the birds life span is significantly shorter than the cicadas 17 year cycle, so birds might experience this phenomenon once every three bird generations. Isn’t this wild?! (For anyone interested, this is an incredible video documenting this oddity. If this somehow doesnt make you have some feels for the little guys, well, I guess I can still understand! haha!)
I was driving to a little gathering of some friends two weeks ago and I could hear the cidcadas singing their little love songs in the trees all around me. I find it to be a peaceful sound, it sort of ebbs and flows rhythmically. It made me start to think of that stuff Jesus talked about when mentioning the provision given to even the sparrows of the field, and how much more we, people, would be given provision. I’m in this incredibly hectic, emotionally and creatively “buzzing” season of life- where am I headed, what should I be starting, finishing, stepping into, away from, am I on track or way off?
At our gathering we were just sharing some stuff about life with each other, and many of us shared about a lot of these same things- decisions in life, and work, and business, and – always with that question “what’s next?” Last Sunday my friend Johnny shared a bit about the “parable of the cicada” which isn’t actually in the bible, but it kind of is. God has seemed to always speak through the locust. It is interesting that they have been markers of things all throughout scripture. So, Johnny questioned, “Why would God stop using that method?”
So here we are- a marked year. A marked season. Whether marked by nature, science, or something much bigger and more cosmic, it’s marked. God is speaking new things, leading to new places, marking things along the way. As I drove that evening, I began to think of the last time the cicadas were here. I was 17 years old. Next time they show up I will be 52 years old. I began to ponder what might happen in that time frame. Where will I journey? What will I accomplish? Will I have the guts to pursue some of the crazy things I feel in my heart? Will I succeed? Will I fail epically? It can quickly become overwhelming. Then, I heard the noise of the cicada amidst all my questions. Loud, steady, rhythmic, constant. Just like another voice, constantly leading, whispering, reminding, providing.
Every word that comes down will not go back unfulfilled.
This next 17 will be fun. Adventures are afoot and in short order. Stand by…