I couldn’t help but think of this gorgeous luna moth in the photo when I saw our reading in Ephesians today. It’s hard to fathom the evolution of such a gorgeous gossamer-winged creature, complete with faux “eyes” to confuse predators, without hearing “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life” in a whole new light.
The moth in the photo showed up on my front porch roughly midweek, and as I write this, this is the third day he’s been perched at various places on the side of the house and the deck. Considering the life span of an adult luna moth is about a week, the fact that he’s spent roughly half of it in my presence, it seems bittersweet and holy.
Luna moths only live as adults for seven days–the bulk of their life is spent as larvae, followed by pupation. The entire purpose of adult luna moths is to mate–they don’t even have mouths. The “call” female moths put out has no sound–it’s all pheromones–and males can find mates as far as 6.5 miles away. (Those large, fuzzy antennae can pick up quite a signal!) They mate, the females lay eggs, and then they simply starve to death. Yet they have this amazing camouflage that, once they’ve mated and released their eggs, might seem a waste. It would make more sense in some ways that being more discoverable (and more edible) might be better for bats and birds who could use the nourishment.
Yet they have been endowed with this mysterious beauty, all the same, and this particular moth, for whatever reason of instinct and habit, has evidently entrusted its dying process to my front porch. I can see its wings have lost its luster and gotten a little tattered; it moves less and less. Perhaps it is an evolutionary luck of the draw that brought this moth to my deck–in fact, I’m pretty certain it is–but why would an insignificant moth move me with its tiny window of life in its full adult glory? My own emotions about such a mundane speck in the created world is what makes me realize, “This is not all there is to it,” and raises the possibility that my life and everyone else’s is also a carefully prepared gossamer wisp of creation, certainly aided by biology and evolution, yet at the same time molded by a divine hand.
These mysterious bits of creation constantly remind me that, as grounded as I am in the sciences, that behind all the science is love–God’s love. Just as happenstance saw to it that I was to accompany this moth in his dying process, I need to remember that we are each also called to so many births, deaths, and everything-in-betweens in the carefully prepared, God-molded lives of all we encounter, and try to glimpse the holiness in each.
When is a time that nature or happenstance gave you a peek through the window of God’s love?
Image by Maria Evans