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Joseph Snyder
On Conflict (January 2023)
Inward Light

Esther is a common orb-weaving garden and house spider, Araneus diadematus, sometimes called a Cross Spider because of the marks on her abdomen. She is a good tenant. We have noticed that since her arrival, our population of fruit flies has decreased to near zero, as has the number of mealy-moths flying around. In return, she is protected from the chickadees. Most mornings, while I am preparing our breakfast omelet, Esther is repairing her web from the night’s adventures. She meticulously attaches her silken fibers to the radial spokes, one by one, spiral by spiral, to our delight and wonder.

I have become fond of her.

Esther only knows how to do a few things, but these she does exceptionally. She weaves a beautiful and highly functional web, which provides her sustenance. Not only a trap, it is also a sensitive receiver of motion and sound, incidentally making our world more wondrous and beautiful. She traps and eats flying insects. Thank you, Esther. She can tell the difference between the web swaying in the breeze and the faint tug of a tiny fruit fly – waits patiently through the first and responds immediately to the second. And she does wait. Esther is very, very good at waiting.

Friends may do well to learn from Esther. We often rush hither and thither from one project or concern to the other. Can we recognize our own special gifts, as individuals or communities, and sink down deeply into them? Thereby we might make them ever more functional and beautiful, leaving others to exercise the gifts we lack. We can learn that our work, while not solving all the problems of the world, serves an important function and may contribute beauty and joy. We can learn the difference between the blowing of the wind and the necessary task that tugs at us.

And we can learn to wait. Did I mention that Esther is good at waiting? ~~~

Then we shall no longer be children, or tossed one way and another, and carried hither and thither by every new gust of teaching, at the mercy of all the tricks people play and their unscrupulousness in deliberate deception. If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow completely into Christ, who is the head by whom the whole Body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each individual part to work according to its function. So, the body grows until it has built itself up in love.

– Ephesians 4:14-16

Joe Snyder is a retired country veterinarian and a member of Multnomah Monthly Meeting in Portland, Oregon (NPYM).


Patience Environmentalism Ecology

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