If one is a people person, how does one find life with living alone? What enhances the quality of daily living? I work and meet many people at my daily full-time job; how and where does one find life at home? Yes, I welcome the time to be quiet, but I also enjoy life and have a need to be with others besides work hours.
Appreciating life in all of creation, the little as well as the big, deepens one’s love for life. After coming home from work each afternoon, I have my usual routine: I pick up the newspaper, turn on the TV, sit in my recliner, turn on the lamp and begin to read the daily paper.
This particular evening, after I turned on the TV, sat down and began to read the paper, a fly comes buzzing between me and the newspaper, doing a dance, ups and downs, back and forth. It was like showing off. I let go of my right hand from the newspaper to grab a magazine, rolled it up and wanted to kill it. Then I thought, “Why do I want to kill it? I have no other living thing in my apartment, no plants and no pet. When this lone fly saw me sitting in the chair, it wanted to make an attempt to get to know me. It wasn’t harming me.” Instead of killing it, I decided to enjoy it. I watched it dance, landing at various spots on the paper, up and down, back and forth. I enjoyed its dance. After reading the paper, I enjoyed my evening meal, cleaned up and didn’t know where the fly went. I retired for the evening; the next morning it was off to work.
The next evening coming to my apartment and having forgotten about the fly, I repeated the routine of turning on the TV, turning on the light and sat down to read the paper. Sure enough, shortly after reading the paper, the fly comes out from under the light and again is doing its dance between me and the newspaper. As if it was waiting for me. It found me more interesting than climbing up and down the wall and being by itself all day. I enjoyed watching it and was happy that I didn’t kill it the evening before. I began talking to it. “How are you? Did you have a good day?” Could the fly sense something that it and I have alike? What attracted it to me? What attracted me to it? It was beginning to feel more like a “friend” than a pest.
The same encounter happened coming home after the second day and third day. The following morning when I was leaning over the bathroom sink brushing my teeth, there was the one and only fly crawling around the sink. I stopped brushing my teeth and said, “Hi.” It stopped when it heard my voice. “You like being where I am; how special you are. How did you know that I was in here? People talk to their plants, why not talk to a fly?” We are becoming friends.
The following afternoon, coming home from work and turning on the TV, the lamp and sitting down to read the paper, I waited for the fly to appear. I waited and waited. No fly. I started to look around. What happened? I was missing it. It never showed up after that. I was sad.
The fly was alive. I was alive.
Is the life we share the same, differing only in levels?
Do we have the same God-given life varying only in degrees?
Does focusing in on details help one to live more fully in the present? Does appreciating the simple things in life deepen one’s appreciation of all aspects of life? It does for me.
Margaret Mandernach, OSB
This story was written for Stories Like You’ve Never Heard Before…, a compilation of stories written by Sister Margaret Mandernach.