This morning I had the fortune of being locked out of an apartment I’ve been staying at. I stepped outside to soak in some rays and do 20 minutes of yoga and the next thing I know boom! Locked out. I surprised myself when my reaction wasn’t negative for more than a moment, probably because as soon as I looked around I noticed one of the tiniest ants I’ve ever seen carrying a big piece of something that looked like animal fat.
The piece of fat was easily 3x the ant’s size, but apparently that’s no big deal to ants. I watched the ant struggle with the fat, eventually dragging it into a crack in the sidewalk, what I imagine must be perceived as some sort of Grand Canyon to a mere ant. I thought the ant was taking it into the canyon to store it down there as food, but then the ant proceeded to somehow lift the fat out of the valley and go on to the next block of sidewalk.
As though the feat of pulling this massive piece of fat out of the canyon was not enough for this one tiny ant, the ant continued to amaze me by carrying the piece of fat away from the canyon…and then…back into it! Apparently the ant wasn’t carrying the piece of fat anywhere specifically so much as getting in a good ole-fashioned workout. We flip tires, ants carry fat. Not so different after all, right?
So there I am, watching this ant doing it’s daily workout, and next thing I know – Ohhhh no! Bigger Bug comes sneaking along and snatches up the fat.
I was caught in a moral crossfire. Should I act as local law enforcement and prevent Bigger Bug from robbing the ant of it’s weights and potential food for the day, or do I allow the Laws of Nature to carry themselves out as I passively marvel in the whole scene?
My philosophical and reasoning tendencies kicked in hardcore. Do I really want to disturb the Natural Order of things? Certainly this type of event happens all the time, so who I am to act as an agent of justice in this case? Does Bigger Bug have a right to the food since it is higher on the food chain? Is this fat heist a critical moment in the ant’s life so that it can learn from the experience and maybe stop lifting so many weights?
I paralyzed myself in thought, and ultimately did not act to defend the rights of the helpless ant.
Only afterwards did I realize that an opportunity was presented in front of me to stand up for the rights of the Little Guy, the ant, and I did not seize it. I made various excuses and ultimately did not act. Of course, I don’t foresee myself now going around defending ants and ensuring that the bigger bugs don’t steal their food, but I will certainly exercise my own will to defend the Little Guy if the opportunity presents itself to me, and I feel that is a responsibility we’ve all got to take on.
The lesson from the story of the ant and Bigger Bug extends far beyond how we treat insects. The way I see it, we, as human beings fortunate enough to be using the internet and reading this post, and really any educated human being, or at least anyone in America – WE! are all endowed with tremendous gifts. We are blessed and live in a land of abundance. We have been given opportunities for health, wealth, and prosperity in all its forms. I don’t know what I did to deserve this lot in life – likely nothing – and yet some people across the pond and even across the street might be experiencing a lot of pain for various reasons. In so many ways, as Americans, or even as Literate Human Beings, we are not simply Bigger Bug in the story, but we are the Higher Being who can exercise willpower to act against injustice and serve the Little Guy, the ant.
We are empowered. We are not necessarily as powerful as Mother Nature or as God, but in so many ways we are given the opportunity to control reality and create events and experiences with the use of our physical bodies and mind. If we want to, we can always serve the greater good and be agents of justice. Sometimes we may miss out on an opportunity to stand up for the Little Guy, but rest assured – there are many Little Guys out there who can always use a smile, a helping hand, and a prayer.
As best as we can, let’s not make the same decision I made this morning and stand by indifferently when we are witnessing an opportunity to defend the rights of the Little Guy. Next time you see Bigger Bug trespassing against Little Guy, take a stand and exercise your powers as a Higher Being.
My friend Mandy sends out a daily prayer. Today’s was based on Proverbs 3:27:
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.