A Swarming Invasion!

Months ago, we received news predicting that May through mid-June 2024 would be the optimum time for the thirteen to seventeen-year cycle of Cicadas. After making their appearance, we were told to brace for the invasion and especially the deafening noise that their mating calls would evoke. Experts said that if we could ignore them during the height of the season, it would soon be all over. Once their mating ends and the females lay their eggs…mission accomplished!

"What you looking at, Willis?"

Last Saturday, we took a short, forty-five-minute road trip east to a Decatur-area Walmart. It would be in this setting that we would have our first encounter with the annoying, buzzing, and even frightening Cicada invasion. After we had just parked in front of the store, and opened our car doors, we heard  blood curdling screams from three little girls approximately 3 or 4 years old. We presumed they were siblings and could see that their mother was trying to quickly get them into the store as they were screaming all the way!

Yum?
After arriving inside, we took our carts, and I noticed that the panicked girls had settled down and went on their way. After about an hour or so, we looked up to see that the little charmers had exited the store with their mother at the same time we did. The minute they hit the parking lot; they started screaming in fright once again. I had earlier thought that the girls were distressed by some annoying sweat bees swirling around the garbage containers. However, I quickly saw the real culprits… swarming cicadas!

The infuriating infiltrators were all over the place! Thinking about a blog article, I pulled out my camera and took a few pics. But immediately, I fell prey to their attempts to follow me into the car. I couldn’t shut the door soon enough. Monique and I sat there in our spot and soon heard an ominous chirp! She looked my way and said, “Is that one of them?” I reluctantly responded, “I hope not, but I think so!”

Within a minute, we heard two other chirps! Monique couldn’t wait to bolt from the car at Aldi’s and warned me as she did, “Please do something about this before I get finished shopping!” All I could do was say, “Yes, honey, I’ll try!” I tried to extricate the little critter who had gone to hide from me in the crack between the back glass and seat back panel that meets up with it! I unsuccessfully searched for an object to scrape him out, but after spying a nearby car wash with rows of vacuums, I thought, “Hmmm…I’ll vacuum the little booger out and send him into ‘cicada universe!’”

After lining up in one of the vacuum bays, I quickly found myself asking, “How do I open the doors and do this necessary extermination without inviting many other ‘dive bombers’ into the car’s cabin?” It was a daunting task in those few nerve-racking minutes of hurried vacuuming! The uncomfortable reality of all my efforts was that I never could say for sure that I had ridden myself of the pesky “little guy!” But the chirping did subside! So, I must have sent him on his way!

Later that day, I read an article trying to understand this “cicada invasion.” I discovered an interesting fact. I may have gone the wrong direction in using the carwash vacuum for my eradication because cicadas are drawn to the noise of machines like lawn mowers and leaf blowers! That noisy carwash vacuum explains why I was seeing so many more cicadas swarming in that space! They were following an “artificial courting call!” All I could do was laugh!

Noise! We live in a time of heightened activity and deafening noise! It is a cacophony of cultural distractions. It is hard to decide at times what really matters. We are pulled in so many directions. Our adult children and their families live at such a frenzied pace driven by minute-by-minute schedules! There are teenage work schedules, ball games, and numerous social, school and work commitments. And add to that the blessing of an active church life as well! All of this keeps them hopping!

I would be worried were it not for the fact that I know that both parents and children are grounded in their faith in Christ. I’m glad they are active in their faith communities where they interact and find friendship and support among other young adult families struggling with similar life issues! But my question is this, “How do families cope when they do not have such a grounding?” I fear that they do not fare too well!

Over thirty-five years ago I read a book by Dr. Tim Kimmel (noted author and CEO of Family Matters). The book had a catchy title: Little House on the Freeway: Help for the Hurried Home. Back in the day, it was a helpful resource for Monique and me when our own family was busy doing life. This book was re-released in 2008 and copies are still in circulation. It’s my opinion that not much has changed over these last years except it seems that this generation of parents is even more hurried!

Kimmel first passed this advice along back in the eighties, but it is still a good word for today. “God wants us to enjoy genuine rest – not just the “good night’s sleep” kind of rest that satisfies the body but an internal rest that bathes the soul in contentment.” Two words immediately jump off the page for me: contentment and rest. Who doesn’t need to learn contentment? And what reasonable person would refuse rest?

Jesus still invites “hurried” individuals and families to “dial down” by following His invitation, “Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me…learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message).

Don’t let a “swarming invasion” of hurriedness rob you of the peace, contentment, and rest that you desire! “Get away with Jesus!” He’s ready to pour out His grace for your journey!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com

Comments

  1. Great story, actually funny, but sure it wasn’t at the time, seems everyone has a lot on our plates but I pray God will be first on our minds. God Bless you all

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