Meditation on a Fruit Fly
on a Fruit Fly
An essay by Stephanie Sorensen
I just finished reading Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead. I can only agree with her: How can anyone even say, “I don’t believe in God”? It is like saying “I don’t believe in gravity and I’ll dedicate my life to proving it scientifically, by George!” Even if I say “I believe in God” I am declaring an oxymoron. Poor gnat! Here I stand, with a mass of wet cells for a brain that has been endowed with consciousness, the ultimate, exquisite miracle of creation, and I dare to dismiss its Maker, dismiss Him (or Her?) of all genius beyond anything I am capable of ever fathoming.
This truth was imparted to me by a fruit fly the other day. He (though I think it was a she, I haven’t named her yet,) was doing her fruit fly thing, skittering across the counter from a bunch of hanging bananas, no doubt specking out a mate so she could deposit her eggs in my kitchen before her own demise, and I just looked at her: One of the tiniest of living beings in all of creation, (I stopped killing bugs years ago—I even insisted my children apologize to a daddy long-legs when I discovered them pulling off its legs) yet she is equipped with a heart, a fully functioning digestive system, a reproductive system and enough brain matter to know what has been passed down to her for millennia from her ancestor fruit flies, and what she needs to do next. And it is all contained in this minute body.
I doubt that my fruit fly is a victim of ideological conflict right along with the rest of us, nor do I expect her to make some entomologically appropriate appraisal of the situation, which would have nothing to do with global warming or the preposterous state of the current elections. The inadequacy of her concepts would indeed have nothing to do with the reality of the situation. Thus, neither do our opinions on the matter, even matter. I can truly say with the psalmist: I praise You for indeed I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
Steven Jobs’ last words on this side of the vale were, “Wow, oh WOW!” What was he seeing? I would give anything to know what Steven Hawking’s first glimpse of the next world looked like. !