When the Cicadas Come

Posted: June 9, 2021 in Uncategorized

Photo by Dewayne Heck

This morning the silence was deafening. The 17 year cicadas had already started their impromptu concert as I began my morning walk. It’s a time when I try to pray and meditate, but I have to be honest that droning song was so loud it was distracting. Because the traffic around our rural church moves very quickly with lots of blind turns, I often drive to our parking lot and just do laps. I was just getting started when the dear sister in the Lord who lives across the street came walking across to deliver the church’s mail as she has done faithfully since long before I made this church my home. We spoke a little bit about the loudness of the morning and I made the comment, “Well at least we won’t have it again for 17 years.” To which she laughingly replied, “I won’t be here.” She’s probably right, though with her character and vitality, I wouldn’t count her out, but she got me thinking. 

17 years is a long time. The first Cicada hatch in my lifetime was in 1970. I was seven years old and to be honest, I don’t remember it and that is probably a good thing. I never liked bugs and those bulging red eyes would have freaked me out. 17 years later it was 1987 and life had changed dramatically. The last few years had passed by in a wretched drunken blur that nearly ended my life, but all that changed in 1986 when I met the love of my life and later that same year I met my Lord and Savior. By 1987 we were planning a wedding. I still had a long way to go, my struggles in some areas of life would continue for quite some time but things were starting to look up. I was sort of a working artist (designing grocery circulars, does that count?). Surely in the next few years I would make it and become a raging success in the world of art.

By the next time the Cicadas came in 2004, another dramatic change had occurred. I was two years into a pastoring a church plant while working full time in publication design. I had just had a mild heart attack because I had been burning the candle at both ends and trying to light the middle, working as if it all depended on me. The heart attack had rocked my world and was trying to find balance. I remember being at the Creation Festival that year with some of our youth and other folks from the church. Somewhere there is a picture of my son Chris who was 10 years old at the time with a big cicada sitting on his Newsboys Cap’n Crunch shirt. I was still pretty sure I would be a professional artist for the rest of my working life. 

Finally here we are in 2021. I’ve given up on being a professional artist and strangely I am making the best art of my life. I’ve been married for 33 years, and I’m a grandfather. The church plant closed in 2012 and I started to do a traveling speaking ministry on the side. I use speed painting in the ministry and art started to be fun again. I lost my publication design job in 2015 and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I surrendered completely to God’s call to the ministry. For the first four+ years I was part time as a pastor and part time on the road speaking. In 2019 the church, asked if I would consider going full time. I agreed just three months before a worldwide pandemic decimated what would have been my travel schedule. Now the pandemic has faded, and doors are opening for a few traveling opportunities that will work around my church schedule and I am truly happier than I have ever been in my working life. The funny thing is I had plans for all these phases of life, and while I had inklings of what would happen, there have been many surprises and a lot of what has happened I could not have anticipated. The one thing I can attest to is through it all, God was faithful. That will not change but it does cause me to wonder, where will I be next time, when the cicadas come?

Where will you be?

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