in praise of cockroaches

>> April 13, 2010

If there is one insect I really hate, it's a cockroach. I spent some time in a village in the Philippines, where there must have been a dozen different kinds.

One morning I woke up excited about my new stash of fresh apples that had been delivered from town the day before. I was horrified to find them COVERED in inch-long roaches, having a regular fiesta! I didn't want to spray bug spray on my precious apples and I was too mad to let them live. In a flash I grabbed a fork and had 6 of them impaled before they knew what hit them (pretty impressive, since cockroaches see the world in slow-motion).

So you can just imagine that when we moved into our new home here, I was not at all impressed to find fat black roaches infesting my new garden plot. I am going to get RID of these roaches! I thought. I used bug spray on a lot of them and then turned to google for answers. You can find anything online, right? What I found wasn't what I had expected. I was sure there was no good purpose for roaches, but I was wrong! I was surprised to discover that roaches are good for composting. The roaches and I would simply have to coexist, because I love gardening.

This year we had a compost pile for the first time. It was rich, smelly, fluffy, red-brown. And FULL of roaches and other insects. I must confess I can't say I LOVED getting in the middle of it with a shovel, but I knew that if my plants could talk, they would take one look at it and say, "YUMMY!"

I had plenty of time to contemplate on this in the warm sun of that early spring day. It's really neat how God's taken so many of the ugly things of this world and used them to make something beautiful. Just like 1 Corinthians 1:27 says God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.

I only pray that He will use the little irritations in my life to work within me the kind of beauty that will come from my garden in a couple months.

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