Two Doors, One Fly, and Much Imagination

  • Somehow, a fly became trapped between the screen door and the glass sliding door in my home, and I decided I was going to save his life. I managed to slide the screen door open while preventing him from flying into my apartment. All he needed to do now was zip a few inches toward the left from where he currently sat. He would be free and I would feel like a hero. I was so proud of my humanitarian efforts that I imagined him yelling, “Thank you, kind lady!” in fly-talk, of course, as he soared home to live the rest of his life in gratitude.

    Unfortunately, this fly wasn’t about to hand me this ego-boost on a silver platter. He ignored my help and instead searched for his own path to freedom by flying toward the right. He would stop to rest between attempts, as though to gather his energy or perhaps to convince himself to endure, only to try again – toward the right. I watched this fly make the same futile attempts over and over for the next half-hour. He would fly to where his way was blocked, then fly back to the same resting spot located mere inches from the opening I had created for him.

    I tried very hard not to judge him, after all, hadn’t I found myself in similar circumstances, knocking my head against the same wall – too stubborn, exhausted, or frightened to try another path – let alone an opposite one?

    I held my tongue, though I wanted to yell, “You stupid fly! The opening is right there!” I resisted the urge to pound on the glass door to shock him into trying something new. I attempted to use my never-before-successful skills of mental telepathy, sending the message, “Fly to the left!” while visualizing where “left” was, just in case he didn’t know.

    “I’ll bet this is what we look like to the heavens.” I said in frustration. We must look like this fly who continues to search for freedom through the same, unsuccessful path, never considering that there is another direction. I could just imagine the Divine Entities sitting on their heavenly clouds, watching us from afar and yelling, “Go to the left! Try something new! You’ve done that a million times already and it’s not working for you!”

    Do they pound on our metaphoric glass doors by throwing challenges our way? Cancer, car accidents, divorce, losing our jobs – are these just ways to wake us up and shock us out of our self-imposed mazes?

    It took about an hour for that fly to finally try another way. He is free now.

    It made me wonder what the equivalent of that fly’s hour of life would be to mine? Twenty years, perhaps?

    Julie Okuma

    What Do You Think?

    What Do You Think?