Before I close up shop, I always check on the black widow. Sometimes she's out and proud - and beautiful. Sometimes she's tucked away. But I can usually see her legs. The other night she wasn't visible, so I put my face to the floor to check in her corner. At that angle I was nose-close to the edge of her web. For a moment I wondered what I'd do if she jolted out and bit my face. I still couldn't see her. For all I knew, she was in my hair.
I got to thinking, what is our first instinct when punched? Punch back, harder. What if we are called an ugly name? Call out an uglier name. What if we're threatened with a big bomb? Build a bigger bomb and declare war on everyone.
I was faced with a choice - would I feel so threatened that I'd want to kill her? She's been a totem for me all these weeks. Or would I be understanding? Afterall, I was infringing on her territory by putting my nose in her space. Wouldn't it be her instinct to protect her web? Maybe not. I've accidentally bumped her web before. Her response was to retreat. She's my hero.
On Monday, a fellow dogwalker [actual fellow this time] used his hands to try to break up a potentially dangerous fight between a pitbull and one of his charges. The pitbull's jaws tore a chunk of flesh from his left hand. Unstitchable. The pitbull's owners don't have insurance. The dog wasn't current on vaccinations. The dogwalker signed a "do not euthanize" report. He says it wasn't a malicious attack. He's my hero.
I read an article the other day about Bethany Hamilton, the 14-year-old who survived a shark-attack while surfing last Halloween. While still in the hospital, she begged divers not to hunt and kill the shark that bit her. She never panicked during or after the attack. She sees the attack as a blessing. And she lost an arm! She is my hero.
I've been a victim in my life. But if it weren't for every single moment that I've lived, I wouldn't be who I am today. I'd like to believe that everything that happens is a blessing - everything. I'd like to be my own hero.