faith, Pandemic Wisdom


My husband and son told me about it or I might have missed them all together. Fireflies. We have fireflies now. We all went outside one dark evening so I could see. It took my eyes a while to adjust and see them. I kept missing them, blinking or something. My son kept saying, “Mom, there. Mom, there. Mom, look up.” Finally I saw one and then I couldn’t unsee them. They were everywhere.

We’ve lived in the same home, in the same neighborhood on the same street for twenty four years. We’ve never seen fireflies here before. It was the simplest thing and yet it filled me with so much joy and hope.

My theology over the years has become tied to light. I believe God is light, Jesus was light and we are to be light. The Bible speaks of the light of heaven. I believe God communicates with light.

Fireflies seem to me to be a part of creation’s simple wonder that is out there communicating on God’s behalf.

People have speculated that the slowdown created by the pandemic has restored our earth because we’ve stopped driving, pushing, manufacturing and polluting so much. I know it is quieter and clearer on our street during these months. I’ve read that fireflies are adverse to light pollution so maybe enough lights have dimmed that they felt safe to return or maybe we’ve just slowed down enough to see them. Either way it seems simple and hopeful.

These times are hard. They are predicted to get even harder. So many are suffering from illness, the side effects of the shutdown, family stress, disconnection, food and housing insecurity, strained relationships. In our country we are at war with each other it seems over race, politics and issues of freedom…whose freedom and where and when? It is pretty hard and painful right now for everyone. We are not exactly our best selves. None of us.

I believe we have to keep looking for the light. We must be light to each other. We must bask in the simple pleasures whenever they show up. One of my devotionals today quoted Wendall Berry, a poet, author and farmer who writes of the pleasure that can come from simple things. We must consider our pleasures….the pleasures we take in our own lives, our own wakefulness in this world and in the company of other people and other creatures–pleasures innate in the Creation….Where is our comfort but in the free…mysterious beauty and grace that we did not make…Where is our sanity but there? Where is our pleasure but in working and resting kindly in the presence of this world? (The Art of the Commonplace)

The fireflies are here. That is enough for this moment. Amen


A note to my readers: I’m planning to take the rest of July off from blogging in order to watch the fireflies, rest in God and re-fill. Over the weekend this blog hit over 100,000 views. I don’t know if that is even high in the blog world but it is a humbling and huge amount to me. If 100,000 plus times someone read something I wrote and felt closer to God or helped or less alone for a minute, I’m so grateful and awed. Thank you for all reading, for sharing the blog on Facebook and Twitter and for encouraging me to keep writing. God is good.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mosa to Keller and Pace and breast cancer survivor. See for more blog entries, upcoming events and to learn about the weekly Jesus Calling Prayer Call she co-hosts each Tuesday at 7 a.m. CST.

8 thoughts on “Fireflies”

  1. As always you stir up in me a memory, a challenge or a wonderful thought. I remember fireflies (lightening bugs) from my youth and how we chased them but never catching them. Then as my young children discovered them there was lots of laughter. Thanks for your encouraging words. Enjoy your time away.

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