A fun-size co-pilot

Every day I drive in the midst of true inspiration. Eight-legged and unceasingly determined, Webster is a Pop Rock-sized spider that lives in the passenger side mirror of my Explorer Sport. The small, thrill-seeking spider has lived in my side-view mirror for about 4 and half years. He resembles an unground grain of pepper and adds that much more flavor to my daily commute.
As far as I can remember, the first time I met Webster was when I was a senior in high school. He came into my life with a screaming introduction. I was giving one of my friends a ride home from tennis practice. With her racket under one arm and her books in the other, she was reaching for the handle of the passenger door when Webster greeted her with a smile. (I’m not really sure what a smiling spider looks like…but I’m pretty sure he is the poster spider of smiling arachnids). Unfortunately for Webster, his warmth was not received well. She screamed like little Miss Muffit and took him down with a thick copy of Biology Today.
That day, I’d thought, was the last I’d see Webster. But to my surprise, the next morning there he was. Chilling in the sun on a dewdrop covered web stretching in its usual spot between the mirror and the passenger window. From that point on, I figured any spider that could take a beating like that can chill on the side of my car any day.
Ever since then, through rain storm and snow, through rolled down windows and startled screams, flying text books and gale force freeway winds; Webster has endured the worst only to greet me with a shiny new web and a big spidery smile the next morning.
Time and again I have advised Webster on better locations for his web. Perhaps stretching from the antenna to the mirror…or maybe even on the underside of the car. Wouldn’t almost any location be more fit for living that right in the path of inevitable destruction? Seriously, every time the window is rolled down, or an un-“spider friendly” friend is given a ride…his home is in danger. But, for some strange reason he seems to like it there best.
Today as I drove back from church I looked over to see Webster, the littlest Road Warrior, flapping happily outside my window, surfing the wind on an almost invisible thread. My pastor this morning talked about love, resilience and purpose and as I watched Webster take on the summer driving winds with joy, I realized that this little guy was a perfect example of what my pastor was talking about. He knew his purpose and he had (what appeared to me to be) unshakable joy. No matter who rolled down the window and destroyed his web, or greeted him with a Biology Today text, he bounced back the next morning, good as new and ready for another drive.
Why would a spider want to live on the side of a sport utility vehicle? Your guess is as good as mine. I can only assume that he shares my need for speed or perhaps my dirty vehicle attracts a nice assortment of death-wishing flies and an occasional pea-sized moth. Whatever the case, I’ve grown fond of Webster and I find his persistence and determination to be a daily inspiration.
Although, many of my friends think his webbing to a sign of poor car care on my part…I like to think of it as adding character. A sign of compassion for God’s creatures…great and small. So next time I give you a ride and you reach for the handle…be sure to give Webster the courtesy of a hello. And please, apologize after you thrash his web.

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