spider-webOne year in the Fall, my husband and I sat on our boat dock when the moon was at its fullest, its reflection floating on the dark surface of the lake like pieces of a silver puzzle.

On both ends of the dock, where posts held up the metal roof, were spider webs lit up by the moonlight. One of the webs was strong, but delicate-looking, and classically precise; an ever growing circle, attached symmetrically by what must have been a ‘craftsman’ spider. The web was beautiful, in fact, it was perfect.

The other was a ramshackle sort of web, attached in a haphazard way to the post, almost like the run-down house of a derelict drug dealer. Loose strands hung from it, and there was no discernible circle to the web at all.

The spiders spun their webs to catch night bugs attracted to the lights on the boat dock. You might think that the classically perfect web would catch more bugs. No way. Not so. The derelict spider’s web was literally covered in trapped insects, while the craftsman’s web had none for a long while, and then only one or two. Still, night after night, the craftsman spider kept spinning and spinning, while the derelict one chomped on its plentiful catch.

My husband and I joked about this, comparing it to my writing. At the time, I was trying to find a literary agent for a book on which I was diligently working, but I hadn’t had any success. My husband grinned and pointed to the untidy web catching all the bugs. “Maybe you ought to take a lesson from that spider. Don’t be so hung up on perfection. I mean there are plenty of harebrained books out there that sell.”

I admitted that human beings have similar experiences. The most diligent worker isn’t necessarily the one who succeeds first. But if he continues to be persistent, success often comes. Being an optimist, I fully expected the situation to change for the diligent spider. So I said to my husband, “The first to succeed is not always the one who endures.”

Except night after night, the same thing happened. The derelict spider kept catching the bugs, and the diligent one kept spinning.

Then, a tornado hit across the lake. And on our side, trees were felled and boat docks blown about. After it was over, we went to look at any damage done to the dock. There was none. The only thing different was that the derelict web had vanished. Amazingly, the diligent spider’s web still hung, not quite as perfect, but it had survived.

There are many morals you could attach to this story: A house built with a good foundation will last;  or don’t take the quick way. But for me the most relevant is: Be true to yourself. You are a child of God, so never underestimate what He will do in your life.

Not long afterward the tornado hit, I found a literary agent. She didn’t last long, and my book wasn’t published right then. But I’d taken my lesson from the finely crafted web and kept spinning like the diligent spider. And today, I’m happy to be a published author.

Copyright 2014 Kaye Hinckley