What I Learned from the Death of a Moth

There are, on our living room ceiling, three scuff marks. I say scuff marks, because that’s what they look like, but in truth they are the dust left by the wings of a moth.

There was a moth on our ceiling, and our friend Mallory killed it with her long arms.

As its last act, the moth turned to dust, as all moths seem magically to do, and some of that dust is still there—three spots of it gazing down at us while we recline on our couch.

We wish so badly to be noticed. We comb our hair, we tidy our house, we wear our footy pajamas to lunch, we get a new tattoo, we tweet and re-tweet, we set objects on fire, we camp out in vague protest of government policy, we do good, we rebel, and with our final and only breath we brush the dust of our wings on someone’s ceiling, anyone’s ceiling, in one last doomed effort to be noticed.

How’s that working out?

We hear that it is more blessed to give than to receive. (I’ve somehow always assumed that this applied only to Christmas presents—probably because that’s when I was reminded of it each year)

What if it is more blessed to notice than to be noticed?

I want to be a notice-er.

Or would it be noticer?

Someone who notices. That works.

Today I noticed the legacy of that moth. I noticed the strangely elongated shadow of our blinds on the ceiling as the morning light stretched its way across the room. And I noticed pain—the gut-punching pain of someone watching their son die slowly right in front of them.

It can be a dangerous thing to notice. We might see things we would rather not be aware of.

And I’m mostly too self-absorbed to notice much beyond myself.

But every once in a while, some good is worked within me and I notice something.

I’m grateful.

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