I hate spiders. They are creepy. However, I have always been fond of Charlotte, the kind spider in E.B. White’s classic children’s story Charlotte’s Web. Perhaps I set aside my dislike of spiders in Charlotte’s case because she was such a stellar model of what a caring friend should be.  

While I was trying to think positively about spiders this morning, I recalled the exquisite art piece they create. As a young girl living on a farm, I often saw these delicate silky webs shining on corners of the barn or in trees.  Sometimes I poked the webs with a stick not to destroy it, but to see it vibrate.  

Now, as an adult, whenever I see a lacy web, I still think of Charlotte, and I still stand in awe of the web’s beauty.  Today, a web also reminds me not of spiders (still creepy!) but of one of my favorite metaphors for life.

                            Life is Like a Spider Web
Life is like an enormous spider web so if you touch it anywhere, you set the whole thing trembling. As we move around this world and as we act with kindness, perhaps, or with indifference, or with hostility, toward the people we meet, we too are setting the great web a-tremble.
The life that we touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place and time our touch will be felt.  Our lives are linked together.  No person is an island.                       

Frederick Buechner

So, a New Year’s challenge for me is to set the web a-tremble each day by acting with kindness. I resolve that like Charlotte the spider, to tell at least one person each day, that they are: “Terrific, “or “Radiant,” or “Humble” or another choice of a positive, descriptive word.  When we affirm a person, we release positive energy. And who knows . . . maybe the person receiving our compliment may pass on an affirmation to someone else, and on and on “until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place and time your touch will be felt.”

Will you join me?

I still don’t like spiders, but I do like their webs.

Happy 2024!

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.