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The Cockroach Who Became A Man

by Randall Watters

Reprint from the Jun/Aug 1995 Free Minds Journal

Once upon a time there was a cockroach by the name of zuuzute, or we shall call him Bill. Bill was a normal roach. He liked nice decayed vegetable matter and a warm, damp bed.

But Bill had a growing dissatisfaction with his 95 activities (9PM to 5 AM). He was tired of the mundane talk about putrefied food, warm nights and smooth winged females. Not that he didn't have the same desires, but he wanted something more. Bill was tired of all the FS in life. (similar to BS to humans, only cockroaches don't know what a bull is; they disparage flies instead.) So he went down to the cockroach library and found a book - the Bible! In it Bill read about God coming down in human form of a human and explaining God, and even dying for him.

This distressed Bill. "Didn't Jesus die for cockroaches?" The Bible didn't say, and he felt caught between a rock and a soft place. Bill cried out to God (a dry cry) in his despair. Shortly, an angel came to Bill in the form of a butterfly. "Cockroaches aren't supposed to have such thoughts!" the butterfly said. "Besides, Jesus died for men."

Bill replied quickly, "Yes, Lord, but even the cockroaches feed on the crumbs which fall from the Master's table!" The angel, struggling with his butterfly disguise, said, "O cockroach, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish."

Now Bill, being familiar with a similar story in the Bible, expected to be transformed into a man right then. But nothing happened! Or so Bill thought.

Disappointed as only a cockroach can be, Bill scurried off to his favorite damp spot and fell asleep. Now, cockroach dreams are normally quite boring and somewhat disgusting from a human point of view, but that day Bill spoke a new language in his sleep. He thought new thoughts and saw life as no cockroach had ever seen before! It was like he was flying six feet over the kitchen floor, and saw wonderful things that no cockroach could even climb up to. Not only that, but he saw the PURPOSE of those things, by some amazing new kind of awareness. It was like his IQ had jumped from 2 to 75 in that moment!

Just then, the cat walked in the kitchen. Bill woke up with a start, and barely made it back under the fridge alive. As Bill sat there, his breathing tubes vibrating from terror, it seemed so far away. Everything in the dream was so beautiful, so much higher and more magnificent than any cockroach could ever imagine! "Yet, here I am," thought Bill, "a cockroach that doesn't fit in on the floor or with humans." Bill felt so alone, wondering why he was not like other cockroaches.

Bill knew it would be hard talking about this to the others. Cockroaches are notorious gossips. "He's too big for his own shell," some would say. Others would think he's got religion, especially with all the strange cockroach philosophies in recent times. One female cockroach named wizzouwiz had recently started a sect called the Dark Corner, where cockroaches with strange mannerisms had developed a strumming sound by stroking their long antennae against their hind legs while eating dried fish food. So Bill didn't say much.

That morning, as Bill went to bed in his nice damp corner, he read his Bible where Paul talked about dying to the self and putting on the mind of Christ. Bill wondered, what am I supposed to do, quit eating? Beat myself with my wings? And how do I put on the Christian mind, if I really even have a mind?

As Bill asked God for help and began to pour out his little cockroach heart, tears came to his eyes for the first time... precious drops of moisture that he had never experienced before. Undaunted by this little miracle, Bill was sad. He felt so small and insignificant! He knew he was no worse than any other cockroach, mind you, but they had nothing greater to compare themselves with. Bill was beginning to have actual human type thoughts, and suddenly cockroach thoughts became very insignificant indeed. As he slipped off into sleep, he dreamed of a great light and warmth, of what humans call "love," for which there is no comparison in cockroach language. In his dream, Bill saw a vision of Jesus.

"Please, Lord," Bill said, "I feel so lost and alone. I can't be a human, but my heart is too full to be just a bug." In the vision Jesus said to him, "I have given you the heart of a man. As you use it, you will think like a man and dream like a man. And one day, Bill, you will become a man."

Just then the freezer clicked on and awoke Bill suddenly. "It may have been just a dream," Bill thought, "but I do feel different." Later that day, Bill shared some dried cake and garlic toast crumbs with Peg, his neighbor. She was taken aback. "What has gotten into you, Bill? Cockroaches don't share food!" She was impressed at this new quality in him.

As Bill read about the life of Jesus more and more, he began to long to be with him and talk with him. His life with his cockroach buddies kind of fell by the wayside, except when he was helping them out. They liked him, but they thought Bill felt he was too good for them. Yet whenever Bill tried to share the Lord with them over a bite of dead fly or something, they would make fun of him. "Look, Bill," Charlie would say, "this is a bugeatbug worldthis is reality! You've got to look out for yourself."

Bill began to struggle with the two minds in him. A cockroach thinks one way, but a human thinks another. Because the human mind still seemed foreign to him, he would revert back to scurrying away with food and taking it all for himself. He would say bad things about other cockroaches once in awhile. He would fall into depression and think, "Oh, what's the use. This all seems so unreal. I'm a cockroach!"

Suddenly the words of the apostle Paul came to his mind, "Keep pressing forward to the things ahead, and forgetting the things behind." Bill noticed that in his down times he felt like just a roach. When he had the Christian mindset, he felt just like a human. Distressed at this seesaw mind of his, Bill prayed. "O God, I'm just a cockroach and I can't get off the floor. Have mercy on me." There was no answer; no butterflies this time. Only a nearby bee with a bad attitude.

As Bill kept reading and praying, however, God began to teach him things. He learned that, try as he may, God was not impressed with his pouting, crying out or his buggish attitudes. He began to see the uselessness of his old way of thinking and actingit got him nowhere. He longed to soar again, much higher than his own little wings could possibly carry him.

One day in a dream Bill felt the Spirit saying to him, "Bill, you are a dead bug. Leave it all behind. Have a funeral for your old self. Think my thoughts and dream my dreams. I am always with you. I will engineer the seasons of your life if you let me. I will open doors that no cockroach can close. I will take you places no roach has ever seen before. You will feel things beyond your imagination."

Bill awoke and hobbled out from beneath the fridge, still in a daze. His antennae sensed something near; very close. THE CAT! He was too far out into the kitchen floor to run back nowthe cat would surely get him. Any normal cockroach would have given up even trying. But Bill prayed. The cat stood motionless, as if made of stone. Bill put his feelers forward, then his legs, two by two. The cat watched, not moving, his eyes matching Bill's as Bill scurried off slowly back under the fridge. He praised God for a miracle, one of many more to come.

- R. Watters