The Cricket and Prayer

cricket - grasshopper - image by KERBSTONE from Pixabay

I am watching the clock and waiting for my son and husband to clear out of their morning bustle in the kitchen. The sun has just risen and is streaming through the windows, perfectly angled to my chair. I have my steaming cup of chai tea, my journal and pen, and my Sacred Space app pulled up on my phone. I have a packed day ahead, but I am determined to take the next 30 minutes for some dedicated prayer. Finally, the garage door closes, and a silent house is mine. Ahh.

And then I hear it. In my ears it is like a blaring car alarm going off right under my chair. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. I stop rocking in my chair, but it continues. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.

The sound of the cricket seems to be ricocheting off the walls. I can’t tell where it is coming from. I get down on my hands and knees. Silence. The cricket has spotted me, but I don’t know where he is. The silence holds for as long as I am on the floor, but the second I climb back into the chair, the torturous chirping begins again. Now I am thoroughly frustrated. I get the vacuum out of the closet, pull off the hand wand, and suction every nook and cranny I can find—behind my chair, along the edge of the wall, even down the steps to the garage. Confident that I have defeated the enemy, I recoil the cord, put the vacuum away, and retake my seat. Blissful silence at last.

Until…Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. This time I know where he is. That spirit not of God in cricket form is wedged in a corner between the stairs and the door to the garage. Although my blissful 30 minutes are now down to 15, I haul out the vacuum again. Imagining the cricket holding on for dear life to a single strand of carpet while its body gets blown by the hurricane force winds of the vacuum, I spy the transparent dust-collection cylinder for cricket body parts. There is no way out for him.

Finally, assured of my victory, I return to my chair, breathe a deep sigh, and try to get myself back in the space for prayer. Silence. As much as I want to focus, half of my mind is still wondering if I got him or not. I must admit, when I heard that chirp again, a tiny part of me was cheering for the underdog little cricket who had miraculously evaded the vacuum not once but twice. I had to concede defeat. I would forever have a new pet in my home. Chirp. Chirp.

I was down to 10 minutes of my prayer time when I finally opened the Sacred Space app. I tapped the “Begin the Prayer” button, and the random background sounds began. Some days it is chanting monks. Some days it is a solo wistful piano. That day, though, it was the sounds of nature, complete with waterfall, tweeting birds, and…chirping crickets. I had tried so hard to orchestrate the perfect prayer experience only to be reminded that the reality of the present moment—with whatever annoying sensory overloading moment I am in—can be a moment for grace. Waiting for the perfect time and place for prayer is a justification for bypassing a thousand perfect moments right in front of us—like this one.

The background noises of life are an orchestra setting the scene for an encounter with the Power of Infinite Love. Instead of being distracted by my need to orchestrate them, I need to see background noises as being orchestrated for me to listen. Now I see that instead of annoying spirit-not-of-God chirps, I had a one-cricket band playing just for me.

Image by KERBSTONE from Pixabay.

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Lisa Kelly is a wife, mother, and Ignatian Associate living in Omaha, Nebraska. She works to help organizations integrate spirituality into their planning and systems. She and her husband, Tom, completed the 19th Annotation in 2005, just prior to spending two years living in the Dominican Republic with their three young children, supporting the work of the Jesuit Institute for Latin American Concern. Additionally they have lived in El Salvador and Bolivia for extended periods.


  1. Lisa, I love the simplicity of this anecdote, and the reminder to seek the sacred where I am, not where I think I should be looking. By the way, throughout I was cheering for that tenacious cricket.

  2. Oh, Lisa, I look for your reflections to the point that I have prayed that I am not being sinful about it, but this one made me laugh. I’m a New York City girl who could deal with roaches because they made it clear THEY had survived the meteor in the Yucatán. But when we moved to the suburbs and I encountered my first cricket, I had a similar experience as yours except I made my husband take out the vacuum cleaner as I instructed him in hysterical tones where to look for the darn creature. Every time my husband put away the vacuum cleaner the cricket would make his presence known. After the third time I told my husband we had to sell the house right away. We never found the culprit. I feel that he didn’t want to live in the same house with an insane person, lol.
    That night, every time there was a noise I didn’t recognize I made my poor husband go chase after it.

  3. Life is a precious gift. Even that elusive Cricket keeps on praising the Giver and protector of life. Chirp. Chirp. Chirp could be an expression of thanks in the language of that precious living being. Thanks Lisa for this wonderful piece. I am even tempted to imagine that Chirp x 3 could be like our Amen 3 times.

    • yes, i think ignatius would say that little cricket is praising and glorifying God by being exactly what it is called to be and chirping away loudly (in my ears!)

  4. Thanks, Lisa, a song of joy to the cricket. Initially, I thought your post might be about that Australian summer obsession, The cricket. The bat and ball variety! One of my grandsons likes to play ball games with me in the backyard and even though I don’t have his boundless energy and tenacity I do enjoy the odd victory. Being noisy with the ones we love, heavenly.

    • obviously God is in that form of cricket as well! Nice to bond across an ocean and a hemisphere over the many forms of Presence in our lives.

    • Thanks for letting me know it made you smile. I am learning how Finding God in All Things really means to find God in all things, especially those things that annoy you!

  5. Oh, Lisa,

    I so enjoyed this story. You wanted “silence” to concentrate and I am of that same ilk, too.

    Yesterday, I waited until after work to say the Rosary with my husband. I tried my best to ignore whatever he was doing that sounded like his sleeve was moving against the chair back and try as I might, me being me, by the third decade, I just had to tell him to “whatever you are doing can you just keep still!”

    I must pray harder for patience.

    • Kathryn, Ignatius was one to always find God in all things and to respond in gratitude. I’m not sure you need more patience as much as the grace to find God in whatever your husband was doing, maybe just in the sound reminding you your husband was right there with you, and thanking God for that as part of your prayer.

  6. This reflection made me laugh out loud! How often have I been distracted in just this way. Thank you, Lisa, for letting me see myself and showing me a better way to pray.

    • Thanks, Emma! Recognizing how I come to prayer is a huge benefit of Ignatian Spirituality. And I think God appreciates when we can laugh at ourselves.


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