I catch lightning bugs, and then set them free. Let me explain.

I am a performer turned songwriter turned copywriter turned eccentric problem solver. I am a writer by trade and a creative missionary by practice. I think, therefore I am, but I am, therefore I’m at least the slightest bit insane. Insanity can be like darkness: impossible to capture in a jar. But insanity can also be like a lightning bug hovering in that very same darkness: capturing it becomes all the fun.

If you manage to capture it (the lightning bug that is), even if for just a second, you can’t help but bask in its magical glow. That’s a fact. But there are three kinds of people who catch lightning bugs.

There are first the ones that hunt lightning bugs to crush them, dissect them, hoping to empty them like a glow stick and smear their luminescence on everything in sight. These people soon find out the glow dims and fades to black, leaving them with nothing but dark, dead bugs. Nobody likes dead bugs.

Second are the ones who seal the jar (usually after catching a few more lightning bugs), creating their very own lightning-bug-lantern. They show it off and people applaud, thinking back to when they used to catch lightning bugs. This lightning-bug-lantern, in all its glory, is then put on a shelf where it glows for a while. But eventually the bugs die, and nobody likes dead bugs.

Finally are the ones that capture the lightning bugs, only to set them free. They’ll spend hours in fields, jumping to catch just one perfect light. Most of the bugs float just out of reach, begging to be forever free, praying their hunter will give up and go home. And when giving up is all that’s left, one lone lightning bug finds its way into the jar. And then another, and another, until the jar becomes a beautifully radiant lightning-bug-lantern. But this captor is different than the others. Unlike the first captor, he cares not why the jar glows and instead revels in its beauty. And while the second captor loved himself for capturing the lightning bugs, this one loves only the lightning bugs. He adores their magic as much as anyone else, but truly wishes they’ll live long and happy lives. He knows setting them free may one day lead to their demise, but it’s the only chance that they have to survive. And maybe, just maybe, someone new will see one of these freshly-freed lightning bugs. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll add it to their jar.

My name is Austin Sabattis. I am a performer turned songwriter turned copywriter turned eccentric problem solver. I catch lightning bugs, and then set them free.