Bagging the DC bugs

I’m so glad it’s spring! In Texas, spring only lasts for a few minutes and always includes light-up-the-sky thunderstorms, like the one we had last night. This season also means beautiful weather, time outdoors, allergies and noteworthy encounters with bugs.

I remember one such encounter last spring after returning home from a trip to D.C. I was 100% convinced that creepy, crawly things had hitchhiked in my luggage and moved into my apartment. Actually, I was beyond convinced.

Photo by  Erol Ahmed  on  Unsplash

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

I would have bet my chocolate, chocolate chip mini-bundt cake on it. That’s no small wager for me. If I could eat one every day and not gain weight, I would have my paycheck automatically transferred to Nothing Bundt Cakes to support the habit.

Before I digress too far on these magical cakes, I must recount for you my battle with the D.C. bugs.

On a Monday morning, I had small bites on my legs and arms and constantly felt microscopic things crawling on me. I kept searching my skin for the minuscule critters but couldn’t see them. I was like a dog chasing its tail. Luckily, I didn’t over-react. Not one bit. I just hauled my suitcases and large area rug to the trash, Lysoled everything that wasn’t edible, washed the bedding and vacuumed the floors and furniture

On Tuesday, I found small, brown, barely visible bugs on my sheets. I attacked them with clear packing tape while yelling, “Gotcha!” and put the tape in a gallon size Ziploc bag. My exterminator would thank me. He was going to figure out what type of bugs were harassing me and kill them dead.

On Thursday, the exterminator arrived with poison in hand. By that time, two bags of suffocated bugs lay waiting for him. He did an initial inspection and sprayed a general pest repellent around the baseboards. He promised to look at the perps I bagged under a microscope at the office. I felt better.

Photo by  Benoit Gauzere  on  Unsplash

ID-ing the perps

The exterminator came back the following Monday with no poison in hand. I hesitated when I saw him. The name of this bug that had hitched a ride with me to Dallas from D.C…. this bug that had decided to feast on my flesh and invade my abode...the name, is what pest control professionals in today’s modern society officially call, lint. You read that correctly. I was being chased by and providing a healthy blood supply for the ominous, piranha-like lint.

I was confused and stunned. I emphatically held out my arms, pointed to my ankles and told the exterminator I was fairly certain I wasn’t biting myself. He agreed and nonchalantly noted that I didn’t seem that flexible. Thank you, observant exterminator. Note to self, check out a Pilates class soon.  

As he left I wondered why I wasn’t sighing with relief and downright happy. Isn’t this truly a hashtag blessed moment? I had just avoided spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars ridding my home of a colony of nasty pests.

I think I was disappointed because I had been telling myself, and others, for seven days that I was a victim. I was ready for a battle and there didn’t seem to be one. At one point, I began to wonder if I was flexible enough to shove my ankle in my mouth. If I was, then at least I could call other exterminators until I found one that would lie to me. One that would tell me they found a rare breed of Amazonian bedbugs, charge me $1,000 and tent my apartment. Then I would feel better.  

Let it go, let it go (like Elsa, our Frozen friend, can you hear it?)

Our thoughts and perceptions have such a powerful influence over our ability to let the truth inform our reactions. And when we’re convinced with dig-our-heels-in certainty that we’re victims, we often won’t let go without ample commiseration and a fight.

Please don’t misunderstand, sometimes we are victims of great injustice and flat out unkindness, and battles need to be fought. But other times, it’s either all in our head or exaggerated in an unhelpful way. It might be just a self-pity flesh wound that we’ve diagnosed as lethal.

Maybe instead of acknowledging that we feel left out through no malicious intent of others, and taking steps not to be, or turning our thoughts to helping others, we lather ourselves in ketchup and marvel aloud at the blood spatter. We get out the white chalk, trace our bodies, call the medical examiner, and tell as many people as possible how we were taken out.

I’ve for sure done that before, and it does absolutely no good at all.

Life has enough no-kidding, hurt until we can’t breathe, victim moments that have been, and will be, part of our stories. It’s part of being human. I don’t want to add to them unnecessarily. Strength will be needed to fight the real battles and heal from wounds that have plunged past the epidermis to the bone.

Processing offenses with God and a trusted friend who can be objective is incredibly helpful. I find it important to pray about every single offense no matter how big or small, and trust that God will bring clarity and have compassion. He helps me walk out of offense, and he offers wisdom and healing for the smallest flesh wounds, the ones that cut deep, and self-inflicted ones too. Even the rare and venomous lint bugs.

What about you?

How have you let go of the victim mindset when you realized it was an overreaction? Equally as important, have you ever mistaken lint for bugs? It’s easy to do, right?! Right? I really hope I’m not the only one who has called an exterminator to get rid of tiny flecks of material. Please leave a comment below so we can form a club. We can call ourselves The Lugs.

Up next: I’ve been trying to provide hints at what I’ll post next. Sometimes it holds true, other times it doesn’t. The hint from the April 2 post is not at all what today’s post was about. As far as what truly is up next, I’m not sure. We’ll find out together in a couple of weeks. :-)

Catch up: The last post was titled “Is love on the list?” It was one of the best received posts yet. That made me happy! I was so grateful for the reminders from God that are captured in that post. If you missed it, you can find it here.