Respite day: A poem about bugs

I wrote a poem this morning— A break from recent evangelical pleas on previous blog posts. You can find it on my new pure poetry blog: THE POET WHO DIDN’T KNOW IT

I hope readers are still intrigued to follow along as I put on my whimsical hat and introspective goggles, depending on the weather. If not, or if there is a question to my mental stability, the Good Book covers this too. [2 Timothy 4:2-5] Click on that link if you’re cynical of my bold writing or a loved one with concern. It’s amazingly insightful! Let’s carry on for this day of respite–

With the launch of the poetry blog, I thought it would be good to bridge the links from poems to prose for a couple reasons.

First, to direct blog followers to the new site so I can build on that platform. Readership is what it is. Writing is cathartic. God has offered insight that there is more to this journey in the days to come. Investing my heart and time needs some net result— in due time. In His time.

Second, poetry is a new outlet for me and may be for some readers as well. My right-brain is dominant which causes my head to tip and look at the world from a different angle. (See what I did there? Artistic perspective.) However, I also have an issue with the left side of my mind trying to figure things out. Type-A. Enneagram 1. Logic and purpose hindered my art rather than allowing it to flow freely. That’s why poetry has become a new art form to let ideas flow without a finite conclusion or justification. The backstory will help me let go of my need to justify my words as well as readers who are too literal or too far fetched.

I was a commercial artist, not a fine artist. The birth of my daughter 22 years ago and the discovery she was a gifted artist at a young age opened our minds. Our family was blessed to have her perspective on the world. However, a product of her environment, she struggled with perfection. We didn’t demand perfection. She watch us persist until we were content– yes, perfection is an enemy, wisdom acquired late in life. I’ve watched as she is now taking the opportunity to loosen up a bit– so grateful she discovered the box found herself in, merely by emulating what she lived. [Sigh– if I could turn back time.]

Today’s poem is about a real experience our family endured a couple years ago. The poem [Nighty Night] is pretty blatant to describe the drawn-out saga. We finally overcame our plight with just one professional treatment. In any circumstances, dealing with parasites and pests in your home is maddening! In recent weeks, as we’ve been frantically cleaning our home to keep this invasive virus at bay, I couldn’t help but feel a trigger. Tension in light of the trauma experienced with bed bugs, more extreme that others are experiencing. The best remedy, I am finding, is to write out my emotions, pin them to a virtual wall (blog) and walk away. Unlike social media, it often sits there and fades from my mind with no response. A simple ‘like’ from another blogger. What’s the purpose? A reader somewhere in the world might absorb the words and feel less isolated with similar emotions. It is like Dr. Suess’ Horton Hears a Who. A voice cries out, “We are here! We are here!” An echo returns with a simple, “Thank you.”

At the end of the poem, you will learn we did finally break our silence. I truly hit a breaking point and posted something on Instagram (I was on a Facebook hiatus). My daughter was abroad, my dear husband tried to follow protocol but it was hard. I started a part-time job at UPS that summer, unloading semi-trucks for healthcare benefits, a workout, and extra income. It was physically demanding and mentally perplexing. I kept my full-time job a few months, working at UPS in the evening. The balance of an office job with a blue-collar gig was manageable; a respite from each world. I had no time during the week to deal with the bug invasion. Every weekend for a month was devoted to cleaning closets, washing and heat sanitizing clothes for myself, my husband, and my daughter who was out of the country, and storing them in giant zip-lock baggies. I had taken the extra job to help ends meet and pay down debt– our own and the college debt that was accruing. I’m not looking for sympathy, merely painting a picture of the mental stress. I would not wish this on anyone!

These experiences are best endured looking for the bright side, if possible. Also, with faith, trusting God has a plan and a purpose for everything. He never wastes our time. As challenging as it was to spend a month of weekends purging, laundering, and cleaning, I knew it was an answered prayer.

Opposites attract– I like to purge, he likes to save. For the most part, we went through things together. I would set them aside as he works (self-employed) most Saturdays. I’d ask, “Do you really need this many ____(whatevers)____? Eventually, the emotional attachment he had with stuff started to wane. The experience strained our marriage but helped it grow as well. Honestly, I had to resort to the logic, “Ask permission now or forgiveness later.” Almost two years later, he hasn’t missed a lot of the things that disappeared in that season of life.

This thought leads right into the scripture advising to store up our treasures in heaven [Matthew 6] rather than here where moths and pests can destroy. That entire chapter offers a lot of wisdom, including the Lord’s prayer– “Give us today, our daily bread.” In recent years of living lean, we’re are learning to take only enough manna (bread/food) for today and trust what we need will be provided tomorrow.

In hindsight, more good came from the experience. A wonderful new neighbor brought a meal, unannounced. She shared their experience with bugs from a bunk bed purchased on Craig’s List (before they moved next door). Her story, all the circumstances with babies and ministry life– they had a whole lot more going on than we did! Other friends told stories of lice and fleas, who aren’t lazy and invade your entire home– not just the bedroom. Grandkids and two homes affected by lice– ugh! Another dear friend told her story, managing the care of her husband battling Parkinson’s. The critters came home with him from adult daycare. Experiencing restless sleep, he often carried his pillow to the couch to sleep. Their entire home was infested! Aside from dealing with his health, their home was multigenerational so there was a lot to clean while juggling a job and caring for him. He had passed away by this time. Hearing her heart put things in perspective. I sensed she also felt the relief of sharing the story and letting go of the stigma or burden she carried. We were gathered with a group of friends who often did this for one another– listened and carried the load. Some cringed and scratched– completely understandable responses. At least they heard and voiced compassion; a bit softer and wiser, perhaps.

Another good thing– my boss showed his true colors on a day I was juggling it all. Granted, he had a right to have my undivided attention when I was in the office. We all know, work/life balance is key to living life in today’s world. He was still living life a decade or two in the past. I had worked for them (a husband and wife) 25 years before and knew what they had been like. Now, they were born-again and running a small-scale version of the company they had once before. They invited me to rejoin the ‘family’ business. We prayed together on the day I accepted their offer. The Spirit offered the words,”for a season” as I prayed with them. Three years later, with a bucket of anxiety and enlightenment from my evening job, I walked away. I may not have come to that blatant realization without those damn bed bugs and my need to stay home one day! That is story for another day.

This is a longer backstory that I envisioned. Nonetheless, c’est la vie!

I would like to offer a prayer and scripture reflection with each observation post–

Father God–
I don’t know what my readers are feeling today but I know you led them here for a plan and a purpose. I trust you will take their anxieties to lighten their load. I pray they find someone to share their heart with as well so that we come to realize, you created us to be in community with one another.
Amen!

Romans 5:3-5 “And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love.”

Philippians 4:11-13 I am not saying this because I am in need. I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances. I know how to survive in tight situations, and I know how to enjoy having plenty. In fact, I have learned how to face any circumstances: fed or hungry, with or without. I can be content in any and every situation through the Anointed One who is my power and strength.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope—never forget that.

Romans 8:28 We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.

How about a little song too? This is one of my favorite songs. You might recognize the scripture from Romans 8:28 in the lyric.

Symphony by Switch [YouTube Link]

God be with you— PEACE!
With His Love,
Lisa

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