Termites and the Resilence of the Human Spirit

On Sunday I spoke in front of over 200 people and my opening line was, “This is the Day the Lord has made, Let us Rejoice and BE GLAD in it, let us receive this day as a gift, blah blah blah…”. No really, it was profound and I meant it. I pray most mornings, “In the beginning, God said, ‘Let there be Light’ and there was Light. This very day God has acted. May God’s name be praised”.

Starting a day in such a way should serve to prepare one’s heart and mind, soul and spirit, speech and behavior for selflessness, gratitude and generosity throughout the day. However, my days do not always play out in such a free and light fashion…insert real life example: YESTERDAY!!

Here is a list of things that seek to overwhelm or sink me in a major or minor sense depending on the day:

-changing bunk bed sheets

-having a sick kid and not knowing for sure if a doctor visit is necessary

-neighbors in my backyard who are bothering me, my kids, my newly planted grass with their language, behavior, muddy shoes etc…

-bugs inside my house

-unmet expectations and plans being changed or cancelled (especially due to inclement weather)

I’m not proud of this list, nor is it an exhaustive list of all that can cause me emotional, physical or mental distress on an ordinary day. It is a bit of the picture of who I am (and probably what I need to work on!).

I woke up yesterday tired from a weekend away and with a slight sickness that made me mildly but constantly uncomfortable all day. I also woke up to a crying and fussy 3 year old daughter. Having been out of town all weekend, I wasn’t sure what had preceded these tears and cries of anguish. Everyone assured me she had acted fine and healthy all weekend. Her discomfort and unease was however convincing enough that indeed, all of a sudden, this morning, she was sick. We called the doctor and had an appointment within the hour.

Sure enough, poor Andi was inflicted with yet another ear infection. Her third in three months which substantiates that something needs to change in the treatment and checking up plan. Poor sister was in a lot of pain and didn’t feel like herself. She got meds (affordable but effective meds) and we headed home. We were home 5 minutes, when she scraped off half her foot while closing the front door. Ouch indeed, and more crying and tears would ensue for the next 4 hours, off and on.

Around 11am, we had friends to play and neighbors randomly popping over. The afternoon was shaping up nicely as we drew on the driveway with chalk. That is until I noticed some bugs flying about. I dismissed them at first thinking they were harmless spring flies…until I turned around. There in the crack of my driveway and garage was a SWARM of not friendly bugs, but TERMITES! A massive swarm, in the crack, all up and down the garage wall and creeping into my house. I ran inside and indeed found them on our downstairs furniture and carpet.

This was terrible and nerve breaking news. This was event number 3, of the day, on the “what breaks Linds” list (forgot to mention that I was washing the bunk bed sheets and needed to remake at least one bed before nap time when the swarm broke out!)

I told the kids and their friends to stay out of the house and we all watched them swarm and fly about on the driveway. I called Drew in a teary panic and with utter frustration. He graciously answered his phone on the busiest work day of his life- the day before tax day 2012! Together we agreed we should be under warranty from our termite issues of last summer (this is unfortunately the 4th swarm I’ve witnessed at my house!). We hung up so Drew could return to the stress of taxes and processing and I could return to the creeping, flying swarming party happening IN and around my house.

My sweet and calming friend Kristin arrived 6 minutes into the panic to pick up her kids. What a gift to have a friend who sat with me and flicked termites off her shirt, assuring me that it would work out, being mad with and for me that they were here, and talking me down off the ledge. All the while, our children smashed and watched the bugs- staying relatively calm and positive about the whole thing.

We are under warranty and should have them retreated in a couple of days. No new swarms in the last 24 hours.

Today I was invited to the “Women Who’ve Changed the Heart of the City” luncheon to benefit City Union Mission’s ministry to the homeless of Kansas City. It was a generous invite from my friend Binny and a privilege to sit in the 500 person room today. The food was great and the presentation polished and meaningful. They honored three women who have changed the heart of the city. One of the honorees was Laura R. Hockaday who wrote for the KC Star for 38 years. She turned the “Society” page into the “Peoples” page and expanded the narrow social news focus to include the good work being done by oft overlooked Black and Hispanic populations in the city. Today when Elizabeth Alex, the emcee, asked Ms. Hockaday what most formed her as she conducted so many interviews with people around the city, she answered, “I learned deeply about the resilience of the human spirit”. She was changed when she heard stories of people’s hardship and saw how they had overcome.

Obviously, my yesterday was not real hardship. Even in the middle of termite vacuuming, I told myself, “This is not that big of a deal…this doesn’t have to consume/defeat you”, and yet I felt drained and defeated at the end of the night. I had very little resilience as I laid myself down to sleep.

Today is a new day, another gift, another chance to screw up and be anxious or afraid, frantic or frustrated, OR a chance to slow down, to notice, appreciate, wonder, forgive, be free, have patience, choose joy, hold onto hope, and restart.

As humans we can overcome. We are strong on our own and have each other and a resurrected triune God who knows us, and holds everything that IS, together. To have resilience in our human spirit must mean getting up when the list of what beats us down has check-marks all over it. It can mean not letting circumstances tell us who we are or what we are worth. Or loving despite not receiving love in return and giving when we are the poorest. I don’t know what it means really but when Ms. Hockaday said that, I realized today was my opportunity to be resilient, and in doing whatever that means, to be gracious, grateful, and good.




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