The last few days have been hard days. I finally cried. But just for about a minute. I hit a small breaking point, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but it’s not a comfortable thing- to break. Sometimes, just when you least expect it, life overwhelms.
It all started when I decided to unpack boxes. We’re mostly done with the painting downstairs- still working upstairs- and so I couldn’t just keep ignoring the boxes littering what would have been a relatively set up living space. So I dove in, despite my fear of what could be lurking within.
I have to tell you, Readers, that whenever I’ve been dreading something around here, God shows up when I finally decide to tackle whatever said dreaded thing is… and it’s never as bad as I think it’s going to be. Like scrubbing the mold and mildew off the bottom of the toilet tank. I was dreading it so much. I was sure I would throw up and die. Well, as God would have it, all it really needed was some bleach sprayed on it and it basically washed right up. The cabinets were another dreaded task. They smelled. I had to pull up all the lining and clean them out and I was afraid of what I might find.
I found nothing. Crumbs.
God has been protecting my spirit, I’m sure of it. Because this is all just so very outside my comfort zone. And every once in a while, I can feel myself coming right to the edge of running away…
So once I decided to dive into the unpacking of my kitchen and wardrobe boxes- the very ones that had spent upwards of 6 weeks exposed to all the spiders you could think of on the back and front porches- I was basically on the verge of a melt down. I had rubber gloves on up to my elbows and shoes that were sure to squish anything that tried to fight back.
Before long I realized that this task of unpacking, was much like the other tasks- far worse in my head than in real life. Sure, I came across some dead spiders in the boxes, and yes, even a few of them were brown recluses (dead ones!), but I was cruising. As a matter of fact, without realizing it, I had at some point even taken off my rubber gloves.
That is, of course, precisely when I was reminded that I might never be able to let my guard down here, ever.
As I was reaching into a drawer in the kitchen- not even one of the older ones, but the ‘like new’ cabinetry- a very much alive brown recluse scurried out from underneath the very tupperware lids I was messing with.
And I was without my rubbers!
I calmly killed it. I didn’t scream. I didn’t freak out. I just grabbed a meat tenderizing mallet and eliminated the threat.
But after it was dead, I found it hard to keep unpacking. This was, actually, exactly what I was afraid of. And I was rattled, Readers. I was freaked out. Like all the bad thoughts kind of freaked out. My exact fear was real. The thing I didn’t want to happen, had happened.
And of course, once you know they’re there- the spiders and the bad thoughts- they’re everywhere. My skin was crawling and my head was racing. I did what anyone in their right mind would do and I grabbed the diatomaceous earth and started waging war on all cracks, crevices, drawers, cabinets, dark spaces, and behind any and all things. I was convinced he had friends. Spiders hunt in packs, right?
In reality, I’m sure the spider came in on the lids that came out of the box. I don’t think he wanted to be there anymore than I wanted him there- ps, yes, all spiders are male- but suddenly I was making Thomas swear that come Monday, he’d be calling and exterminator. I had had enough. Between the ticks on the dogs- which seem to be constant- and the TWO killer spider encounters, I just couldn’t even LIVE here anymore! And I don’t even technically live here.
So yes, I cried. It was literally just about one minute, but I went in my room and folded some clothes and let myself just have a minute. I missed my big, clean, house in Nevada with no spiders, and I longed for the dream house that I will someday build here, which will somehow have exactly zero spider entrances. I wanted the past or the future, but not the present. Definitely not the present…
I cried, and I questioned. I had another (excuse my french) ‘what in the actual fuck am I doing here? Who do I think I am? This is NOT me,” moment.
I did. I have to confess.
But then I recovered. I recovered before anyone had even noticed I had broken. But it happened
And then God granted me peace and reminded me that HE’S got me. He reminded me of who I REALLY am. I’m not a country girl, or a city girl. I’m a girl of God. The rest is all details, right? And He also reminded me that I had just started my period and was abnormally irrational. (Sorry for the overshare, but it’s relevant and important to note).
I find that there really are just so many moments in our lives where we really have to put on our big girl panties and carry on. Don’t you agree? This was absolutely one of those moments. I had to take a deep breath, realize that people live in the south every single day and do not die from spiders…
So the day went on, the unpacking went on, and after a while, I was back to unpacking without gloves again.
Sometimes you’ve just got to live life on the edge, you know?
Then evening hit…
We had JUST put the kids to bed, and I was finishing cleaning up the kitchen when I heard the wind starting to pick up just a bit. I told Thomas to go out and grab the clothes off the line. Yes, we’ve learned how to take note of the changes in the weather that indicate the rain could be coming. We’ve also left our clothes out overnight more than once though. It’s still breezy and warm in the evening so I figure it’s still drying!
Either way, Thomas didn’t go out to snag the clothes off the line until the wind was really starting to pick up. As a matter of fact, all of the sudden I saw him kind of hop up and hurry outside quickly, headed in the direction of the clothes line. I could tell that it was getting windy, but I wasn’t sure exactly what his hurry was all of the sudden. But hey, I’m not one to ask questions when Thomas decides to take action on something I’ve asked of him.
“Wendy, come HELP!” I heard him shout from outside about one minute later. I have to admit, he sounded a little more concerned than I ever like to hear him. And upon my first step out the front door, I understood exactly why.
The wind had picked up… significantly. It went from a calm breeze to about 40-50 mph winds in a matter of minutes. And that isn’t the craziest wind ever, I’ll admit, but when you’re trying to take down laundry in the dark, it’s pretty ridiculous. Now couple that wind with 360 degree lightning, and you’ve got yourself a full on eerie situation. There was no rain, weirdly strong winds out of no where, and yes, the lightning… that was the scariest part. It seemed to have surrounded the farm. And the strikes weren’t in the distance… they were in the yard!
Thomas and I frantically pulled clothes down, chasing things that escaped our grasp, and leaving the clothes pins to fend for themselves.
“Is this a tornado?” I asked. Of COURSE I thought it was a tornado! When you visit California, you expect earthquakes. And when you visit the midwest and the south, you expect tornados. That’s actually one of the first things my mom brought to my attention when I told her we were thinking of moving- tornados.
So yes, my first thought was tornado.
Thomas assured me that it was just the ‘front’ of the storm, not a tornado. What the heck is the ‘front’ of a storm? I’ve never storm fronted! I wasn’t convinced this wasn’t a super serious situation. I had never seen anything like it. This thing went from zero to 100 in minutes, and the lightning without rain was just so unsettling. And who get’s lightning from every side?
We finished the laundry, and ran in the house. The camper doors and windows were blowing around like crazy and so I ran back out into the front yard to secure it, and check on the kids. There was this insane sense of urgency. Sure, maybe it wasn’t a tornado, but something was definitely coming. And we had to beat it to the punch… whatever the punch was.
Kids were fine, back to the house to panic some more. I have to be honest, I was actually shaking. It was a crazy rush of adrenaline. I even yelled to Thomas in the laundry craziness, “This is a bad day!”
It just was! First a deadly spider and now a deadly storm? Okay, maybe nothing is deadly, but I found myself asking AGAIN, “Who do I think I am out here?”
Back in the house, Thomas was pulling in strollers and ice chests from the back yard onto the back porch. The rain had started and it was coming in hot. Actually, it was coming in cold. The temperature was dropping quickly. And the lightning… there was a light in the sky every few seconds. But not nearly as much thunder as lighting, which was also weird. But it definitely felt like we were right smack dab in the middle of something.
I ran around to the front yard and started securing ALL the things on the front porch- boxes, rocking chairs, uninstalled screen doors- and three lightning strikes came down right out in front of me, in our pasture across the street. The sound was pretty deafening and it absolutely sent me running back in the house.
This has GOT to be a tornado! I felt like I was just a few bicycling witches away from shouting, “Aunt Em!”
But it wasn’t a tornado. Nobody panic.
It was a pretty strong storm though. And at first it shook me up and only added to my crazy, scary day… but then it became this really wonderfully, enchanting experience. Okay, after we discovered that every open window in the house- and there were oh so many- came with a small indoor pond, I really started to calm down and enjoy the wonder. I actually sat on the front porch in my rocking chair and watched the lightning all around me for maybe half an hour or more. It was just the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. After I believed that we weren’t going to spend the night in the scary storm cellar, it was actually pretty dang beautiful.
See, there is always a light- or lightning- at the end of every dark tunnel. Sometimes you’re looking for it, and sometimes it just suddenly appears out of the very darkness you’re afraid of. Just light. Right there where you need it. At the end.
That night the lightning lit up the darkness. And the next morning, I awoke with a new sense of security. I’m not sure what it was exactly, maybe it was just allowing myself a moment to break and rely on God a little more, but one way or another, for the first time since I’ve arrived, I finally feel like this is my house more than it’s the bug’s house. I feel like we’re winning. Little by little, we’re making our way in.
Maybe one day we’ll even sleep here too. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate light in the darkness?