It's the element of surprise, you know? There you are - making breakfast and minding your own business when suddenly one scurries past you on the counter in your peripheral vision! Too fast to be sure, but not so fast that you have any real doubt! Or you're putting sunblock on your face and reaching in the bag causes you to screech and yell out your husband's name along with the words, "Kill it, kill it" because it is hiding in the corners of the toiletry bag, it's antennae feeling around and almost touching your hand! Or you are sleeping at night and you feel something crawling on you so you instinctively do a grab and throw, only to fully wake up and realize with horror that your night of sleeping is done. Yes. That's my relationship with those little, disgusting creatures.
"You'll get used to it again, Babe," says my patient and brave husband. "You did last time." I suppose I will. I remember very clearly in Malawi when I tried to sleep the first night and I tucked my mosquito net in as tight as possible and avoided having any of it touch me. I watched as lizards ans spiders crawled everywhere and got very little sleep those first few nights - even after a LONG plane ride to get there. By the end of our time there I was in a store picking up some food to make dinner and a huge rat ran across my feet and into a pile of rice or flour or something at the end of the aisle. Not my favorite animal, but what was I to do? I simply laughed and kept shopping. The horror I would have felt a year earlier was replaced with the practicality of living in a 3rd world country with my family. It was adjust or have a nervous breakdown! And God was good in giving me the strength to do it.
These are silly things when compared to the harsh reality that many people live in. Bugs and rats, really? But the truth is, I can react this irrationally in many situations that are different from my normal life now. Sometimes Satan sneaks in the doubt through those little things. I see bugs and freak out - "Can I do this?" Last summer while staying in a cabin at Delta Lake I was trying to take a nap because I was sick. It was one of those few NY days where it was almost 100 degrees outside, so the cabin was hot and stuffy and there was no sleep to be had. One week of heat like that to sleep in and I was grumpy and tired. I fretted and worried the whole time, "Can I REALLY do this, Lord?"
Nope. Not on my own. I already know that. There's no romantic notions in my head about that part of moving to Africa. I will still HATE bugs (in my oatmeal, in my bed, in the latrine - there's no good place for any bug); I will love not having snow, but the heat will be oppressive at times and sweat will be my new scent of the day; I will lose sleep in those nights when the drums beat all night long and the wailing from a funeral happens; I will have times when people I have grown to love get sick or even die from things that should be preventable; and I'll get frustrated, angry, and overwhelmed by the brokenness of this world more often than I can imagine. And God will never leave me nor forsake me. He will be my Rock and me Redeemer, just as he is now.
Just as he was last night, as I actually fell into a deep sleep soon after seeing a roach, and dreamed of flying on a plane and hanging out with friends instead of having a restless sleep for fear of bugs! I'm a sad case, I know. ;) But God still loves me!