“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”- Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life
A few weeks ago, as I was working at home, I saw a teeny bug wiggle across my desk. I’m not a majorly freaky bug person, so I just squished it and continued working. A couple of minutes later, I felt a little tickle right by my ear in my hair. I reached up, and there was another bug. Ok…one bug running across my desk is one thing, but finding another one in my hair is a whole other thing. I jump up and run to the bathroom and start looking for more bugs. What was it?? The feeling deep down inside me knew what it could be, but no….it can’t be. That would be the worst of the worst.
My husband, Michael, who was listening to me panic, walked into the bathroom to find me in some “circa de soleil” pose trying to somehow see the back of my head the mirror. “What are you doing?” he asked. “I found a bug hair. Do I have anymore?? Look!” He kind of tugs at a couple of strands of my hair, and makes a face like I’m insane. “I don’t see anything,” he says as he walks away.
I saw something! I know it was there. Dare I say it? Dare I say that dirty little word that no mother ever wants to hear? LICE! There, it’s been spoken. I think I had lice as a small kid, but that was decades ago. However, as I looked through my head of hair, I decided that it would be lice nirvana. I have such thick curly hair, that hundreds of the parasites could just pull in their campers, set up their tents and roast smores forever. There could be generations of families living up there! It’s prime real estate in the bug world.
I immediately drove to the drugstore and bought the most chemically potent lice killer I could find. I don’t care that people say it’s bad for you. This is an emergency! I applied it on my head. I could actually feel it working. You know, that tingly feeling when you know that some kind of chemical reaction is taking place on your head. That’s exactly what I wanted to feel. By this point, I’ve scared Michael so much; he’s taking all the sheets off all the beds and vacuuming the corners in every room. Where did it come from? Who shared their parasitical friends??
Paisley was the first home. She walked upstairs, seeing all of the beds torn apart and her dad frantically cleaning. She turned the corner in the bathroom and her jaw dropped. I’m hanging over the tub washing out all of the critters. “I have lice”, I yelled at her underneath the water. All the blood drained from her face. She started checking….she has it, too!! Yes, one by one, we all discovered that it was true. We were all down for the count.
We took 12 loads of laundry to the Laundromat, cleaned every inch of the house, and picked through our heads like monkeys for a week. My hair was so fried by using those combs and chemicals that I looked like I had been electrocuted. It makes me itchy just thinking about it. However, we won the battle. We are bug free. And, yes, we found out which one of our kids brought it into our house. However, to protect the “carrier”, all names will remain unspoken. But, we all know who it was.
It’s really amazing how much of an impact one family member can make on the entire family. Just one person can really cause a lot of issues. I mean, we were just dealing with bugs, but it all started when someone brought it into the house, and here we were, all of us dealing with it. Other families are fighting with the impact one person has by bringing addictions or mental illness into a family. But, it doesn’t have to be as extreme as that. It could be a child’s difficult personality or a prideful parent that you’re having to deal with. It could be in their control or out of their control. It doesn’t matter. Families are teams. What affects one of us, affects us all…whether we like it or not. It can cause a sort of infestation. It can splinter families, or make them stronger. It all depends on how we choose to cope with one another.
Loving our family is sometimes not the easiest thing to do…especially if they can be difficult to love. We’ve all got people in our lives that don’t make it easy. Sometimes it’s just for a season, but sometimes it’s a lifetime. Either way, we are called to love them. Oh! That can be so hard! We can come up with so many excuses why we shouldn’t. Especially when they are family. We can’t choose our families, so it kind of doesn’t apply here, right? Nope… Jesus could’ve said just love those that don’t irritate you, but he didn’t. He said love everyone despite what they do.
No one is perfect. People struggle. We all do. We all need grace, and we all need love. So instead of focusing on the one person that can make life a little difficult, try being the one that shows Jesus. Be the example for others to follow. Speak truth in love and thoughtfulness. Try being the peacemaker and have grace. It could change the direction of the entire family.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8