Between that metaphoric hard place and rock is the perfect spot to be. The secret is--the former doesn’t matter if you’re clinging to the latter. Ancient aphorisms aside, when we need assistance and know that Jesus is the Rock there’s nothing too small or silly-seeming for His intervention. Why are folks, even many Christians, surprised when we call, He answers, and stuff happens? That brings me to the hornets.
My son and friends rented the little house across the street for a while. When it was time to move, somehow he was the only one left to paint, fix, and fumigate in order to get the cleaning deposit back. Enter one mother…his.
Guys don’t always see the things landlords might fuss about. Son figured a slap of off-white latex and a quick vacuuming would do the trick. He forgot the tacks along the roof’s edge where the Christmas lights had rested all the way into March. He hoped the owner would skip that part. I knew he wouldn’t.
Son retrieved the hammer and yellow step-stool. I was pleased to see him stroll by the kitchen window on the way to unhitch the post-holiday mess left behind. The sun was shining. He was whistling a happy tune. All was right with his world. In seconds the same son rushed back by in a panicky blur.
He was yelling something that sounded like, “There’s hundreds of ‘em, Mom!”
I ran out to see if he meant rabbits, dogs, snakes, or dollars. The buzzing sound gave them away. They were way past angry and seemed to be having an emergency meeting to regroup and find some enemy to attack. The sinister gathering had taken possession of the very spot that needed the most nail removal. They seemed like tiny loose cannons as they shot up and down and back and forth and in and out, all at the same time. It had all the makings of a low budget horror film.
I sensed some definite retaliation business going down, and by the looks and sound of the irate little buggers…very soon. They intended to claim squatter’s rights and had no intention of vacating the premises without combat. They hadn’t reckoned to a face-off with a tired momma who was working at a fevered pitch to help her offspring leave his rental in shipshape condition. Besides, money was involved.
Chapped hands, swollen ankles, pounding headache, and serious time restraint made for more adversary than that arrogant army of flying insects had counted on. Sometimes a woman has simply had all the foolishness she’s going to take and a dramatic call to action is her only choice. Before the bumbling bunch had a clue they were about to be hoisted on their own petards, I stormed right up to their location and laid it on the line as loud as I could.
“Now hear this,” I roared, “Scripture says people have dominion over animals and I intend to exercise that right. I’m ascending this ladder and removing every nail I see. You will not sting me nor do any of your intimidating little bomb routines while I’m up there. You can hold your fire until my mission is accomplished. I’ve asked the Lord to settle you down. He knows we don’t have much time. Ready or not…here I come.”
Grandma held the yellow folding steps steady and mumbled, “…and she means it too!”
Son stood there with his mouth open, amazed at the possible stupidity of his mother and trying to think what to say to the paramedics.
I climbed to the top with complete faith they would be submissive, since I had instructed them in the rules. I gently began to extricate tacks without rush or panic. In a quiet but firm voice I reminded them I was in charge and they would not hurt me.
Back-up troops seemed to appear from nowhere as the swarm around my vulnerable body multiplied. Some landed on my bare arms and then took off again with no aggressive military action. I descended the ladder and thanked Grandma for her assistance and prayers, then I walked over to wide-eyed son and handed him the used nails.
“Get rid of these…oh, and close your mouth, something might fly in and sting you.”
He called a friend to report the David and Goliath episode. I took two aspirin and fixed some iced tea. Grandma went to lie down. The docile foe retreated. Sometimes warfare is exhausting.
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