Friday, November 15, 2013

Thankfulness Project: Day 15

And what's romance?  Usually, a nice little tale where you have everything as you like it, where rain never wets your jacket and gnats never bite your nose, and it's always daisy-time.
-D.H. Lawrence

I say this somewhat sheepishly: I'm thankful the gnats aren't biting my nose today.  I don't have everything just as I would like it, but at least there are no gnats.

This summer gnats descended on Frankfort.  That actually was a comfort to realize because at first I just thought they had descended on my house.  But they were at Johnie's work and at mine.  They were outside where ever we would go.  In restaurants and stores. EV-ER-Y-WHERE.

When we drove far enough to be away from the gnats, I was thankful just to have a break from them.  Seriously.  As I was packing for our D.C. trip last month, I was thinking about how glad I would be to have a few days away from them.

I've never found gnats to be much of a nuisance before.  They're tiny and despite the quote I used, I've never actually been bitten by one.  As far as bugs go, I've always thought gnats were pretty harmless.

When they came this summer I wasn't bothered at first.  I'd swat them away and go on with my day.  But they kept swarming.  They were in the kitchen, of course, but also in the living room.  Then I started seeing them in the bathroom and the bedroom. 

Little black spots would come into my vision and I would be equal parts relieved and frustrated when I realized it was just. more. GNATS.

By Working group on fruit flies of economic importance [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Did you know these things were so smart and organized,
they send out newsletters?
I felt a twinge of guilt at exerting my human dominance over such tiny little creatures, but a couple weeks in and I was fed up. 

I waged war.

I cleansed my kitchen of all open food.  The refrigerator was purged.  Refuge wasn't even allowed in the trash can.  I scrubbed down my countertops.  No free rides at the Rose-Karr house, gnats.

But they survived.

So I took to the internet and mixed up a soap and vinegar concoction to sit out for them to drink and die.

It didn't seem to phase them.

We bleached every solid surface and poured boiling water -- and more bleach -- down the drain.

Still, they survived.

We kept our drains plugged up and set out a pickle juice poison next to the vinegar one, in case these were picky gnats.

They kept swarming.

By this point I started to feel embarrassed.  Was I so filthy that gnats just followed me?  Would there be no getting rid of them?  Would we just always have gnats?

I even started to worry about our mental health.  I actually felt a hint of sick pleasure (though mostly I just felt sick) in wiping away a small group of them that had piled up in the corner of the refrigerator.  For all the torment they gave me, at least some of them froze to death.  Johnie started taking gnat-killing breaks throughout the day.  I didn't know whether to question his emotional stability or just celebrate that the gnat-to-human ratio was leveling.

We sprayed all-natural bug spray.  I set out herbs known to repel bugs.

They lingered still.

I seriously wondered if we would ever be without them.

And then gloriously!

This morning at the kitchen sink, I saw the cup of anti-gnat juice.  None of them were drinking.  None of them were in the sink.  None were around the food.  Or in the kitchen.  None of them were in the house at all.  There were no gnats.  And its been that way for a few days.

The gnat plague of 2013 is over.  And I survived.

The thankfulness that I try to capture in these daily blog posts bubbled over in my soul.  And was such a fitting parallel to my very first moments of the day:

Still in bed this morning in the dark -- before I made it to the gnat-free sink -- my thoughts turned anxious and I started to feel heavy with burden. 

What if this doesn't get better?  What if I get sicker?  What if this symptom or that symptom comes?  What if my grandfather dies?  What if work gets crazy?  What if I just can't handle everything?  What if there isn't enough time and energy to do all the things I need or want to do?  What if we miss this or that thing?  What if we have to cancel our anniversary trip?  What if everything falls apart financially?  What if everything just plain falls apart?  What if this doesn't work?  And that doesn't work? What if?  Then what?

I took some deep breaths and I prayed. 

I've learned from experience that it's best to let the what-ifs go.  They usually don't happen anyway. 

This is only a season.  And it's never as bad as I imagine it could be.  I will get through and things will get better. 

I decided then that these would be my words for the day.  This would be my antidote to anxiety.

Except for later I added: Just like the gnats.