Larry offered me his bug spray. Not necessary. Bugs don’t bug me.
Early on Tuesday our crew of eight began prep work to paint the Catholic Orphanage in Mazatlan, Mexico. It was then that Larry recommended his bug spray and I declined.
Peter, our organizer, requested that only a few of us test for potential problems before the larger group of 30 showed up on Thursday. He had asked me to be his assistant because (1) I have paint-spattered work clothes, and (2) I’m “always happy.” (This would NOT be confirmed by my hubby.)
The turquoise stucco buildings would become a neutral taupe with white framing and terra-cotta pillars. Two coats of everything, but only after power-spraying, scraping and sealing, a monstrous undertaking for the archaic structures. Other volunteers would paint the inside while another crew replaced a few dozen broken windows and screens.
Let the problems begin.
Hoses had to be dragged through shattered windows in order to reach a working water spigot. The only electric outlet that supported a 3-prong plug-in shorted out and turned off the freezer when we tried to use it. It was an hour before we even connected the power sprayer.
I left at noon and no sooner was I in the driver’s seat than my legs began to itch. And swell. Whatever bug herd had attacked me, they did it covertly. Nodules the size of Agate marbles formed under my skin, and no matter what cream/medicine/ fingernail polish/cucumber slices I applied over the next several hours, my limbs remained painful and itchy. All night I was awake, begging for a pitchfork to claw at my sores. Even when they started bleeding, I didn’t stop.
Talk about problems! By the time I made it to Walmart the next morning and showed the pharmacist my bumpy legs, I was in a snit. He didn’t understand my translation for bug bites, so I looked up the word for “pus” which, sorry to gross you out, was oozing from my wounds. I said aloud what I was reading on my phone: “el gato.” The pharmacist squinted his eyes and questioned in perfect English what I had said. “You have a cat on your legs?”
Good grief! My translation mistook “pus” (short u) for “puss” as in “pussy cat.” Once that was solved and medicine recommended, I began lathering on the cream. Yes, right there, between the cash register and my car. Aaaahhhh, sweet relief!
I know what you are thinking. All of that could have been prevented had I used Larry’s bug spray. Had I been a little proactive instead of almost bragging about being bug-proof? For days after, nasty scabs became a pestering reminder of how I ignored a necessary precaution.
Of course, that’s not the only problem area in which I have considered myself immune. Take my heart, for example, a prime target for a spiritual bug to attack. Ephesians 2:2 addresses how Satan seeks vulnerable “hosts” to infect with bitterness, envy, jealousy, and self-righteousness. I am exposed every time I refuse to be proactive. By not praying first. By not asking the Holy Spirit to cover my areas of temptation. By reading but not heeding God’s holy Word. And then when I get into trouble–say or do something hurtful, for instance–I cause even more problems, which has the potential to leave a scar on my heart. Fortunately, like the bug spray, there is an answer. It is found in Ephesians 6:10-12.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
From that time at the orphanage, bug spray became my “armor.” And like prayer, the most preventative problem-solver available, I never leave home without it.