Last weekend my husband got our boys up early to do some yard work. He’s teaching our oldest two (9 and 13) how to use the riding lawn mower. The younger two mostly cheer the older two on and ride their scooters. As long as our boys are outside, hangin’ out with nature they’re good. Our girls are more like me. They’d much rather stay in the house than fight the Georgia heat and humidity. They were more than happy to clean up their rooms while I washed a few dishes.
About 10 minutes into my kitchen clean-up, the boys came running into the house yelling and laughing, “The bees are chasing us”. While outside, my husband had decided to do a little bit of “grooming” to our sadly overgrown garden area and disturbed a yellow jacket nest. He told the boys to run back to the house, but in their boyish excitement at being chased by angry bees (Ha, Ha, Ha, not so funny ), they accidentally left the door open. Thank GOD, the kids didn’t get stung, but I wasn’t so lucky. I got a nice one on the back of my neck and when my husband walked in the door he got stung twice on the hand and once on the arm. Can I tell you I wasn’t a happy camper? My husband spent the next hour looking for and killing the remaining bees flying through the house.
Now, while I didn’t initiate the battle with the bees, and I still refuse to walk into our backyard, the experience was a great reminder to me of how easy it is to get stung by life when we’re not careful.
You know those sayings,
All that glitters isn’t gold
The grass always looks greener on the other side
When you play with fire, you get burned.
I don’t know about you, but I would suspect that whoever came up with these sayings had first hand experience of how life can bite you. When we allow curiosity (or distractions) , feelings, or pride to lead us in life rather than patience, discernment and temperance, it’s easy to stumble.
One of my adventures:
When I was a teenager, I let my heart lead me everywhere. This is not a bad thing in and of itself, but it was seldom that I really gave consequences a second glance. Life was my canvas, and I was always the “leap before you look” kind of girl.
I remember going to visit a couple of friends in California when I was about 19. I didn’t have much money, but I wanted to attend a friend’s wedding and visit a few friends up in Oakland before making my way back home to Texas before school started back. I got a ride with a college friend to California and made it to the wedding which was beautiful. Unfortunately, by the time I’d concluded my visit in Oakland, I only had enough money for a one-way bus ticket to Texas (Did I mention that my parents didn’t think the road trip was such a good idea?).
The trip was supposed to take 24 hours. I got my ticket, bought a can of Pringles Sour Cream and Onion potato chips (didn’t realize I’d left my toothbrush) and fearlessly hopped on the bus ready for my 24 hour adventure. What I didn’t know was that the Greyhound bus company was on strike (1990). We got a new driver who didn’t know the route well and after 36 hours of driving past disgruntled workers who would turn the bus off at almost every stop, I was starting to pray . . . a lot.
I finally made it to El Paso where I could call my parents for help. They called a cab to meet me at the bus station and convinced a nearby hotel to allow me to stay there even though I wasn’t 21. It was around 2am, the bus station was nearly empty. I had to walk down a long corridor and take the escalator down to the bottom floor of the bus station to wait for the cab. Did I mention to you that I was by myself in an almost empty bus station in El Paso?
A strange man walked up to me (at 2am) and told me I was beautiful. It was 2 am. I hadn’t brushed my teeth in 36 hours (and hadn’t looked in the mirror in that long), and a strange man was telling me I was beautiful? Ha! Ha! This man was either crazy or he was propositioning me. I looked outside and could see the lights from the Mexican border. So without thinking, I began to speak Spanish, praying that he didn’t know the language. Thank GOD it worked. He spent the next 15 minutes speaking English really slowly trying to express his “love” for me. The cab pulled up just in time to drive me to the hotel (I was back in Dallas by the next afternoon.)
I’d like to say that this was the only time that I naively “followed my gut” and placed myself in a not so pleasant set of circumstances. I’d also like to say that all of my “adventures” ended as well as the bus ride to El Paso , but I can’t. I left the door open to potentially dangerous situations more than once and had to learn the hard way that my heart, feelings, and desires were never meant to take the lead. GOD gave us a head to balance out the impulsive nature of our hearts.
It took a lot of “stings” for me to finally reach that conclusion, but I did and that’s what’s important. It’s not the mistakes that we made that define us. It’s the lessons we’ve learned that give us our character.
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
If you made it to the bottom of this post (Ha! Ha! Whew!) and you’re wondering about the “Butterfly Surprises” that I mentioned in the title, we found out recently that we’re expecting a baby (smile).
Have a beautiful week!