We escaped from the throes of lice this week — the third time the girls have caught it at school in the last 13 months.
I take that back. We did not escape lice. There is no escaping lice once they’ve made their way onto your head and into your life. There is only enduring the process, doing the next needed thing to eradicate the horrid creatures.
The nit picking. The cleaning.
The laundry piles. The quarantine room. The freezing of hair brushes. The rotating series of bed covers. The bare, vacuumed couches. The nightly hair oiling. The morning showering and combing. So much combing.
It’s a Groundhog Day style- anxiety-producing, micro view within the macro destruction of a house torn apart.
(Your head is itching right now, isn’t it?)
At the very beginning of this week’s Operation: Rid the House of the Louse, I read words to the effect of, Notice the small things because the small things are really the big things.
And I had to laugh out loud because, lice.
We know this is not just true for the little bugs, but for all the seemingly small decisions, moments of attention, piled one on another. Life is filled to the gills with small things that are really big.
And I realized this week, uneven as my human response can be, that I’m anchored by a small thing that’s truly big: joy.
I can laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of it all — our family of five all greased up and wrapped in coordinating bandanas for bed. I can laugh, even if it’s just one chortle in the midst of a day of unnecessary (yet unfortunately, very necessary) cleaning.
I can eke out a single line of gratitude (or more) for a husband who’s up to the armpits with me in it and for kids who can be kids in the midst of frustration.
I can pay attention to the lessons found in serving when it’s hard and when my plans are set back yet again.
As much as I’ve wanted to escape from lice this past week, as much as I’ve stomped and pouted and whined and screamed out loud at these things I hate with venom, as much as I’ve wanted to escape my present reality…the tasks at hand have required my presence and full attention.
Once again, I am right here and presented with a choice, once again, how I will give attention to the small things.
If I choose, I can let even a horde of stinking lice instruct me further in the ways of joy.
And I can endure, rejoicing when they’ve all met their destruction.
Larkin Family: 3. Lice Family: 0. Yep. Undefeated.
Praise be to God.
Also…I’m working to continue updating my website here, so thank you for pardoning the in-process.