Driven to Distraction by Gnarly Gnats

Brought Back to Normal by a Four Letter Word

Perspective Quote
Most people list flies, mosquitoes, ants, bees, and spiders as their least favorite “pests.”  Spiders even pull double duty and find themselves high on lists of phobias.  I don’t understand that one, personally.  I kind of like the creepy little buggers.  I could watch one working on her web for hours. Such skill and showmanship.

I don’t really have anything against ants or bees either. In fact, I admire any species which answers to the queen.  I also admire each group’s enthusiasm and work ethic.

As for flies and mosquitoes – I’ll admit, they’re pretty bothersome.  Worst picnic guests EVER.

However, you know where you stand with flies and mosquitoes. They aren’t as deceptive, underhanded, and vile as the pest that I call the worst of the bunch: GNATS. Seriously, is anything as annoying or as hard to get rid of?

Our house is outside of the city limits. We’re, literally, surrounded by trees – many of which are apple or pear trees.  Normally, I’m crazy wild about this arrangement.  However, toward the end of summer, gnats can be a bit of a problem.  In the past, they’d make their presence known and I’d wipe out their population in no time flat. However, the army of gnats that attacked us this year have proven to be a very formidable opponent.

I wipe out one battalion and three more take their place.  You don’t see spiders or bees doing anything like that.

It’s almost funny, isn’t it?  Sometimes we can stand up valiantly to the big things in life…. only to wind up in the corner shaking and crying over something extremely small.  Okay, maybe I didn’t cower and cry in a corner, but the gnats didn’t exactly bring out my best side.  I did, however…

  • ….ask God what He had in mind when he created gnats
  • ….threaten to chop down each fruit tree with an ax
  • ….wonder just how cold it is in Alaska
  • …. hurl a word that’s normally reserved for stubbed toes

Toward the end of summer, I came across something that worked like a charm for me.  I’m not talking about a magical potion to trap or kill gnats (although I could now write a book on the subject).  I’m talking about a little sanity preserver when things are  driving us all kinds of crazy.  When we’re stomping around, making a face so ugly it’d frighten small children, and reaching deep into our bag of four letter words for one that rises to the occasion.

Thanks to a colony of gnats that kept gathering around our outside cat’s water dish, one day I came across the best four letter word of all.

There I was, swatting like a woman possessed as our outside cats (Hannah and Fatima) took turns watching me exchanging bewildered looks with one another. You know… the kind of crazed expressions all kids make behind their parent’s back.  I also noticed that our inside cat (Alexa, the diva) was watching me from the kitchen window.  If she had a “thought bubble,” it would have read “Poor thing’s finally snapped.”

She wouldn’t have been entirely wrong.  Angrily swatting through the air with my fly swatter I must have looked like a band leader on crack.

In the middle of great annoyance and anxiety, a reasonable inner voice finally spoke up:  “It’s just gnats.”  Yes. JUST gnats.  Somehow, the simple little word J-U-S-T calmed my psyche and made the world a more reasonable place again.  Instead of just seeing tiny flying demons taunting me as they dodged my wrath with gracefulness I almost admired, I, once again, saw the beautiful world around me.  I didn’t hear my grumbling and mumbling any longer. I heard birds singing and the wind blowing through the leaves.

One word! And a four letter one, at that.  They have such a bad rep.

Later that same day, I had a plugin catastrophe on one of my blogs. It was a plugin I used frequently on that particular blog.  I didn’t even have time to flinch.  The same inner voice who’d had so much success earlier in the day whispered, “It’s just a plugin.”

Does everything in life respond to the word just? No, of course not.  SHOULD we whip it out willy nilly in an attempt to be as care free as a hippie on narcotics?  Oh, heck no. Think about the words, themselves: CARE FREE.  That means being free of care – and when is that ever an entirely good thing? We should care about the things and people around us.  However, we should always strive to stay in control.  If we can change something that needs to be changed, we should do everything in our power to do so.  The thing is, we have to keep the right perspective.

The next time you find yourself coming unraveled over something, ask yourself if it’s really worth the effort.  I think that’s why a lot of people stay on the brink of a nervous breakdown – they lack perspective. If they’d realize that they react to standing in line with the same level of rage they muster for a broken ankle, they’d  realize they need a little perspective.  That, and a new favorite four letter word.

Just a thought.

Make that JUST, a thought.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are disrespectful, offensive, or off-topic.

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